Gary had a productive first season in a Braves uniform, hitting .307/.404/.512. Like the other Braves outfielders, he was streaky, but there was good reason for it, a wrist injury apparently suffered on defense, which bothered him the first two months of the season. He was great during the summer, and had a dramatic split: .265/.358/.465 in the first half, .359/.460/.571 in the second. (Interesting symmetry in strikeouts and walks. He walked 36 times in each half. But his ratio was almost 1:1, with 35 strikeouts, in the first, but 2:1 with 18 strikeouts in the second.) When fully healthy, he’s a devastating hitter.
Defensively, he’s not bad, but he’s not Brian Jordan either. For whatever reason, his range factors in Atlanta were far better than they were in LA… Sheffield has gotten a bad rap for his attitude, which is a little unfair. When he first came up with the Brewers, he was a head case, and later claimed he wasn’t giving his all. He’s been… well, not a model citizen but no worse than anyone else, for the last decade. But first impressions linger, and now he has to put up with being labeled a malcontent. It doesn’t help that Dick Allen, a previous generation’s traveling malcontent and failed third baseman, comes up as Sheffield’s most comparable player… Would need to play at his current level for eight seasons to reach 3000 hits, but could have 500 homers in five.