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Atlanta Braves Version Of Andruw Jones: Hall Of Famer?

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Dave Cameron at FanGraphs strikes up the debate as to whether former Braves center fielder Andruw Jones is a Hall of Famer. While I have been whining like a little kid on Twitter about the overhwhelming number of Hall of Fame posts on the internet the past couple weeks, I do find this one interesting, I guess because he was a long-time Brave and it's someone I can make a strong case for or against.

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The main argument here, as Cameron points out, is Jones' main value comes from defense. He has the exact same career fWAR as Derek Jeter, yet Jeter's value comes mainly from offense while Jones' is defense. The question is whether sportswriters are bright enough to realize the importance Jones' defense had on the Braves during the later part of their run, and whether they would ever accept a defensive-minded center fielder as a Hall of Famer.

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But it's also not like Jones was terrible with the stick. His utter lack of plate discipline and brain power in the box drove Braves fans crazy for years, and a .338 OBP is not a ticket to Cooperstown, but he does have 407 career home runs, mostly in center, and that's top five all time at the position. Voters take these things into consideration.

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When Jones fell off a cliff in 2007, he certainly hurt his chances. If he had been able to maintain his career averages for a few more years there would be a serious argument for him, and I would put my money on it happening. But considering his quick decline, I'm not sure voters will find him worthy because most will not take his amazing defensive numbers into account. As for the blogging community, I think there will be a split over his career value. My opinion: A career UZR of 119 in center and over 400 home runs makes him worthy.

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Notice I didn't base anything on my viewpoint of seeing him play everyday for years. Yes, I did that on purpose.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.