Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Outfield

The Dodgers had one of the best-looking outfields in the National League heading into the 2012 season. Despite not having a left fielder, the combination of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were tough to beat. After acquiring Carl Crawford, the outfield should be that much better in 2013 and beyond.

Dodger outfielders by the numbers

Left Field
.254/.325/.349
76 R, 34 2B, 4 3B, 6 HR, 52 RBI, 21 SB, 63 BB

Center Field
.275/.340/.449
98 R, 30 2B, 5 3B, 23 HR, 84 RBI, 21 SB, 58 BB

Right Field
.265/.328/.439
86 R, 38 2B, 1 3B, 23 HR, 97 RBI, 3 SB, 52 BB

Individual performers

Bobby Abreu
.246/.361/.344, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 28 R, 15.2 BB%
- Abreu was picked up off waivers in May and got off to a nice start as a Dodger. In his first 33 games, Abreu hit .326/.444/.461 while playing a lot of left field. His next 37 games, however, were forgettable: .178/.267/.222. His poor performance got him designated for assignment. After a brief minor-league stint, he was exclusively a pinch-hitter for the Dodgers in September. Considering what he is at this point in his career, Abreu gave the Dodgers more than people expected.
Grade: C-

Andre Ethier
.284/.351/.460, 20 HR, 89 RBI, 36 2B, 8.1 BB%
- Ethier's season was no surprise. He, as usual, was streaky and his overall numbers reflected that. He started his 2012 on a hot streak, as he hit .327/.384/.566 in his first 52 games. In his next 61 games, he hit .234/.315/.329. He finished the season strong at .304/.364/.522, including eight of his 20 home runs. A couple things to note: Ethier's walk and strikeout rates went in the wrong direction. His walk rate dropped nearly 2.5 percent and his strikeout rate increased nearly 1.5 percent. For a guy heading into his age-31 season, that isn't a good sign. However, his performance earned him a contract extension, which I liked at the time. But unless he figures out left-handed pitching (.222/.276/.330), he's going to be the most expensive platoon man this side of Alex Rodriguez.
Grade: B-

Tony Gwynn
.232/.276/.293, 4 3B, 17 RBI, 13 SB, 5.8 BB%
- Gwynn was signed to a 2-year deal in the winter, and I was a big fan of it. Gwynn also earned praise early in the season for his pinch-hitting. However, after he was asked to step in full-time for Kemp, his offensive ineptitude was exposed. From May 29 through Aug. 5 (his last game in the majors in 2012), he hit just .188/.235/.243. No matter how good his glove is in center field (and it is that good), a triple slash like that won't cut it. He was relegated to Albuquerque for the rest of the season. He's signed for 2013 at $1.15 million, so it'll be interesting to see what the Dodgers do with him.
Grade: D

Elian Herrera
.251/.340/.332, 10 2B, 17 RBI, 26 R, 10.8 BB%
- The man who seemed to come out of nowhere, Herrera, like a lot of other Dodgers, got off to a fast start. He made his Major League debut on May 15. Through June 12, he was hitting .300/.400/.378 while playing primarily second and third base for the team. Again, like a lot of other Dodgers, he struggled after his hot streak: .206/.280/.289. He'll be in the mix for the utility player spot for the team in 2013.
Grade: C-

Matt Kemp
.303/.367.538, 23 HR, 69 RBI, 22 2B, 8.9 BB%
- Kemp, coming off an MVP-caliber season in 2011, struggled with injury. The sad thing is, he got off to an incredible start. Before suffering his first hamstring injury in May, he was hitting .359/.446/.726. Kemp tried to come back too soon, aggravated the same injury and was out for a month. He came back and hit well before he cooled off a bit.  After running into the center field wall in Colorado, he struggled mightily. Kemp had a 20-game stretch where he was downright atrocious (.159/.216/.256). He finished the season strong, though (.367/.406/.867). He had shoulder surgery earlier this month and should be back for Spring Training. Let's just hope the injury doesn't sap his power.
Grade: B

Juan Rivera
.244/.286/.375, 9 HR, 47 RBI, 14 2B, 5.3 BB%
- Rivera was, as expected, pretty awful this season. In fact, he was worse this season for the Dodgers than he was in the 62 games he played for them in 2011. I mean, the man had a negative bWAR (-0.9) and fWAR (-0.8). He wasn't even replacement-level good, yet he played 109 games. That's usually a recipe for disaster. Rivera has a club option for 2013 which, if the Dodgers are smart, they'll decline it
Grade: D- (and that's being generous)

Shane Victorino
.245/.316/.351, 2 HR, 15 RBI, 15 SB, 7.7 BB%
- An ill-advised trade deadline acquisition, Victorino was pretty bad for the Dodgers -- especially since he cost the team Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin and, to a lesser extent, Stefan Jarrin. Victorino had a career-year in 2011, but came crashing back to earth in 2012. Thank goodness the Dodgers traded for Crawford, or it'd be almost a sure thing Victorino would be back in Blue in 2013.
Grade: D-

The rest

Alex Castellanos, Grade: INC
Jerry Sands, Grade: INC
Scott Van Slyke, Grade: INC

Next up: Infielders

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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