Friday, November 15, 2013

2013 Los Angeles Dodgers season review: Infielders and Catchers

The Dodgers' infield in 2013 started off slowly, but picked up once players got healthy. The team has two players who are going nowhere anytime soon (first base and shortstop), another who's going to be an older rookie (second base) and a huge question mark (third base) for the future.

The infield had a few surprises, but also some disappointments.

Dodgers infielders by the numbers

656 PA, 61 R, 137 H, 26 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 73 RBI, 1 SB, 59 BB, 135 K

First base
703 PA, 75 R, 181 H, 32 2B, 1 3B, 23 HR, 104 RBI, 1 SB, 53 BB, 109 K

Second base
708 PA, 70 R, 177 H, 24 2B, 2 3B, 6 HR, 64 RBI, 6 SB, 44 BB, 105 K

Third base
665 PA, 66 R, 149 H, 29 2B, 2 3B, 13 HR, 64 RBI, 5 SB, 49 BB, 111 K

676 PA, 90 R, 165 H, 33 2B, 3 3B, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 19 SB, 53 BB, 121 K

Individual performers (all Wins Above Replacement numbers taken from FanGraphs)

A.J. Ellis
.238/.318/.364, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 17 2B, 10.0 BB%, 2.2 WAR
- Ellis didn't fare nearly as well in 2013 as he did in his breakout 2012 season. He got off to a hot start before going cold for a good portion of the season. He was good behind the plate as he threw out 44 percent of attempted base stealers. Despite poor offensive numbers, he was still a 2-win player.
Grade: C

Tim Federowicz
.231/.275/.356, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 12 R, 5.8 BB%, 0.0 WAR
- Federowicz proved himself to be a capable defensive backup catcher (29 percent caught stealing), but he did about what was expected from him with the bat. He has a little pop (.125 ISO), but he'll likely never hit enough to be a full-time player.
Grade: D+

Ramon Hernandez
.208/.291/.438, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 6 BB, 10.9 BB%, 0.4 WAR
- Remember when he was a thing? His Dodger tenure was short-lived and pretty unremarkable, despite being worth nearly half-a-win (thanks to those three home runs in 55 plate appearances).
Grade: D+

Adrian Gonzalez
.293/.342/.461, 22 HR, 100 RBI, 32 2B, 7.3 BB%, 2.8 WAR
- Gonzalez was one of the most consistent, if not unspectacular, hitters the Dodgers had this season. He posted better numbers than former first baseman James Loney and should be entrenched as the team's cleanup hitter for 2014.
Grade: B

Mark Ellis
.270/.323/.351, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 10 HBP, 5.4 BB%, 1.8 WAR
- Ellis spent most of his time hitting second in the lineup, because that's what second basemen do. He wasn't great, but he was nearly a 2-win player with minimal extra-base hit power. He was nails defensively, as usual.
Grade: C-

Hanley Ramirez
.345/.402/.638, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 25 2B, 8.0 BB%, 5.1 WAR
- Ramirez was one of the game's best hitters, but he just couldn't stay healthy. It started in the World Baseball Classic, then in 'Frisco, then late in the regular season and finally when Joe Kelly plunked him in Game 1 of the NLCS. Despite all that, he was the Dodgers' best hitter and was surprisingly adequate defensively at shortstop. It'd be nice to see him produce like this while playing 125-130 games. He had 47 extra base hits in 336 plate appearances.
Grade: A

Juan Uribe
.278/.331/.438, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 22 2B, 7.0 BB%, 5.1 WAR
- Uribe was pariah coming into the season and was displaced as the team's starting third baseman by popup king Luis Cruz. But Uribe was great with the glove this season and hit surprisingly well -- well enough that I'd like to see him return. He tied for the team lead in WAR with Ramirez, which is still somewhat unbelievable. Oh, and the whole "Uribear" thing is just fantastic.
Grade: A-

Nick Punto
.255/.328/.327, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 15 2B, 9.9 BB%, 1.9 WAR
- Punto was surprisingly good for the Dodgers this season -- so good that the A's already signed him to a contract for 2014. He was a solid backup shortstop in spurts and played a capable third base. Couldn't really ask for much more from a utility guy.
Grade: B

Luis Cruz
.127/.175/.169, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 12 R, 3.9 BB%, -0.4 WAR
- Cruz was given a chance to be the team's third baseman and, as predicted by most sane folks, failed miserably. He didn't walk, he didn't hit much of anything and certainly didn't hit with pop. At least he was good defensively.
Grade: F

Dee Gordon
.234/.314/.298, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 10 SB, 9.4 BB%, 0.0 WAR
- Gordon wasn't good in limited playing time. He's fast, but is terrible defensively at shortstop. He's playing the outfield in winter ball. He could be an 2B/SS/CF utility man next season, which would minimally increase his value.
Grade: D

Jerry Hairston
.211/.265/.275, 2 HR, 22 RBI, 7 2B, 6.2 BB%, -1.3 WAR
- Hairston was, by WAR, the worst Dodger player this season. He dealt with injuries and might be at the end of his career.
Grade: F

Justin Sellers
.188/.263/.246, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R, 6.5 BB%, -0.1 WAR
- Sellers played a lot of shortstop early on when Ramirez was hurt, but he spent the vast majority of his season in Triple-A.
Grade: F

Michael Young
.314/.321/.392, 1 3B, 4 RBI, 2 2B, 1.9 BB%, -0.2 WAR
- Young had 16 hits with the Dodgers -- 13 of which were singles. He had negative defensive value and had one of the worst playoff games of all-time -- in two plate appearances.
Grade: F

The rest
Drew Butera, Grade: INC

Photo credits
Ramirez: Keith Allison, Flickr
Others: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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