There was little surprise on Wednesday when it was announced that Braves legend Chipper Jones had been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He garnered 97.2% of the vote, which ranks 10th all-time among Hall of Fame inductees. Jones is joined by Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero, and Trevor Hoffman in the class of 2018.
Chipper was drafted number one overall by the Braves in 1990 and managed to not only live up to the lofty expectations of that draft selection but exceed them as well. Chipper eventually finished his career with a slash line of .303/.401/.529 with 468 home runs (third among switch hitters, only behind Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle), a wRC+ number of 141, a batting title in his age-36 season in 2008 (including a 7.1 fWAR in that same season), an MVP season in 1999 and he was named Rookie of the Year in 1995 — the same season in which he helped the Braves win the 1995 World Series.
Grant McAuley takes a look at how Chipper Jones’ career numbers stack up all-time among switch-hitters, third basemen, and other Hall of Famers. This piece really puts into perspective how impactful Jones truly was during his illustrious career, quantifying his greatness on a day when it was validated in the greatest way possible.
The projections for the 2018 season were released by ZiPS on Wednesday, and needless to say the Braves are not projected to take the league by storm, but they are projected to have several solid young contributors. The roster is certainly not without question marks, as the starting rotation and bullpen along with third base and right field look to be positions of weakness this season.
Fred McGriff and Andruw Jones each fell well short of the 75% mark on Wednesday with regards to the Hall of Fame vote, but for Jones in particular, garnering the necessary 5% to remain on the ballot next year should come as a relief. Since the voters’ ballots began going public, there has been growing concern about how much support each of these players would receive, and now with McGriff entering his final year of eligibility the stakes will be even higher going forward.
Ivan looks into the success rate of speed-based outfielders who match the all-around performance level of Lorenzo Cain, who is still a free agent despite having one of the best track records on the market. The closest comparisons in recent years do not bode well for Cain over the long run, but in the next 2-3 years, Ivan believes Cain may be a sound investment.
I wonder if Cain would agree to something like $46 million over two years, with a team or mutual option for $22 million. This hedges the risk relatively well to the Braves: the upside is a lot of production assuming the decline is graceful, with relatively less risk exposure in terms of paying an average or collapsed player. The downside is that the budget the Braves have to play with gets dented by a sizable chunk in the 2018-2019 offseason, but again, assuming a graceful decline, Cain may still be an above-average player at that point, precluding the need to pay for a different solution in the outfield at that point in time.
It was mentioned above, but Chipper Jones is being joined in the 2018 Hall of Fame class by three generational talents who exemplified great talent and character throughout their careers. Congratulations to all the inductees on an incredible honor.