Atlanta Braves history: the franchise's top five third basemen

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,-Any discussion covering Atlanta Braves' third basemen must include Chipper Jones. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

As the Atlanta Braves prepare for 2020 with a roster full of young stars, we look back at the best third basemen in franchise history.

When I decided to a series covering the history of the Atlanta Braves, I knew context would affect the final list, but felt I'd easily identify the number one player at each position. It wasn't easy; that's what I get for thinking.

I knew I had to set a limit on the fewest games played. As you'll see, as I go through the positions, I couldn't use the same limit for each position.

The franchise's long history meant I had to attempt to level the playing field across seven generations of players. I settled on plus stats as the way to do that.  Plus stats like OPS+ tell us how well a player stacks up against the rest of the league when he played, with 100 as league average.

Using a Fangraphs custom player search by position, a created a table of the following plus stats.

  • wOBA - if you care about determining how well a player contributes to run-scoring, wOBA is a more accurate representation of that contribution than OPS
  • wRC+ - If you want a rate statistic for hitters that weights each offensive action and controls for league and park effects, wRC+ is for you.
  • AVG+
  • OBP+
  • SLG+
  • Rbaser – The number of runs better or worse than the average player for all baserunning events; SB, CS, PB, WP, Defensive indifference

I looked at every player's plus stats, sample-size in terms of games played, impact on the franchise, and contribution to the team's success.

Unlike second sackers, the franchise now known as the Atlanta Braves features a long list of stellar performers at the hot corner. Once I sorted them into something workable, I found filling the top four positions relatively easy. However, the fifth spot nearly drove me crazy.

Two players from different eras, playing different styles of ball and using different tools to produce runs at the highest level. I spent just over two hours trying to sort them out, before realizing the best decision was ... no decision.

Next: I couldn't pick just one