(All stats are from MLB.com and for the regular season only in the Majors)
Let’s start with the catchers. As a whole the 4 that played had an all round shocker, one bit off a teammate’s ear and the other 3 averaged under .200, this is only offense though and has Clayton Kershaw has said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do if [AJ Ellis is] not back … I think we’d be losing a lot if we let him go.”
AJ Ellis .191/.323/.254: Oh AJ, what a year it has been, he’s been on the DL more than once, but only once via an own team mate after jumping on fellow catcher Drew Butera’s mask in Josh Beckett’s no hitter celebration and rolling his ankle. But the hitting just wasn’t there; with 3 homeruns and 23 RBIs it just wasn’t what the Dodgers were looking for down the bottom of the order. But guess who leads the postseason with a .538 average? That’s right, the guy who hit .191 in the season.
His defense and the way he handled the staff was top class though. As the veteran of the team and the one who had the most confidence in Mattingly’s mind all of the pitchers would have to had wanted AJ behind the plate on their day to pitch. He appeared in 93 games, a little down on what he would have liked but in those games the team won 59. With a 59-34 record he is a guy you want to be calling your shutouts. 6.5/10
Drew Butera .188/.267/.288: As the back up catcher on and off for the Dodgers, swapping with Tim Federowicz down in ex AAA Albuquerque, he provided some crucial gamest hat he caught, including Josh Beckett’s no hitter, the first of two for the year. He still only hit 3 homeruns and again occupied the 8-hole in the lineup but was a solid backup catcher. In comparison with FedEx he would just have the upper hand this year, getting on base quite a bit more and again having a very solid knowledge of the staff and how to call pitches. 6/10
Tim Federowicz .113/.158/.197: The FedEx only played in 23 games for the Dodgers and, as a surprise spent most of his time down in the AAA team as their catcher. The decision was this was basic, even though he was a solid backup catcher last year he never had the credentials to last in the big league. However he definitely knows what to do and has done it when called on or the Dodgers, even at one point he was the backup to Butera. It is obvious thought that the hitting let him down and to such a point that 7 pitchers who got a hit this year have a better average than him, including last year’s silver slugger Zack Greinke.
Defense from Tim, well, it wasn’t great giving up just under half of all base runners that went on him and committing 4 errors, not that any one in the Dodgers team is scotch free with errors. And I don’t want to say he isn’t fast but he has scored half the runs Miguel Olivo did in double the games. 4/10
Miguel Olivo .217/.240/.304: This guy was going to be a star (in relevance to the Dodgers’ catchers stats), he put up the highest numbers of any catcher that played for the Dodgers in 2014 but only in 8 games. There is definitely a reason he didn’t play more too, just ask Alex Guerrero how his ear is going. That’s right, Miguel Olivo, during a minor scuffle in the minor leagues bit a teammate’s ear. This does sort of explain why he didn’t get more game time this year, I wouldn’t want to be siting next to that guy with your ears exposed in the dugout.
Yeah he was all right as a hitter and had some speed too, what a man he would have been to have in the lineup but it clearly wasn’t to be for the Dodgers this year. 3/10
Secondly, the first basemen, well really only one of them and one backup who stayed on the roster for just 9 games and got 9 at bats.
Adrian Gonzalez .276/.335/.482: This man was on fire this year, he led the team to quite a few wins, driving in 156 runs, leading the MLB in that vital category. Also smacking 27 balls over the wall, leading the Dodgers this year, is a big boost to any team. The man has a good knowledge of the strike zone too, drawing 56 walks and with a .335 on base percentage, I would pick him in my lineup everyday too.
He still has a contract through 2018 worth $154,000,000 and the Dodgers will need every bit of it as good as he was this year, he’s one of he oldest and most mature players in the clubhouse and needs to hang around for the team’s sake.
Adrian would also be one of the only players in the lineup too who is reliable on his defensive abilities, with a .996% average on the run saving side of the board. He isn’t afraid to throw his body on the line or pull out a split like lunge to save an error to his own teammates. He is class. 9/10
Clint Robinson .333/.400/.333: The first of players with not much to say. He was a late game replacement for Adrian Gonzalez during late June and early July. Clint only got 9 at bats for the whole year and with only 3 hits and he’s never really made it as a major leaguer, he’s been in the bigs for two years now, neither completed though as Kansas City also only played him a couple times but he got his money’s worth in AAA this year once again hitting a very respectable .312. 5/10
The second basemen, and what an eventful year they had on the left side of the diamond. One of them was an all star and we had a promised all star who didn’t even play. Both of them combined made up one of the only positions that LA could rely on to not make errors and put up solid numbers. 5.5/10
Alex Guerrero .077/.077/.077: The only thing to really say about Alex this year is what a disappointment, he should have been the Dodgers key second baseman for this year but an injury put him on the DL and then after the resurgence of Dee Gordon he was stuck down in the minors for the remainder of the year. His debut came in Australia and with only one hit in 13 at bats in 11 games when the rosters expanded again in September, he clearly didn’t start off his career as the hype expected. 4/10
Dee Gordon .289/.326/.376: What more can you say about Dee? He came into this year with no one really thinking he would improve much on his career of going back and forth between the minors and short stints in the big leagues. But didn’t he prove it all wrong.
