MLB Atlanta BravesWashington Nationals

Chipper Jones on Stephen Strasburg: “The Best Repertoire Of Pitches That I’ve Seen”

Chipper Jones has faced over 1,000 pitchers over his career, none quite like Washington Nationals’ young gun Stephen Strasburg.

Jones said Strasburg has “the best stuff, the best repertoire of pitches that I’ve seen on any one single pitcher.”

We tend to get wrapped up in radar guns, statistics, metrics, advanced metrics, sabermetrics and whatever else the new fad in baseball hipster pitcher evaluation is. When it comes down to it, word of mouth can still blow any of that away.

Chipper is a class act known for his kind words for teammates and opponents alike, but he has no reason to shower praise upon a punk 23-year-old kid who plays for a division rival. In his 19-year career, Jones has faced the likes of Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens. He played behind Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

I’m going to take the guy for his word.

If you’re not as convinced, go ahead … take a look at the numbers.

Over parts of three seasons now, Strasburg has a 2.42 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 10-5 record in 26 starts. He has struck out 180 batters in 145 innings pitched, an average of 11.2 per nine innings. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 5.63.

You can only shower praise onto Strasburg for so long until you get to the elephant in the room, the big “if.” This young man will go down with the likes of Pedro, The Big Unit and The Rocket if he can stay healthy.

For years, scouts have raised red flags about Strasburg’s throwing motion, which puts extra stress on his pitching elbow and shoulder. He missed almost all of the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

If only Strasburg could learn the secret of longevity from Chipper.