Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Infield and Catchers

The Dodgers should have a strong infield heading into 2013, and I'm basing that solely on the fact the Dodgers have two potentially elite offensive talents at shortstop and third base. This season, they acquired those guys later, so their impact wasn't felt as much.

The team also has found its starting catcher for the next couple of years (at least) and should be in the market to upgrade second- and third base this winter.

Dodgers' infield by the numbers

53 R, 22 2B, 2 3B, 15 HR, 60 RBI, 1 SB, 79 BB

First base
59 R, 35 2B, 1 3B, 14 HR, 79 RBI, 3 SB, 42 BB

Second base
9 HR, 54 RBI, 91 R

Third base
10 HR, 72 RBI, 38 2B

13 HR, 69 RBI, 35 SB

Individual performers

A.J. Ellis
.270/.373/.414, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 65 BB, 12.9 BB%
- Ellis finally got his chance made the most of it -- it's too bad it took until his age-31 season to get said chance. Ellis was one of the most consistent Dodger hitters throughout the season. He led the team in walks (shocking, I know) and supplied surprising pop from behind the plate (34 extra base hits). He has clearly established himself as the Dodgers' primary catcher.
Grade: B

Matt Treanor
.175/.281/.282, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 14 BB, 11.5 BB%
- I know the catcher position is defense-based, but is it really unrealistic to hope for a backup catcher to at least hit above the Mendoza line? Treanor is at the end of his run in the majors and didn't provide much in the way of production for the Dodgers this season. But at least he feels the way about T.J. Simers most of us do. That kept him from having a D- grade.
Grade: D

Luis Cruz
.297/.322/.431, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 20 2B, 3.0 BB%
- The man who seemingly came out of nowhere, Cruz provided a spark for the Dodgers this season. He wasn't great, but he was far better than anyone could have expected. By the end of the season, he was the Dodgers' starting third baseman. However, the team cannot have that plan going into 2013.
Grade: B+

Ivan De Jesus
.273/.324/.364, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 8.1 BB%
- De Jesus  was traded to Boston in August. He didn't do much otherwise, but we'll always have that pinch-hit double in Arizona.
Grade: C-

Mark Ellis
.258/.333/.364, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 62 R, 8.6 BB%
- I was higher on the Ellis signing than most, but Ellis actually underperformed his career numbers a bit. However, he played stellar defense and avoided a leg amputation after a collision at second base. When he went out with the injury, the Dodgers were forced to play guys who were not as good offensively or defensively as Ellis. He wasn't a big part of the offense, but he was a bigger part than his numbers indicated.
Grade: C

Adrian Gonzalez
.297/.344/.441, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 10 2B, 7.0 BB%
- The Dodgers made the big move to get Gonzalez, but it was more a move for the future than it was for 2012. Gonzalez, despite homering in his first Dodger at-bat, didn't hit particularly well for them. But he'll be penciled in as the cleanup hitter for the foreseeable future.
Grade: C+

Dee Gordon
.228/.280/.281, 9 2B, 17 RBI, 32 SB, 6.1 BB%
- Gordon has gone from potential 10-year shortstop to roster fodder in less than a year. That'll happen when you can't hit a lick, which is what happened with Gordon in 2012. He still managed to steal 32 bases with a well below-average .280 on-base percentage. The Dodgers seem set on having Ramirez at shortstop, so Gordon could be a trade candidate this winter.
Grade: D-

Jerry Hairston
.273/.342/.387, 4 HR, 26 RBI, 13 2B, 8.6 BB%
- Hairston made a name for himself with his stellar third base defense early in the season. However, he suffered an injury and wasn't the same player after his fast start. Still, he's a quality utility player and should be so in 2013 for the Dodgers.
Grade: B-

Adam Kennedy
.262/.345/.357, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 23 BB, 11.4 BB%
- The Dodgers won thier first nine games when Kennedy as the No. 5 hitter. The thought of Kennedy as a No. 5 hitter is laughable, but it's even funnier seeing the Dodgers reel off nine consecutive wins when doing so. The only other thing Kennedy did well was walk, as his walk rate indicates.
Grade: D+

James Loney
.254/.302/.344, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 18 2B, 6.4 BB%
 -Loney's disappointing Dodger tenure came to an end when the team sent him to Boston in the Gonzalez deal. He can play defense with the best of 'em at first, but he hits like a '60s middle infielder. His defense is the only thing that kept him from earning an F.
Grade: D-

Nick Punto
.286/.390/.314, 1 2B, 6 R, 1 SB, 13.9 BB%
- Shredder! And I'm not talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain. When the Dodgers acquired Punto in the deal, I forgot he was signed through the 2013 season, so he wasn't just a six-week rental -- unfortunately.
Grade: C-

Hanley Ramirez
.271/.324/.450, 10 HR, 44 RBI, 7 SB, 6.7 BB%
- Ramirez's acquisition was great and his start with the Dodgers was equally great. He hit .330/.392/.549 with 11 extra base hits in his first 23 games as a Dodger. However, he hit just .238/.282/.394 in his last 41 games with an ugly 46 strikeouts in 170 plate appearances. The Dodgers (and fans) are hoping he's more like the 23-game Hanley than the 41-game Hanley. Odds are he's somewhere in the middle.
Grade: C

Justin Sellers
.205/.286/.386, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 2B, 6 R, 10.0 BB%
- This season would have been prime for Sellers to do something. With both Ellis and Gordon getting injured, he would have had ample playing time. However, he also suffered an injury and was out for the rest of the season. He's not even a sure bet to be on the 40-man roster in a month or so.
Grade: D

Juan Uribe
.191/.258/.284, 2 HR, 17 RBI, 9 2B, 7.3 BB%
- There aren't many worse ways to spend $21 million.
Grade: F-minus-minus

The rest

Tim Federowicz, Grade: INC

Photo credits
Cruz and Uribe: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue
Gordon: SD Dirk, Flickr

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