Dee lead the majors in stolen bases with his speed becoming a major asset to the team at the top of the lineup and also led the MLB with 12 triples for the year. The only time Dee didn’t use his speed to his advantage is when he would lead off with fly balls, not that he meant to with a 1.84 average of ground ball outs to fly balls. Leading the lead in infield bunt hits and hits isn’t bad either. The man could score a run without the ball leaving the infield, including 2 stolen bases and a groundout RBI.
The defense for Gordon was also so outstanding. As one of the only true reliable players in the lineup who wouldn’t give away a silly mistake, it really gave all the pitchers some sense of confidence. Even Vin Scully called a play on Dee where he wiped his hand on his pants before making the throw to prevent the mistake after a slide. Vin said, “That is a veteran play, not many people would have the instincts to do that.”
To top off Dee’s amazing year he was named an All Star for the first time and he even scored a run in his one at bat. Dee definitely went way beyond expectations for this year and should be the starting second baseman for quite a few years still. 9/10
Darwin Barney .303/.467/.424: After coming over from the Cubs after losing his job as the starting second baseman for Chicago and also winning the 2012 gold glove, the Dodgers gave away Jonathan Martinez and money for the new player.
He got off to a hot start too with the Dodgers and played well in backup for any of the 3 infielders who needed a day off and when any of them went on the DL. 33 at bats in 22 games lead the second baseman to 10 hits with 7 RBIs and a homerun. Maybe he found a new home with LA as he was hitting .230 with Chicago and then .303 with the boys in blue.
His defense wasn’t gold glove standard but he still did play well and was reliable, more so than say a Hanley Ramirez, but still had some floors. He is on the decline but still a player who would be valuable on the bench for Los Angeles. 6.5/10
As far as the hot corner goes, we were treated to a fielding and hitting master class at third base. One of them is just a beast who is generally very reliable and can do anything down the order and then when needed the backup came in and hit away with RBI after RBI.
Juan Uribe .311/.337/.440: The thing about Juan is that whenever he came to the plate and you expected something from him, he would do it without fail. The man could literally do anything (except steal bases.) 0.000% isn’t great Juan… (0 out of 1 attempt to steal.)
Uribe literally had everything the team needed too, he could hit, he was an amazing fieldsman and was a great team player who guided the younger kids up through the ranks. With a nice 9 homeruns and 54 RBIs the guy got the Dodgers home on a number of occasions. Usually batting 6th or 7th however but it didn’t matter as whenever someone was on before him he seemed to drive him in and if he didn’t get a hit well then he would pull out some amazing play in the next half inning.
The defense was outstanding; in 103 games he only made 6 errors and had one of the best fielding percentages in the team. In fact last year he won the defensive player of the year and is well on track to back that up again this season. When Juan wasn’t playing however his backup, Justin Turner was just as impressive with bat and glove. 8/10
Justin Turner .340/.404/.493: What a year it was for ‘Poptart’, nicknamed that after it seemed most of his hits where little bloopers or “pops” over second base but this wasn’t the case, he could hit it anywhere. 21 doubles and 7 homeruns shows this that he had the power, the finesse and the speed to do anything, in fact he even stole 6 bases. He played 6 more games than Juan with 109 but still kept up that average as most of his AB’s came off the bench. When the duo played however, combined they won over 60 games out of their 100-odd.
Justin’s defensive side of the game was outstanding too, he could come in and replace any of the three infielders that needed to be, especially Hanley Ramirez on more than one occasion. He too only conceded minimal errors with 5 and is one of the players to rival Juan in defense on the club. If you had a team full of Justins you would win 120 games easy. 8/10
Chone Figgins .217/.363/.267: Since the season ended Chone has been realised and I think it was the right choice for LA, no offense intended to Chone though. He just didn’t fit; he swapped between the majors and Albuquerque and only hit small numbers in both for his standard and with being a third baseman he wasn’t in much luck on the Dodgers roster with 2 stellar defenders ahead of him. At least with say a Rojas he can replace the defensively shot Hanley Ramirez but there wasn’t anything for Chone to do.
