Analyzing the Adam Jones Drop Against Yankees

Posted Friday April 12, 2013 at 8:15:52 pm in Real Sports

Bases loaded. Two outs. Tie game. Bottom of the 7th in Yankee Stadium. Pedro Strop in to face Vernon Wells. Pedro goes 2-0 and is faced with a situation where he has to throw a fastball. What happened?

3 runs score on an error by Adam Jones. And if you are like me your instant reaction is to just blow up and say that the ball has to be caught. Because it absolutely has to. But it wasn't. And that's why I'm writing this.

Let me get something out of the way. Adam Jones is the leader of the Baltimore Orioles. He's a great person and player who has fully embraced Baltimore and in turn was granted a 6 year contract extension in 2012. Well deserved. He's also a multi Gold Glove winner. He busts his ass for the Orioles...and dammit people (including me) love him.

So you'd fully expect me to say something negative about him after writing a bunch of positive.

But I won't. And I can't in this situation.

But quite simply, Adam Jones dropped the ball. And it most definitely had to be caught. But not because of lack of hustle. Not because of lack of concentration. Not because of blowing bubbles. Not because of a bad break on the ball. No, it's actually quite deeper than that.

Before jumping into the specifics of the play (my take on his defensive play), I want to post this tweet that was just sent out on 10:27pm EST:

Very frustrating costing my team the game wit that flyball. Then makin 6 outs in 4 abs. What a day. Oh yea there is tomorrow #StayHungry

Who said it? None other than Adam Jones himself.

Absorb it for a second. Okay, good. Release the hate and prepare to absorb some logic.

If you want to watch the video, here you go: Three score on error.

As said to the intro of this post, it was a 2-0 count on Vernon Wells with the bases juiced in a tie ball game. Pedro Strop was on the mound and was forced to throw a fastball. In that situation, a hitter is going to be sitting dead red. And the outfielders know this.

Adam's positioning was actually about medium/slightly deep center field. He's typically known to play shallower, but he was playing deeper due to the situation. 2-0 count, fastball hitter, fastball count. Cold, rainy night with the wind blowing in towards home plate (which earlier in the game caused Steve Pearce's ball to die in the warning track, any other day it's a 2 run home run).

Pedro delivers a fastball to the outside top corner of the strike zone and Vernon Wells gives it a ride. The way the ball is hit, I think Adam Jones hears and reads it as harder than it was. After all, the ball does end up about 400 feet in center field (on the warning track).

What happens is that Jones gets a solid break, runs a solid route, ever so slightly cuts to the right, sticks his glove arm up, camps underneathe it (blows a bubble), closes his glove a bit too early...and the ball goes in and out of his glove. 3 runs score. Error on Adam Jones on the play.

But what's more complicated on it is what Adam read based on the situation. 2-0 count, fastball count, fastball hitter, ball hit to dead center field. He's thinking the ball was going to have a smaller arc on it...but the wind was blowing in causing the ball's arc to change as well as the direction (evidenced by Adam breaking to the right slightly). Adam read the ball as coming in to his glove faster than it really did, he closes his glove ever too early (also because he may have thought the wall was closer than it was)...and well the rest is history.

So let me reiterate.

This wasn't the bubble gum.

This wasn't lack of concentration.

This wasn't a poor route.

This wasn't a poor break.

This was Adam Jones reading and hearing the ball a certain way, and it ending up different due to the wind and Jones thinking it was coming down faster than it really did.

So, unfortunate outcome. 3 runs on an error, the Orioles get 2 on with no out against Sabathia in the 8th, Machado hits an opposite field grounder to the 2nd baseman...and 2 botched base running plays causes a triple play. Rivera in the 9th, a couple hard hit balls...but the Orioles lose a heartbreaker on a sloppy 6 (7) outs after a ton of free passes and an unfortunate error by the leader of the Orioles.

Just win tomorrow.

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view