The Unsung Hero

I’ve just been toying with David Pinto’s Day by Day Database. In all of the hype surrounding Andruw Jones, Jeff Francoeur, and Bobby Cox for end of the year awards, someone very important has been overlooked: Chipper Jones. Chipper has had a fantastic season, in which only injuries have held him back. Now, I’m not saying Chipper should be MVP, just that he’s played better than both Andruw and Francoeur this year.

Andruw: .264/.347/.579/.927
Jeff F.: .306/.343/.565/.908
Chipper: .292/.406/.547/.952

Then let’s break it out for the past two months.
Andruw: .244/.327/.558/.885
Jeff F.: .282/.329/.485/.814
Chipper: .306/.418/.611/1.029

It’s not even close. Chipper has carried this team down the stretch.

But here’s another curiosity. Look at how fast Francoeur drops off from August 1 – August 11 (the day The Jeff Francoeur Game started).

Jeff F. (since August 11): .247/.303/.438 /.741

He’s been a very different player since his first 86 ABs when he hit .419/.425/.802/1.228

6 Responses “The Unsung Hero”

  1. Kirk says:

    There is no question that Chipper’s season has been under-appreciated. I personally felt he was going to go back on the DL at some point due to his foot, and thought he would not be able to throw because of his shoulder, but he has looked very good both at the plate and in the field. He’s a much better 3rd baseman than he is an outfielder, and to my eye I think his primary defensive weakness is that he doesn’t move that well laterally (although he does just fine when he charges the ball). This offseason is going to be very interesting. Do they try to get Chipper to move to 1st? Do they try to convert Marte to 1st or outfield? Do they re-sign Furcal? Lots of intriguing possibilities.

  2. Marc Schneider says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. It boils down to one thing–Chipper is by far the best player on the Braves. Even when Andruw was hitting a lot of home runs, I think most pitchers would still have rather pitched to him in a tight spot than to Chipper. Obviously, Chipper has been a far more disciplined hitter his whole career and a much tougher out. To me, Chipper is the one hitter on the team that can hit good pitching and that the other teams fear.

    As good a year as Andruw has had in some respects, and as valuable as he undoubtedly has been, especially when chipper was out, I think his year has been largely overrated offensively and Chipper is underrated.

  3. Marc Schneider says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. It boils down to one thing–Chipper is by far the best player on the Braves. Even when Andruw was hitting a lot of home runs, I think most pitchers would still have rather pitched to him in a tight spot than to Chipper. Obviously, Chipper has been a far more disciplined hitter his whole career and a much tougher out. To me, Chipper is the one hitter on the team that can hit good pitching and that the other teams fear.

    As good a year as Andruw has had in some respects, and as valuable as he undoubtedly has been, especially when chipper was out, I think his year has been largely overrated offensively and Chipper is underrated.

  4. Yes, I agree. Over the years, I have gathered the impression that Chipper is really THE (somewhat below the surface) power in the clubhouse. IF you don’t get along with Chipper, look out, you’ll probably be gone. Secondly, he seems very low key and business-like in his approach to the game (just like his father). I think this is great, but in the post season, I think that this low key attitude is not the best one to have. It is slow to get geared up for a Short season I think. (So I would be VERY interested to know Chipper’s stats in the first series of post seasons past. Before I continue on, I would also add that Smoltz comment recently about power pitching seems to be more effective in the short series, makes sense to me. But is this provable???
    So to continue with my thoughts about the Braves success this year, I think the low-key business like approach is particularly disadvantageous with rookies, I think they are tuned to the club house leaders (Chipper and Smoltz, primarily ) and they aren’t going to find any Tommy Lasorda inspiration from either of them. I think it is very likely that the Braves offense will go STONE cold in the playoffs….no matter who they play..Since it will be Houston (I’ll bet) my hypothesis won’t get as well tested because they will be facing superior pitching.

    I agree with Kirk completely. My past impression of (with the exception of this year???)Andruw was great in late innings with no one on base and no outs and the game out of influence, then he would get a fat juicy fast ball. Otherwise pitch him away, he has almost ZERO patience. Not so with Chipper. even when he was in a slump he would take a walk. I don’t think we can say enough good things about Chipper’s influence, but I wonder about post season conditions. Any way it really takes more than one player to carry a team in the post season, Lemmer couldn’t do it.

  5. Yes, I agree. Over the years, I have gathered the impression that Chipper is really THE (somewhat below the surface) power in the clubhouse. IF you don’t get along with Chipper, look out, you’ll probably be gone. Secondly, he seems very low key and business-like in his approach to the game (just like his father). I think this is great, but in the post season, I think that this low key attitude is not the best one to have. It is slow to get geared up for a Short season I think. (So I would be VERY interested to know Chipper’s stats in the first series of post seasons past. Before I continue on, I would also add that Smoltz comment recently about power pitching seems to be more effective in the short series, makes sense to me. But is this provable???
    So to continue with my thoughts about the Braves success this year, I think the low-key business like approach is particularly disadvantageous with rookies, I think they are tuned to the club house leaders (Chipper and Smoltz, primarily ) and they aren’t going to find any Tommy Lasorda inspiration from either of them. I think it is very likely that the Braves offense will go STONE cold in the playoffs….no matter who they play..Since it will be Houston (I’ll bet) my hypothesis won’t get as well tested because they will be facing superior pitching.

    I agree with Kirk completely. My past impression of (with the exception of this year???)Andruw was great in late innings with no one on base and no outs and the game out of influence, then he would get a fat juicy fast ball. Otherwise pitch him away, he has almost ZERO patience. Not so with Chipper. even when he was in a slump he would take a walk. I don’t think we can say enough good things about Chipper’s influence, but I wonder about post season conditions. Any way it really takes more than one player to carry a team in the post season, Lemmer couldn’t do it.

  6. Johnny says:

    Thanks for pointing out something that gets lost in all the blather. Chipper has had a great season. Its too bad that he spent so much time on bench injured this year because it looked like 1999 all over again had he stayed healthy.

    I agree with the other posters here. Chipper is the best player on the team. As for the next season I think that he should get 1st choice. His percieved lack of defensive ability doesn’t cost us many if any games so if he wants to play 3b then let Marte make the switch.