Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the first inning Thursday against the White Sox, giving him 30 homers and 100 RBI on the season.
Three innings later, he reached another little milestone: he walked for the 20th time in 567 at-bats.
Barring a stunning turn of events, Jones is about to become the 57th player (37th different) in major league history to hit 30 homers and finish with more homers than walks. Adrian Beltre was the last to do it, finishing with 32 homers and 25 walks for the Rangers in 2011. Alfonso Soriano has done it three times, most recently in 2007. The only other active player to have done it was Ryan Braun in his rookie year (34 HR, 29 BB). Juan Gonzalez did it four times.
The lack of walks certainly hasn’t stopped Jones from being a very valuable player these last couple of years. He’s currently batting .295, so his OBP (.326 at the moment) isn’t too bad. This is his second straight 30-homer season after he hit 32 last year, and he’s well on his way to scoring 100 runs again (92 right now).
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.