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).
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.