Last year Chipper Jones threatened to retire before his contract ran out if he didn’t bounce back from his bad 2009. So far this season he’s hitting 230/.402/.368 with two homers. He says that’s good enough for him, however, and that he’s no longer considering hanging it up before 2012.
What’s convincing him: his walk rate. He’s tied for the league lead in walks and has a good on base percentage, and he says that “when I’m drawing walks you know I’m seeing the ball good.” He made a reference to his RBI totals being a function of not having a lot of people on base in front of him. He’s right about that, of course.
Still, the lack of power is a concern for me. As is, you may be surprised to hear, the batting average. Yes, OBP is more important, but if he doesn’t start showing that he can actually do something with balls in the strike zone, pitchers will throw away old scouting reports about not giving him anything good to hit and will start challenging him more. Based on what I’ve seen so far this season, I’m not completely optimistic that he can make them pay if they do.
Still, it’s nice to see the confidence, and the fact that Jason Heyward is back in the lineup tonight and is hitting second (second?! Yes, second) is reason enough for temporary optimism about Chipper Jones’ production.
Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera didn’t play in the Tigers’ season finale against the White Sox, but he has officially clinched the AL batting title with a .338 average following Sunday’s action. It’s Cabrera’s fourth batting title in his last five seasons.
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon entered Sunday’s season finale with a bit more pressure. He was in a tight race with Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper for the NL batting title, trailing only by rounding to the fourth place, .3307 to .3306. Gordon went 3-for-4 in a loss to the Phillies while Harper went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Mets. As a result, Gordon officially won the NL batting title with a .330 average. It’s the first batting title of Gordon’s brief career. Hanley Ramirez was the Marlins’ last batting champion, doing so in 2009.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are expected to announce Billy Eppler as their new general manager on Monday. Eppler had been serving as the assistant general manager with the Yankees.
Jerry DiPoto had been the Angels’ GM but he stepped down on July 1. DiPoto later joined the Red Sox in an advisory role, then was named the Mariners’ new GM last week.
The Angels lost to the Rangers in Sunday’s season finale, which eliminated them from contention for the second AL Wild Card spot. They finished 85-77. Most of their regulars are under contract for the 2016 season, but Eppler will have to decide whether to tender contracts to seven arbitration-eligible players while filling in the rest of the roster.