Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 Dodgers of the decade

With the decade coming to an end, this is my list of the top 10 Los Angeles Dodger players of the 2000s.

1. Eric Gagne, RP (2000-06)
Averages: 3-3 W-L, 74 IP, 58 H, 8 HR, 24 BB, 86 K, 3.34 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 10.5 K/9IP, 121 ERA+, 27 saves
Highs: 7 W, 7 L, 151.2 IP, 144 H, 24 HR, 60 BB, 137 K, 1.20 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, 15.0 K/9IP, 335 ERA+, 55 saves
The 2003 Cy Young Award winner had the greatest run of any closer in MLB history. His 84-consecutive saves are not soon to be eclipsed. His Dodger career ended with injury and with 161 saves.

2. Shawn Green, RF (2000-04)

Averages: 160 games, 602 at-bats, 101 runs, 168 hits, 37 2B, 32 HR, 101 RBI, 13 SB, 79:113 BB:K ratio, .280/.366/.510/.876, 130 OPS+
Highs: 162 games, 619 AB, 121 R, 184 H, 49 2B, 49 HR (Dodger record), 125 RBI, 24 SB, 93 BB, 121 K, .297/.385/.598/.970, 154 OPS+
Green came to L.A. in 2000 November 1999 with Jorge Nunez for Raul Mondesi and Pedro Borbon. It was a steal of a deal for the Dodgers. His first season in Blue left a lot to be desired. However, his next two seasons were two of the best by a Dodger hitter ever. He was traded away in the winter January 2005.

3. Gary Sheffield, LF (2000-01)
Averages: 142 G, 508 AB, 102 R, 162 H, 26 2B, 40 HR, 104 RBI, 7 SB, 98:69 BB:K, .318/.428/.612/1.040, 170 OPS+
Highs: 143 G, 515 AB, 105 R, 163 H, 28 2B, 43 HR, 109 RBI, 10 SB, 101 BB, 71 K, .325/.438/.643/1.081, 176 OPS+
Sheffield only played two seasons in the decade for the Dodgers, but they were quite productive. It is also the only reason he doesn't rank ahead of Green. Sheffield was one fo the most feared hitters in the game, despite his tumultuous time in Los Angeles.

4. Takashi Saito, RP (2006-08)
Averages: 4-2 W-L, 63 IP, 40 H, 3 HR, 17 BB, 82 K, 1.95 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11.6 K/9IP, 226 ERA+, 27 saves
Highs: 6 W, 4 L, 78.1 IP, 48 H, 5 HR, 23 BB, 107 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 12.3 K/9IP, 317 ERA+, 39 saves
Saito was signed out of Japan as a minor-league free agent -- and what a signing he was. He continued the dominance Gagne left behind. Like many Dodgers, his time in L.A. ended after injury.

5. Derek Lowe, SP (2005-08)
Averages: 14-12 W-L, 213 IP, 208 H, 19 HR, 54 BB, 141 K, 3.59 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 6.0 K/9IP, 120 ERA+
Highs: 16 W, 15 L, 222 IP, 223 H, 28 HR, 59 BB, 147 K, 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6.6 K/9IP, 129 ERA+
Lowe was coming off a bad 2004 season when Paul DePodesta signed him to a 4-year, $36M deal. However, Lowe had great postseason success, as he won all three clinching games for the Red Sox that year. Lowe was nothing but consistent for the Dodgers.

6. Andre Ethier, RF/LF (2006-present)
Averages: 145 G, 491 AB, 70 R, 143 H, 33 2B, 19 HR, 76 RBI, 4 SB, 53:87 BB:K, .291/.363/.490/.853, 122 OPS+
Highs: 160 G, 596 AB, 92 R, 162 H, 42 2B, 31 HR, 106 RBI, 6 SB, 72 BB, 116 K, .308/.375/.510/.885, 132 OPS+
Ethier came to the Dodgers in the Milton Bradley deal, and he has been quite good. He was hampered early on by being forced to platoon with old, overpaid veterans and another young guy, Matt Kemp. However, he had a breakout performance in 2009, clubbing a Dodger-high 31 home runs. He should be a fixture in the middle of the Dodger order for the forseeable future.

