March 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm by David Lee under Atlanta Braves
Although some may call it a debate, Chipper Jones is a Hall of Famer. There is no debating this.
The most popular stat thrown out into the Internet world this morning following Chipper’s retirement announcement is he is the only switch hitter in history to produce a .300 average and 300+ home runs. Barring a complete meltdown over his entire final season, Chipper will finish with a career batting average over .300. He currently sits at .304. He has 454 home runs, third all-time among switch hitters behind Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504), and 33rd overall.
Chipper’s career fWAR of 87.5 is 34th all-time. Among switch hitters, that mark is good for third all-time behind Mantle (123.1) and Pete Rose (91.5). Among third basemen all-time? Seventh.
Chipper’s .399 career wOBA ranks eighth all-time among third basemen, while his 143 wRC+ ties for seventh with another former Brave great, Eddie Mathews, and Bill Joyce. Among those seven with a higher wOBA, only Alex Rodriguez has more plate appearances and a higher fWAR.
Chipper has always been known to have one of the best eyes in the game. His 14.3 BB% ties for 12th all-time among third basemen, while holding the best mark among active third basemen and eighth among active players overall. If you look at O-Swing%, which measures the percentage a player swings at pitches out of the strike zone, Chipper is next-to-last among active players at 15.4%, behind only Bobby Abreu’s 15%. This while producing a Z-Swing% of 71.6%, which is light years ahead of those surrounding him on the O-Swing% list. This means while Chipper recognizes pitches out of the zone better than almost everyone in baseball, he also picks up the correct pitches to hit and isn’t afraid to swing. This leads to 454 home runs and 526 doubles.
Basically, if you look up nearly every category for third basemen in the history of baseball, you will find Chipper Jones in the top 10, or even top 5. If you want to count awards, because people count such things in Hall of Fame discussions, he was an MVP, he finished within the top 10 in MVP voting six times, he was a seven-time All-Star, and he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting to a 26-year-old Hideo Nomo.
While Chipper has been a member of the Braves, the team’s overall record has been 1,568-1,166. I realize he’s only one player and it took more than just him to produce that record, but he was the best player on the team during that stretch. People talk about the big three of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz running the Braves during their stretch of success, but as far as I’m concerned, it was Chipper’s team, and it always has been.
Highest BAA (min. 50 PA): Shane Reynolds – .405
Most HR against: Reynolds/Steve Trachsel – 7
Most hits against: Livan Hernandez – 27
vs. Phillies: 1.042 OPS, 46 HR
vs. Mets: .973 OPS, 48 HR
vs. Nationals: .912 OPS, 40 HR
vs. Marlins: .901 OPS, 40 HR
BA vs. RHP: .304
BA vs. LHP: .304