Thanks for the replies, I love having these discussions.
I won't make a huge argument over Gabbard, because I specifically mentioned his value for your teams as that of a spot starter, but in order to make my argument more accessible, I'm going to put up some numbers to back my argument in the piece. I think you'll understand what I was talking about with adjustments. Yes, his 06 Pawtucket numbers weren't awesome, but his 07 Pawtucket numbers showed he adjusted, just like he'd done in every other advancement.
With regards to Adam Jones, what evidence are you using to support a .275+ BA? His track record says he won't hit greater than .250 in the bigs right now. The fact of the matter is that high BA's are directly correlated to a batters batting eye(k/b) and contact rate. Where he exists right now (EYE of .34, horrible, and ct% of 74.7, also terrible), in Triple-A with all his hits and home runs, is not good. He's feasting on substandard competition, however, the numbers that belie a very low major league batting average are clear as day right there on the paper. If he has terrible plate presence and patience in AAA, what makes you think it's going to get better with a move up in level?
His career K rate average is around 21%. Make no mistake, he's no Ryan Braun. When you are attempting to value these young players, instead of looking at what they bat in terms of average and home runs, look at how often they walk vs. strike out. Look at the percentage of their hits that are ground ball vs line-drive vs flyball. Look at the percentage of flyballs that they hit that turn into home runs. Look at the players contact rate. You calculate contact rate by doing the following: ((AB-K)/AB) Use 75% as your basement and 90% as your elite. Guys in the mid-80s are wonderful bets.
Adam Jones' contact rate at Tacoma this season? 74.7%
This does not portend well to the majors.
Jones' contact rate in the majors last year? 70.2%
He's a low-contact hitter. Pitchers at the major league level know what to do with these guys, and that is not throwing them anything they can drive. There's already some scouting on him from last year's call up, and with all the hype associated with him, I'm sure advanced scouting has already been done on him by contending teams. I'd advise against thinking you're going to get a whole lot of production out of him, even a .275 batting average.
To put Jones in comparison to Pence and Braun in regards of contact rate:
Pence (MLB) 2007 ct%: 81.1%
Pence (AAA) 2007 ct%: 83.5%
Pence (AA) 2006 ct%: 79.2%
Pence (A+) 2005 ct%: 75.5%
Pence (A) 2005 ct%: 82.5%
Braun (MLB) 2007 ct%: 77.3%
Braun (AAA) 2007 ct%: 90.6%
Braun (AA) 2006 ct%: 80.1%
Braun (A+) 2005 ct%: 77.6%
Braun (A) 2005 ct%: 85.4%
Jones (AAA) 2007 ct%: 74.7%
Jones (MLB) 2006 ct%: 70.2%
Jones (AAA) 2006 ct%: 79.5%
Jones (AA) 2005 ct%: 78.5%
Jones (A+) 2005 ct%: 76.4%
Jones (A) 2004 ct%: 75.7%
Jones has never cracked the 80% contact rate in his career, and you'll note, as he's progressed, his ct% got better, and then after his callup, it dropped significantly. While he's putting up better numbers at Tacoma this season, it's come at the expense of hit batting eye and thus contact rate. Notice before their jumps to the bigs, that both Pence and Braun were smashing the ball in AAA, to the tune of 83.5% and 90.6% contact rates. That 74.7% rate this season for Jones does not bode well once he faces much better pitching after a call up. Pence and Braun were able to adjust precisely because they could make contact with the ball, regardless of their low walk totals. Adam Jones cannot do that. His K rate is super high, meaning he's pretty much swinging for the fences every at bat. I don't know how you can't see this as a mixture for failure in the bigs, and it's likely a big reason he hasn't been called up yet.
I'm not saying his potential isn't great, it's just that, he probably will offer little to nothing in the second half of this season.