Why Orioles OF Adam Jones Will Blossom into MVP Candidate in 2013

Drew ReynoldsContributor IIIDecember 28, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 10: Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the New York Yankees  during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 10, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The consensus is that the Baltimore Orioles need one more hitter in their lineup if they expect to compete for the playoffs in 2013. They need a power hitter; someone who is capable of driving in runs, hitting some home runs and hitting for a solid average. They basically need a MVP-caliber player.

While acquiring another hitter worthy of MVP consideration would be lovely, the Orioles already have one on their roster. His name is Adam Jones.

In 2012, the ever-improving, 27-year-old had his best season in the majors. Statistically, Jones was Top 10 in the AL in doubles, home runs, hits and runs. He was an All-Star and won a Gold Glove. Overall, Jones was the best player on a playoff-caliber team. Still, improvements can be made.

Not the most patient player at the plate, Jones only walked 34 times in 2012. That aggressiveness made Jones' 2013 streaky. After starting out incredibly hot, hitting 16 homers and hitting well over .300 in the first two months of the season, Jones faded some the rest of the year. His numbers were still solid but nowhere near those first two months.

Another weakness Jones had in 2012 was hitting in the clutch.

You may be thinking, "With those numerous clutch homers, how is Jones not clutch?"

Yes, Jones hit some very timely home runs, including four in extra-innings. However, as a whole, he struggled with men in scoring position.

Without runners on-base, Jones hit .297. With runners on, he hit .272. Move those runners into scoring position, his average drops to .258. Finally, with two outs and runners in scoring position, Jones only hit .190. This shows why Jones only had 82 RBI in 2012.

Despite these weaknesses, he came in sixth in the AL MVP voting in 2012. So in reality, Jones was an MVP candidate in 2012. He had no chance of winning with Miguel Cabrera's Triple Crown performance and Mike Trout's exceptional rookie year, but being sixth in the MVP voting is still nice.

Since his rookie season, Jones has improved steadily in every aspect of the game and is currently the Orioles best player. Only 27, Jones hasn't quite reached his prime yet. So in 2013, expect him to improve once again and perhaps he'll be right in the running for AL MVP.