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  1. #1
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    Chipper vs Brett

    Who would you rather have for their whole careers playing third for you

  2. #2
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    It's the ultimate Sophie's Choice.

    But, if you pinned me down--I'd go with Chipper.
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  3. #3
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    From 1995-2012 (18 seasons) Chipper never put up less than 1.9 fWAR. In total he was 41% better than a league average hitter and had 84.7 fWAR in 2491 games and 10610 PAs

    From 1975-1990 (16 seasons) Brett never put up less than 1.6 fWAR. In total he was 42% better than a league average hitter and had 83.8 fWAR in 2133 games and 9276 PAs.


    I'll take Brett. I just need another 3Bman to put up 1 WAR in 2 seasons to come out slightly ahead. Not that I actually think WAR is that precise, but using this imperfect method, Brett was about .5 WAR better than Chipper per 650 PAs.



    ETA: Or, I'll take Brett from 1975-1993 and Chipper from 1993-2012 and call it 3 decades (minus 4 years between Brett's last good year and Chipper's first one).
    Last edited by filihok; 01-16-2015 at 10:03 AM.
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  4. #4
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    As a Braves fan it's pretty clear what my vote is going to be, but I do think it's quite a close debate. That said, I'll defend Chipper a little. For years he was regarded as the 4th best 3B of all time (except by Red Sox homers) behind Schmidt/Brett/Matthews and 4th best switch hitter of all time behind Mantle/Murray/Rose. His career being done, I think he's made a strong case for 2nd best switch hitter ever and a comfortable argument for anything from 4th to 2nd best 3B all time.

    Brett vs. Chipper career:


    Anyone can look and see how close their WAR totals are. Chipper was 11% better hitter over his career though, which is quite significant. Brett did have about 1000 more PA though, which narrows that gap somewhat. Cherry pick out Brett's first and last seasons and he has a 141 OPS+ with similar PAs. The rub there is that OPS+ underrates hitters like Chipper who derive a ton of their value from OBP (it's a difference of .376 OBP for Brett's truncated years to .401 for Chipper). Chipper still wins career value here, though it's closer than it appears at first blush.

    Defensively, Brett fans will argue he was much better. In truth? Nobody can say for certain. UZR only covers the back half of Chipper's career, and he actually grades out almost average on a rate basis. Chipper came up as a SS and actually played a little over a quarter of a season there. His knee injury relegated him to the hot corner though, and as a fan watching him for his entire career I can tell you what logic says: he was better in his youth defensively. The same is true for Brett, though he was no wizard. Even if you grant that Brett was better overall it's hard to say it makes up for the offensive career disparity. For argument's sake, let's say it does.

    Brett vs. Chipper peak:

    Starting with his MVP season, Chipper put up a 10-year peak slash of .317/.419/.568 for a 152 OPS+ with 643 XBH in 5992 PAs. Again, adjusted OPS is still going to underrate how good that line is as compared to wRC+ or other adjusted metrics that more accurately weight OBP relative to slugging.

    From '76-'85, Brett's 10 year peak looks like: .321/.384/.529 for a 151 OPS+ with 612 XBH in 5726 PAs. Brett plunked the doubles while Chipper had 120 more homers for their respective primes. OPS+ makes this look closer than it is, but they're not terribly far apart considering each's era.

    As more of a pure line drive hitter playing in the steroid era you can argue that Chipper's adjusted stats are somewhat whacked out. He had only 1 season over 40 and only 4 seasons over 30 homers for his career. Of course the flipside is that maybe Chipper juiced too and he would have been a guy cracking 30 homers only once in his career like Brett had he played in the same era.

    Ephemera:

    Brett has 3 batting titles, 1 MVP, 2 silver sluggers (award only since 1980) and one of four with 300 HR/.300 average/3000 hits (also Musial, Mays, and Aaron).

    Chipper has an MVP, 2 silver sluggers, and a batting title. He also has the major league record (in a tie with Waner) for most consecutive games with an XBH, or the almost-and-perhaps-equally-impressive little brother of DiMaggio's record.

    Verdict:

    Your preference is going to come down to a few things: how much defensive value you put on each man, whether you value 1000 PAs of a league average bat, whether you like power and XBH, and whether you like OBP kings. It's the last weight that tips it for me (and obvious fan bias). For hitters with 7500 live ball PAs, Chipper is ranked 16th all time in OBP to Brett's 55th (out of 243). Raise it to 10,000 PAs and Chipper is 7th to Brett's 29th (out of 60).

    Of the 60 men with 10,000 career live ball PAs, Chipper ranks 14th in ISO, 7th in OBP, 10th in BB%, 10th in batting average, 11th in wRC+, and 9th in wOBA. The only infielder ahead of him in wOBA in that sample is A-Rod (barely). Watching him so much over the years, that elite approach combined with elite contact skills and borderline elite power made him a unique hitter. You might miss it on a daily basis, but as a switch hitter he had virtually all the hitting tools you could possibly want in a guy.

    Here's to the man, and here's to hoping A-Rod plays enough to drop him below Chipper on that hallowed list.

  5. #5
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    If I were a pitcher, I'd rather face Chipper in a late-inning clutch situation. Just ask Goose Gossage.

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  6. #6
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    Brett Lawrie.

  7. #7
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    I'll take Brett in the steroid era and watered down pitching era, over Chipper in the pitcher strong and non steroid era. Imagine Brett's numbers if he played during the time Chipper played!

    Players can not be compared fairly in two different era's.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by thawv View Post
    I'll take Brett in the steroid era and watered down pitching era, over Chipper in the pitcher strong and non steroid era. Imagine Brett's numbers if he played during the time Chipper played!

    Players can not be compared fairly in two different era's.
    I understand, but even park and league adjusted numbers show them to be fairly equal.

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