Not too many bad things you can say about this guy - even a Mets fan has to admit to that. We're starting to see what he can do while fully healthy with a decade-plus of professional experience under his belt. The last three years trend very well for Mr. Jones:
2005 - 109 G, .296/.412/.556
2006 - 110 G, .324/.409/.596
2007 - 134 G, .337/.425/.604
His four-year OPS line reads:
2004 - .847
2005 - .968
2006 - 1.005
2007 - 1.029
His performance the last few years has been way above his career average OPS of .949. Is this Chipper playing over his head, or is he establishing a new standard for himself in his mid-30's? He posted arguably the third-best all-around season of his career last year while almost winning a batting title. The scary (or exciting) thing to think about is that with Mark Teixeira hitting behind him for a full season what kind of hitter can Chipper be?
I think Chipper is entering a post-outfield mid-30's renaissance in his career. He tasted what a batting title could be like last year and he'll be out to win it this year. Here is my prediction for Chipper in 2008:
.342/.437/.608 with 34 HR, 118 RBI, 89 BB, 82 SO in 152 games played
He's gotta be healthy this year - he's long overdue. While it's hard to avoid all types of injury -- and we hope Chipper won't find some new way to injure himself -- he's likely figured out by now how to condition himself properly so the "pulls" and "strains" that plagued him the last few years are less frequent. We know that a healthy Chipper is a key ingredient to an appearance for the Braves in the postseason. He knows the lineup and the rotation we're going to have next year are going to be the best the Braves have had in a long time, and he's going to do everything he can to stay in there. Expect big things from Chipper Jones in 2008.