- 05/16/2011, 05:58PM ET
Outlaw... said 05/16, 05:58 PM
I saw a ranking on Bleacher Report that I disagreed with big time. So I'm bored, and thought I'd make my own rankings.
Modern era only
Order counts for this.
1. Hank Aaron- I don't think this is debatable.
2. Greg Maddux- Widely considered a top 5 pitcher of all time, and did his best work during his 11 years with the Braves.
3. Chipper Jones- He's a future first ballot HOFer, without a doubt a top 3 third baseman of all time, and only Hank Aaron and Bobby has meant more to Atlanta.
4. Warren Spahn- One of the best lefties of all time. Ace of the 57 World Series team.
5. Eddie Mathews- A top 5 third baseman of all time.
6. John Smoltz- Post season machine, great starter, and the best closer the Braves have ever had.
7. Tom Glavine- 300 game winner, 95 World Series MVP.
8. Dale Murphy- 2x MVP, one of the best hitters in the league in his prime years.
9. Phil Niekro- 300 game winning knuckler, HOFer.
10. Wally Berger- Career was cut short, but he had a dominating 7 year stint with the Braves back in the 30's, and I think that earns him a spot on the list.
The Chairman said 05/16, 06:35 PM
10. Andruw Jones
My only real change is Andruw Jones instead of Wally Berger. While I made some small changes, it may be best to just focus on the one big change.
I'll call your dominating 7 year stint, and raise a 9 year dominating stint.
Andruw Jones was on pace to go down as one of the best center fielders in modern era history before some of his other hiccups outside of Atlanta. While people don't remember Jones being that dominating outfielder, he was.
Jones won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1998-2007. Jones finished in the top-16 voting for MVP five times. Jones finished top-8 twice, and was the runner-up in 2005.
Jones was selected to five All Star teams and won a Silver Slugger award during those years.
Andruw hit 368 home runs as an Atlanta Brave. He hit 25+ home runs in 10 straight years. Jones also drove in 90+ runs in 9 seasons with Atlanta.
Jones was as dominating as it got in the late 90s and early 2000s, and that's why he deserves a spot on the All-Braves roster.
Outlaw... said 05/16, 08:38 PM
To call Andruw Jones' career as a Brave dominating is a bit of a stretch.
Yeah, he had a great glove and he hit a lot of home runs, but that's about it. He didn't hit for average, he struck out a lot, and didn't walk very much.
Andruw's offensive numbers as a Brave..
.256 average, 368 homers, .342 OBP, .497 SLG, .839 OPS, 113 OPS+
Wally Berger had some pop to his bat, he could hit for average, didn't strike out much.
Here's Berger's numbers as a Brave
.304 avg, 199 homers, .359 OBP, .522 SLG, .894 OPS, 141 OPS+
It's plain to see that Berger was a much better offensive player than Andruw Jones, and I don't think Andruw's edge in power and fielder bumps him ahead of Berger who has nearly .50 points of average better, has a much higher OPS and was much better compared to the rest of the league as the OPS+ advantage shows.
Andruw was a good player, and most Braves fans have fond memories of him, but the numbers aren't there to have him on the list over Berger.
Differences in order in the next argument.
The Chairman said 05/17, 06:45 AM
Andruw Jones meant more to the Braves than Berger did.
Jones was a multiple-dimensional player. Think about it - 10 straight Gold Gloves, 368 home runs by age 30, 4 consecutive 20+ steal seasons, and he never played less than 153 games with the Braves.
As a rookie, Jones became the youngest player ever to hit a World Series home run at 19. He hit .400 with 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, and 8 hits in 20 at-bats that WS.
Berger's Braves never made it to the postseason, but when he made it with two other teams, he went 0-18 in the playoffs.
It was not a fluke that the Braves made the postseason every year Jones was there.
Let's delve into more stats:
dWAR - 0.6 (Berger) vs. 3.6 (Jones) - (career highs)
oWAR - 6.5 vs. 5.3
Jones leads all active players in dWAR. With 23.6, he is far ahead of 2nd place Ivan Rodriguez with 16.4. He led the league in dWAR six consecutive times and is still top-25 among active players in oWAR.
One last one-
Jones is third overall in Total Zone Runs - career wise. The stat, complete since 1974, has players such as Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, etc. near the top. Jones is 3rd overall. Amazing.
Outlaw... said 05/17, 09:59 PM
I never denied that Jones was a great fielder, but other than that and power he has nothing on Berger.
Jones might have better playoffs numbers, but those Braves teams in the 30's were bad teams, berger never got a chance to play in the post season for the Braves, and after Berger left the Braves his career started going south. His career was cut short.
Berger was a much better weapon with the bat. A 141 OPS+ compared to jones' 113 makes up for the defensive difference IMO.
For the changes in order, I'm a fan of Niekro, but I can't see putting him over Smoltz, Murphy or Glavine.
Niekro was the best knuckler of all time, but what Smoltz did was incredible.
Not only was he a Cy Young award winning starter that got 3000 strikeouts, but he was also a dominating closer for 4 years, and is one of the best playoff pitchers of all time.
For Glavine, he is Atlanta's only WS MVP, a 300 game winner and multi-Cy Young award winner.
For Murphy, it's simple, nobody in the country would have knew Atlanta had a team in the 80's if not for Murphy. His back to back MVPs, and amazing prime years puts him over Niekro.
The Chairman said 05/18, 06:42 PM
Andruw Jones- 59.7
Wally Berger- 40
Jones' defense outweighs Berger's defense. Berger's dWAR with the Braves was 2.2. Jones? 24.6.
You mention OPS+ and that's a great stat, but only for offense. oWAR and dWAR shows that Jones' defense was more productive than Berger's offense.
If you average them out, they are .25 points off. Jones' defense absolutely made-up for his sometimes lesser offense.
Moving on to the order changes:
Niekro is 3rd all-time on the Braves' win list. Niekro is also second in both strikeouts (2,912) and shutouts (44).
Phil Niekro is also a five-time NL Gold Glove winner and four-time All-Star. Niekro finished in the top-6 MVP voting five times and a close second finish once. Niekro also received many MVP votes during his career.
Niekro is the best knuckleball pitcher of all-time. He will forever be remembered as that, and is also always remembered as a Brave. Niekro is a 300 game winner, Smoltz is not.
One last thing that Niekro has going for him was his tenure. Niekro pitched 20 seasons for the Braves. 20 seasons is a long time to be consistent and dominating.
Great TD. Hope to see you again.
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