You gotta go back to Will Clark, I guess, for the last time a guy had as good a final season as Chipper Jones is having. At least when he knew it was his final season beforehand.
Jones hit two homers last night — the second of which was his 2,700th career hit — passing Dave Winfield on the all-time home run list. For the season, Jones is now hitting .315/.391/.519 with 12 homers and 53 RBI at the age of 40. Obviously he doesn’t play every day due to the wonky everything, but that’s amazing production for a guy with one foot in the baseball grave.
As our D.J. Short just pointed out on Twitter, only seven players have posted a higher OPS in a single season past the age of 40 with a minimum of 300 at bats. They are: Moises Alou, Harold Baines, Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Barry Bonds, who did it twice, and Ted Williams.
For a guy who has accomplished just about everything in baseball, it’s a nice cherry on top.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.