While the Orioles are sputtering through August, Adam Jones continues to be one of the few bright spots.
Not only is he making a case for his second Gold Glove with highlight worthy defensive plays, he's quickly approaching a .300 batting average at .294. Plus the power numbers keep piling up - he already has a career high 21 dingers.
Lost in all the "important" stats is one that shows Jones has not only blossomed into a star player, but a team player.
Jones is currently tied for the most amount of sacrifice flies in the American League. The Royals Jeff Francoeur and the White Sox Paul Konerko share the honor with 10 a piece.
Just to give you an idea of how dramatically Jones has improved in this area, before this season he had nine total sacrifice flies in his first five years in the big leagues.
The fact that he is now leading the American League in sacrifice flies shows that the light bulb finally went on for Jones. He's become an intelligent hitter.
In 2008 when Jones first came to Baltimore, up until last year, it was frustrating to watch Jones swing for the fences every time a runner was on third. Now, the 26-year-old knows his job is just to get that runner in, even if it means getting himself out.
That is the definition of a team player. For me, it shows Jones is a leader as well. He wants to win regardless of his personal numbers. He's showing patience at the plate and an understanding of what needs to happen - for the team.
For Jones, this is the next step in becoming the elite player many scouts predicted he'd be when the Mariners selected him as their first round draft pick in the 2003 draft. It's taken Jones longer than expected, but this year has shown he will get there if he continues to want to play smart baseball.