7. Adrian Beltre, 3B (2000-04)
Averages: 147 G, 546 AB, 71 R, 152 H, 28 2B, 25 HR, 84 RBI, 8 SB, 42:90 BB:K, .278/.331/.476/.808, 112 OPS+
Highs: 159 G, 587 AB, 104 R, 200 H, 32 2B, 48 HR, 121 RBI, 13 SB, 56 BB, 103 K, .334/.388/.629/1.017, 163 OPS+

Beltre's numbers were somewhat consistent until 2004, when he exploded for 48 HR, 121 RBI and nearly an NL MVP award. He was allowed to walk after the season and had numbers that were more in line with his career averages during his five-year stay in Seattle. The 2004 season was obviously a fluke.

8. Kevin Brown, SP (2000-03)
Averages: 10-6 W-L, 155 IP, 132 H, 12 HR, 41 BB, 141 K, 2.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 8.2 K/9IP, 149 ERA+
Highs: 14 W, 9 L, 230 IP, 184 H, 21 HR, 56 BB, 216 K, 2.39 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K/9IP, 169 ERA+
Brown signed the huge 7-year, $105M contract in December 1998, becoming baseball's first $100-million man. While his time in L.A. was tainted by injury, he had some of the best peripherals of any Dodger starting pitcher in the decade. He was traded away after the 2003 season.

9. Jeff Kent, 2B (2005-08)
Averages: 130 G, 474 AB, 70 R, 138 H, 30 2B, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 2 SB, 52:67 BB:K, .291/.367/.479/.847, 119 OPS+
Highs: 149 G, 553 AB, 100 R, 160 H, 36 2B, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 6 SB, 72 BB, 85 K, .302/.375/.512/.889, 133 OPS+

Kent, the former Giant, came to the Dodgers prior to the 2005 season. His best season as a Dodger came at that time, when he hit 29 home runs and drove in 105 runs. His defense was always below-average, but his offensive production was something that was lacking at the position for quite some time.

10. Chad Billingsley, SP (2006-present)
Averages: 12-8 W-L, 158 IP, 146 H, 13 HR, 72 BB, 145 K, 3.55 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.2 K/9IP, 119 ERA+
Highs: 16 W, 11 L, 200.2 IP, 188 H, 17 HR, 86 BB, 201 K, 3.14 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 9.0 K/9IP, 134 ERA+

Billingsley was cruising through the first half. He made the NL All-Star team and was the Dodgers' ace. Then he just kind of fell apart. Because of that, people were calling for him to be traded in a big off-season deal. That would have been foolish. He still has put up respectable numbers after in his four years as a Dodger. He will move up on this list in due time.

Next five: Jonathan Broxton, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Odalis Perez, Chan Ho Park

Top Dodgers by position for the decade

Catcher
Russell Martin
Paul Lo Duca
Todd Hundley

First Base
James Loney - Best defensive 1B since Wes Parker
Nomar Garciaparra - A magical 2006 (first half) lands him here
Hee-Seop Choi - Three HR in one game, never got a chance to play everyday

Second Base
Jeff Kent
Orlando Hudson - Gold glove, all-star, hit for cycle -- all in just one season
Alex Cora - Mainly for his 2004 performance at 2B, always solid with the glove

Third Base
Adrian Beltre
Casey Blake - Teh Beard
Blake DeWitt - By default, as 3B has been a black hole since 2004

Shortstop
Rafael Furcal - He performs well every-other year, so he should have a great 2010
Cesar Izturis - Gold glover and all-star
Kevin Elster - Just for his 3-HR game at the Phone Dome

Outfield
Shawn Green
Gary Sheffield
Andre Ethier
Matt Kemp - Will be in the top 10 next decade... maybe even No. 1
J.D. Drew - His 2005 was cut short by injury, put up good numbers

Starting Pitcher
Derek Lowe
Kevin Brown
Chad Billingsley
Odalis Perez - Was great in his first season in L.A.
Chan Ho Park - Made his money from his last two seasons in L.A., came back as reliever in 2008
Hideo Nomo - A warrior, his 2002-03 were great season, should hampered him in 2004

Relief Pitcher
Eric Gagne
Takashi Saito
Jonathan Broxton - Not as good as his predecssors, but still a very good closer
Paul Quantrill - A great two seasons in L.A., left for the Yankees and retired a couple years later
Guillermo Mota - Traded away at the right time, but was dominant... came back in 2009 for second stint

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