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Chipper Jones is no longer talking about retirement

May 11, 2010, 5:45 PM EDT

Last year Chipper Jones threatened to retire before his contract ran out if he didn’t bounce back from his bad 2009.  So far this season he’s hitting 230/.402/.368 with two homers.  He says that’s good enough for him, however, and that he’s no longer considering hanging it up before 2012.

What’s convincing him: his walk rate. He’s tied for the league lead in walks and has a good on base percentage, and he says that “when I’m drawing walks you know I’m seeing the ball good.”  He made a reference to his RBI totals being a function of not having a lot of people on base in front of him. He’s right about that, of course.

Still, the lack of power is a concern for me. As is, you may be surprised to hear, the batting average.  Yes, OBP is more important, but if he doesn’t start showing that he can actually do something with balls in the strike zone, pitchers will throw away old scouting reports about not giving him anything good to hit and will start challenging him more.  Based on what I’ve seen so far this season, I’m not completely optimistic that he can make them pay if they do.

Still, it’s nice to see the confidence, and the fact that Jason Heyward is back in the lineup tonight and is hitting second (second?! Yes, second) is reason enough for temporary optimism about Chipper Jones’ production.

  1. Steve Watson - May 11, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    Someone – Bill James? – wrote that with aging sluggers, the OBP is usually to last to go. Guys stop hitting, and they stop hitting for power, but their eyes are still good. But it takes pitchers a couple of years to stop walking them. Look at, say, Eddie Matthews’ career, for a perfect example.

  2. mgflolox - May 11, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Jeez Craig, ANOTHER post about the Braves? Why don’t you just call it HardBraves Talk? (note sarcastic tone in my typing).

  3. Kathy - May 12, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    If Chipper is the team player he says he is he would no longer allow Bobby Cox to bat him third in the order, considering his .230 average. Maybe drop him down to Heyward’s old #6 spot, where there isn’t as much pressure on him to produce if runners get on base.
    And mgflolox, I am enjoying posts about teams other than the Yankees and Red Sox :)

  4. mgflolox - May 12, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Actually, I am too. I was just riffing on all the ribbing Craig gets about posting comments on the Braves. I think it’s just fine that he’s a Braves fan. We all have our favorite teams, why shouldn’t he?

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