He is what he is — a pretty-good glove man who avoids being a total offensive zero by poking a few homers and a few doubles. Last year he had career highs with 23 and 42 respectively, but most of the homers came in Toronto, and he only slugged .386 in Atlanta. (But the AL is the tougher league.) Not only does he hit for a low average (career .248 and 2010 .250) but he walks little (career and 2010 OBP of .291) he has basically no peripheral offensive skills; a bad bunter, slow, doesn’t put the ball in play. Should never, ever, hit anywhere but seventh in a National League order; you need someone who will take a walk hitting eighth, and anywhere higher than seventh you’ll lose a lot of baserunners to his myriad outs. Despite all that, he’s probably above the median for a shortstop. He’s also the only thing like a major league shortstop in the organization, so the Braves had no choice but to exercise his option.
He is a pretty good defensive player, with above-average range and an average fielding percentage. Some systems have him pretty much equal to Escobar, but I don’t agree. Working with four different third basemen and three different second basemen couldn’t have been easy, and Gonzalez meshed with some better than others. This year, second base should be set all the time, but with Uggla’s poor range Gonzalez will have his work cut out for him even if Chipper is still mobile.
Most-similar player continues to be Alex Gonzalez, by a wide margin; they actually qualify as “unusually similar” even without the name thing. Gonzalez washed out of the majors for good at 33; Gonzalez will be 34.