When the Yankees signed Andruw Jones in 2011, they were hoping for a right-handed power bat to mash left-handed pitching. Given the Gold Glove pedigree, it didn’t hurt to have Jones waiting in the wings. Unfortunately, they Yankees thought that lightening would strike twice, giving them added power off the bench as a DH-type in 2012. They were wrong. After the All-Star break, Jones fell off a cliff, and his utility as a field was compromised, at best. With that, let’s take a look at what Andruw Jones did for the Yankees in 2012:
In just 94 games, Jones hit an abysmal .197/.294/.408 — pretty horrific when you realize the Yankees brought him back to provide some power off the bench. Realistically, however, Jones has only had one season in 2000 that saw his batting average go above .277 (.303); his average has deviated pretty mightily, and his big claim to fame was 1) defense and 2) power. It’s therefore somewhat disappointing that Jones only hit 14 HR and 34 RBI on the year. Further, it’s probably not effective if you’re supposed to hit lefties well and only hit .202/.291/.411 against them; it is also ineffective to hit .182/.295/.389 in your own ballpark. With all of that said, it’s pretty interesting to look at Jones’ offensive numbers in terms of the first-half of the season and second-half.
Jones probably appeared in the field a lot more than the Yankees intended in 2012. With the injury to Brett Gardner, Raul Ibanez and Jones were left to split the duties in left field prior to the trade for Ichiro Suzuki. It’s likely that the extra playing time wore down the older Jones. For instance, from April through July, his average hovered between .200-.243. However, he did manage to hit 12 homers with 27 RBI over 151 ABs. Not awesome, but not awful, either. Now, looking from August through September, Jones was nothing short of dreadful as the summer heated up and the innings in the field accumulated. Over 71 ABs, Jones hit an astonishingly low .141 with only two home runs.
Again, it is an interesting split in comparing Jones’ numbers when he was playing in the field as opposed to being the DH in a non-PH situation. In non-PH, DH situations, across 38 ABs, Jones hit .289/.378/.632. Pretty respectable. By contrast, in 181 ABs in the field, he hit .181/.273/.333. Yikes. While the sample sizes are pretty small, it isn’t entirely crazy to look at the contrast, and surmise that Jones was a significantly better player when he wasn’t playing the field. There is one caveat, however; Jones hit 9 of his 14 homers and drove in 20 RBI when playing LF. Granted, it was a much larger number of at-bats while playing left as opposed to DH/RF, but it still it worth noting.
Defensively, Jones was nowhere near the player he was during his days in Atlanta. Then again, he wasn’t that bad, despite what you might think, based on looking at the metrics. With only two errors on the season in 452.2 innings, Jones had 81 putouts in 85 chances. Further, he was only worth -1 runs looking at Rtot, and only -2 Rtot/yr. Those aren’t awful numbers. In the chances that he did have, Jones made the plays. However, where Jones suffered was his range. In his exceptional Gold Glove season in 1999, Jones had an absurd RF/9 of 3.14. By contrast it was at 1.67 in 2012. While it is fair to say that his ability to play the outfield dramatically regressed at age 35 from his youth, Jones’ Achilles’ heel was an inability to make the easiest plays.
- Suffered from overuse
- Probably would have had serviceable results had he remained solely/mostly a DH
- Huge defensive drop-off from Atlanta days
FINAL GRADE: C-
Overall, Jones’ didn’t have a great year by any stretch of the imagination. That said, he served in a much bigger role than either he, or the Yankees had anticipated and that probably added to his declining performance. It’s fair to speculate that Jones would have had a better year if he had remained solely a DH, but it was probably unrealistic for the Yankees to think that they’d be able to capture magic in a bottle two years in a row with Jones. He did a decent job, but it’s ultimately for the best that he and the Yankees go their separate ways for 2013.
**Please check out our Grading The Yankees page for more player grades **