Fredi Gonzalez Should Hit Chipper Jones Second for Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves crushed the Colorado Rockies‘ pitching throughout their series that ended with today’s win. They scored 22 runs, 33 hits and getting 12 walks. Martin Prado was held out of the first two games of the series, excluding a pinch-hit appearance in the second game. Fredi Gonzalez moved Chipper Jones to the two hole in the lineup for the first two games. This turned out to be a brilliant move.
Chipper responded by going 6 for 11 with a stat line of .545/.583/.909 for an OPS of 1.492. He hit his 5th home run and drove in seven runs to up his total to 21 for the year. Overall, he is hitting .318/.370/.576 for an OPS of .946 on the year. Chipper has been the second most valuable offensive player on the Braves’ team this year with a WAR of 1.0.
Meanwhile, Prado is hitting .273/.350/.408 for an OPS of .758. He has hit 2 home runs and driven in 16 runs on the year. Prado has a WAR of 0.6 on the season.
It would be difficult to predict what Chipper Jones would do in the 2 hole of the lineup every game he is available to play. However, the impact that he has consistently had this season would be a huge lift to the Atlanta Braves’ already stout offense.
Michael Bourn is the real reason why Gonzalez should consider making this move. He is on a tear right now. He is hitting .331/.394/.403 atop the Braves’ lineup. He is getting on base in almost 2 out of every 5 at bats. The scoring opportunities that this brings the Braves’ offense is immense. Chipper leads the team, among starters, in OPS. His value with the bat in the two hole with Bourn’s speed and high OBP would only increase the offense’s production. There is no guarantee that he will continue to notch an OBP of almost .400. He has a career OBP of .339, though he has not had an OBP lower than .341 in the past three full seasons. With this being his contract year, there is a good chance he could best his career best OBP of .354.
Prado’s flu may have been a gift for Gonzalez as he witnessed Chipper’s greatness and potential in the two hole for the rest of the year. If he wants what is best for the lineup, then he should make this change moving forward.