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The 29 Most Important Braves During the Streak: #4, Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones is this high up the list not only for his ability as a slugger, but also for his abilities in center field. From the moment he got to the Majors the impact of both his bat and his glove were felt by our opponents. Only 19 years old in '96, Jones did about all he could to try and help the Braves beat the Yankees in the World Series that year. In game one of the Series he made it so we would never forget him when he slugged two homeruns in Yankee Stadium to help the Braves take game one. Jones has gone on to dominate other postseason series, stepping up especially in the last two postseasons, '04 and '05, compiling over a .500 batting average to try and help the Braves on to victory.

Though he can be dominating at times as a slugger, his defense never seems to wane. Nine straight Gold Gloves don't lie, and while there may have been some growing pains and mental lapses early on, Andruw is now regarded by many around baseball as one of the finest center fielders in the history of the game. We have only to look to what happened to Tom Glavine when he moved from the Braves with Jones in the outfield to the Mets and their collection of boat anchors in the outfield - his ERA when from 2.96 to 4.52 in one year. It is Andruw's ability to chase down balls that for most centerfielders are uncatchable and make it look routine.

Andruw's power potential was always lurking just below the surface of his game. 30-Homer power came easy to AJ, but it wasn't until '05 when he really broke out with a 51-homer season tapping his full power potential. That was also the year that Andruw finally felt comfortable in the fourth spot in the batting order. Five times in the top-16 in MVP voting and five times an All-Star, Andurw has helped the Braves win games and make the postseason year after year. We can only hope that the team can find some way to keep his bat in the lineup and his glove in the outfield for the years to come. No other defender has had more of an impact on the Braves success than Andruw Jones.

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