Chipper Jones didn’t necessarily have the greatest offensive season in his swansong 2012 season. Surely his numbers have been better here and there. What is the great loss to the Atlanta Braves team then? The leadership that Chipper brought to the team was a huge part of their success a year ago. With him now enjoying retirement, who will step into that leadership role in 2013 for the Braves?
The answer could have easily been, Martin Prado, Eric Hinske or David Ross if those players weren’t gone on to other teams now. Their loss also further created a leadership void of sorts. The changes to the team are 100 percent awesome and I know that Frank Wren could have done no better in building the post-Chipper Braves team. Still, that leadership will be key so let’s look at who could step into that role.
Right from the start of the leadership thought process the name Tim Hudson popped into mind. Hudson is a great clubhouse presence and there is little doubt that his leadership of the pitching staff could easily carry over to the entire clubhouse. Another option is Jason Heyward. It seems almost silly to think of Heyward as the elder statesman of this group of guys but he kind of is. For everyday players, Heyward could very well step into the leadership role and do a great job. He is respected around the team and the league.
There is one name that is getting overlooked. Brian McCann has not been traded or put out for the season for some reason. He will be back in just a few weeks. This is a contract season for him but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will have one eye on the free agent market during the season. Here is an odd thought; maybe McCann doesn’t have any plans to leave Atlanta. Maybe he is planning on working with the front office on a deal to stay with the team.
No matter what the contract situation, McCann should be one of the, if not the only main leader of this team. When healthy, he has the clutch hitting that rallies players behind him. He has tenure and has the respect of everyone around Major League Baseball. This could be one of his best seasons not because it is a contract year but because he hasn’t been healthy in a long time. Give McCann a look for not only leader of the team but possibly even starting catcher next season. Who do you think will lead the Braves in 2013?