Scouting Report: Atlanta Braves

(Photo: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images)

Chipper Jones admits that he had a bad season in 2009, but figures on rebounding in 2010. The veteran Altanta Braves all-star believes that the Braves can contend for the NL East this season.

Chipper Jones has never had back-to-back bad seasons, and he is not expecting that to change now. He knew while he was going through his hitting slump last season that his problems were mechanical, because of the way the ball was rotating when it was put in play.

But even with Jones being so un-Chipper-like, the Braves had opportunities late in the season to make the playoffs. And that's what Jones expects in 2010.

"I think we can contend for the Eastern Division," he said at season's end.

Of the NL teams that did move on to the postseason, Jones noted, "We split with Colorado. But every other team who's in, we beat in the season series. I didn't have a good year. (Brian McCann) had a solid year; I don't think he would say he had a great year. You bounce back with a couple of good seasons out of me and Mac in the middle of the lineup next year -- not even counting some of the additions we make in the offseason -- you're talking about a few more games in the standings."

Assuming young pitchers such as Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson perform as they showed they could.

"There's no reason to believe that those guys won't continue to do the things that they did," Jones said. "Those guys really got a grasp of how to pitch and how to keep the team in the ballgame. A couple of them are only going to get better."

Chipper Jones career stats

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
1993 ATL 8 4 3 2 2 1 0 0 0 1 1 .667 .750 1.000
1995 ATL 140 602 524 87 139 22 3 23 86 73 99 .265 .353 .450
1996 ATL 157 693 598 114 185 32 5 30 110 87 88 .309 .393 .530
1997 ATL 157 679 597 100 176 41 3 21 111 76 88 .295 .371 .479
1998 ATL 160 707 601 123 188 29 5 34 107 96 93 .313 .404 .547
1999 ATL 157 701 567 116 181 41 1 45 110 126 94 .319 .441 .633
2000 ATL 156 686 579 118 180 38 1 36 111 95 64 .311 .404 .566
2001 ATL 159 677 572 113 189 33 5 38 102 98 82 .330 .427 .605
2002 ATL 158 662 548 90 179 35 1 26 100 107 89 .327 .435 .536
2003 ATL 153 656 555 103 169 33 2 27 106 94 83 .305 .402 .517
2004 ATL 137 567 472 69 117 20 1 30 96 84 96 .248 .362 .485
2005 ATL 109 432 358 66 106 30 0 21 72 72 56 .296 .412 .556
2006 ATL 110 477 411 87 133 28 3 26 86 61 73 .324 .409 .596
2007 ATL 134 600 513 108 173 42 4 29 102 82 75 .337 .425 .604
2008 ATL 128 534 439 82 160 24 1 22 75 90 61 .364 .470 .574
2009 ATL 143 596 488 80 129 23 2 18 71 101 89 .264 .388 .430
16 Seasons 2166 9273 7825 1458 2406 472 37 426 1445 1343 1231 .307 .406 .541

News, notes and quotes

--Second baseman Martin Prado proved his worth at second base by unseating incumbent Kelly Johnson in the middle of last season. Prado won't similarly oust Chipper Jones, but he could prove to be the best option to back up Jones long-term. In that scenario, pencil in INF Omar Infante at second base.

--Right-hander Kris Medlen doesn't necessarily face more competition for a spot in the bullpen with the signings of LHP Michael Dunn, RHP Scott Proctor and RHP Jesse Chavez because he is capable of both multi-inning long relief and closing.

--Tommy Hanson will be concentrating this season on mixing in his changeup, having command of all four pitches and stopping the running game.

--Jordan Schafer has begun swinging the bat now that he has recovered from surgery on his left wrist. In January, Schafer began taking swings in the Turner Field batting cage, the first time since last April 10 he had no pain doing so.

--Outfielder Jason Heyward, widely regarded as the Braves' best prospect and one of the top prospects in baseball, will be given a shot at winning the right field position in spring training.

The numbers game: .963 -- Jason Heyward's on-base-plus-slugging percentage last season, playing at three minor league levels.

He said what?  "It'll be the same. It will be the last one, but it will be the same: stressful, enjoyable, however you want to call it." -- Manager Bobby Cox on what he expects his final season to be like.


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