Let’s Keep Chipper Expectations Reasonable


Hello again everyone! I have returned home to Michigan, just in time to encounter slushy rain and temperatures in the thirties. At least it’s too cloudy to see much of the rain!

The one upside of spending most of the day in airports yesterday was getting to read what others are thinking about the Braves. The thing that I find most interesting is how quickly the tidal wave of opinion seems to have swung back in favor of Chipper and what he brings to the team. There are semi-legitimate sites that are now predicting that Chipper will hit 30+ homers and drive in over 100. And those are the sane ones!

You longer-term readers here will know that I have been a proud member of the “He’ll Be Back” bandwagon since the day of his surgery. I’m not ashamed to admit to being a fan. Having said all that, I think it might be in everyone’s best interests to take a step back, take a deep breath, and calmly think about our expectations for Chipper in 2011. I’ve seen popular opinion swing wildly and rapidly before and I’d hate for it to happen again to this future Hall-Of-Famer. Not that they likely pay a lot of attention to what’s written, but being human, they have to notice things both positive and negative. So, for those of us who aren’t reading or writing from our Mom’s basement, let’s keep a few things in mind as the season gets going:

Chipper is not a spring chicken. Heck, he’s not even a summer chicken. At best, he’s a fall chicken! As things or people get older, things tend to break. They take longer to heal. Sometimes it takes a while to get parts (just seeing if you’re paying attention 🙂 ). While I would love to see him play enough to hit over 30 homers, I just don’t see it happening. 20, maybe even 25, is possible, but more than that is dreaming, in my opinion.

  • Do yourself a favor and go to baseballreference.com and query their database for seasons for 39 year old or older third basemen. Review what you find, then come back here and tell the rest of us about it. Tell us how kindly history has looked upon older third baseman. Then explain why Chipper is an exception to the rule. Third base is a hard position to play. It is also a position that most teams look to for offense. Chipper is a special talent, but even that level of talent only goes so far. I’m not predicting disaster, just preaching moderation in your expectations.
  • Finally, take a look at Chipper’s recent history. Look at games started in the field. Look at his power output (even in 2008). Look at the kinds of injuries he has battled in his career. All of these things don’t bode well for Chipper playing 140 games. In my opinion, starting 110 would be a success. The rest is gravy. Let’s not spoil the whole meal just because the gravy wasn’t quite what you wanted!

    OK, I’m done. I think Chipper will hit .300 with an OBP north of .400. I think he’ll hit 25 HR’s. And I think I’m predisposed to being optimistic when it comes to Chipper. Now, tell us what you think!