He did hit all right and got a few walks but it wasn’t enough to do anything in Donnie’s mind or any of the fans’. Maybe next year Figgins can land on another team’s roster for the everyday third basemen spot. 6/10
Jamie Romak .048/.130/.095: Numbers don’t lie and in this case they’re right. Still signed with the Dodgers however and he is a solid AAA player but never good enough for the big leagues. He has his chance and Donnie gave him the run but he didn’t make anything of it and probably won’t come back for a year or two, if it is with the Dodgers at all. 4/10
At the shortstop position, the future of three players with the Dodgers depends on one thing; will Hanley stay?
Hanley Ramirez .283/.369/.448: All of the talk around every person who has seen anything to do with LA is just will the Dodgers’ new management give Hanley a new contract and will he stay. You would think that an ex all star with his numbers would get a 100 million dollar contract easily but Ramirez has been made to work for it.
The problems with Hanley are just that he can’t really field very well and would be a very good DH in the American League and also the thing that would hurt every team is that he just gets injured far too much. This year was better though, playing 128 games means his injuries went down a tad but his defense was just as bad and he cost the team a game or two in extras when he stuffed it up. 14 errors is far too many for any player in not too many games.
The hitting for Hanley has also been a little down and as he gets older you would expect that but still it is there and batting 3 or 4 is testament to that for LA, he knew what needed to happen and only on occasion it would seem he went for a smack when only a sac fly was needed. 13 homeruns and 71 RBIs is not a very good year in the power category for Ramirez but he can improve on that of course if he stays healthy.
As for where he ends up however that is another blog post for another time. 7.5/10
Erisbel Arruebarrena .195/.244/.220: This relative no name came out of nowhere for LA, worked his way through 4 minor league teams and ended up playing 22 games in the big leagues before the year was out. What a rookie year or Erisbel, he came in to relive Hanley on occasion and pinch hit a few games too. Yet to hit a homerun though and only got 4 RBI’s he should find himself back on the list and keep his spot.
He could use his glove too as he saved Hanley, along with Miguel Rojas in defense when the Dodgers were ahead in the late innings, one of the best thing Don did this year as manager. 6/10
Miguel Rojas .181/.242/.221: Miguel didn’t really ever get his job in the big leagues until this year and even then had to wait for Donnie to realize Ramirez was a little bit of a defensive liability so he got his job to come in at the end of games when the Dodgers were up by 1 or 2. He did get the odd game in replacement for either Hanley or Juan Uribe and did quite well with the glove but just never really converted that to the bat. With only 9 RBI’s and 1 homerun you have to think that he couldn’t be Hanley’s replacement should he decide not to sign on. 6.5/10
Carlos Triunfel .133/.188/.333: Playing in the mid season, around June and July as back up for some of the middle infielders is all Carlos got this year for LA, only playing for 12 games but still not hitting anything. He was definitely not the best defensive for offensive choice for shortstop, second base or third base which is the reason that he probably spent the most of the season down in AAA. I can’t see him coming up next year either as the management have a plethora of players to pick from in the infield.
Moving to the back end of the ground now and didn’t the Dodgers have a problem selecting which three outfielders would play on any given day, the logic the management used must have changed 4 or 5 times during the year and this even involved moving players around and changing positions. 3/10
Carl Crawford .300/.339/.429: As one of the five outfielders that the management had to pick from the make a team of 3 Carl held his job for 105 of the games and was a very valuable asset to the lineup. No one would have been a very bad choice and Crawford didn’t let anyone down. With the bat he did it all, 46 RBI’s 8 homeruns and 23 stolen bases all went a long way to consolidating his spot.
The defense on Carl was also very good, he doesn’t have the best arm, but he knows how to position himself and has some of the best baseball smarts for an outfielder that allows him to be sensible unlike others in the team… (Yasiel Puig). He was a very solid player who should definitely see himself getting over 120 games next year if everything goes right with his body. 7.5/10
Scott Van Slyke .297/.386/.524: It’s a wonder that this man only got 98 games, on any other team’s roster he would be putting up 140-150 games a year but with LA he just can’t do that because the outfield is just too good. What Scott did do though was have a solid impact whenever he came in and just shut up and out up with the fact the team had 5 outfielders. Every game he played he would be one of the best and often get guys across with 29 RBI’s and 11 homeruns allowing the team to ride on his back on more than one occasion.
The defense wasn’t Van Slyke’s problem either, he knew what he had to do and he is one of the better defenders in the lineup too. The only reason there really is for Scott was just the rest of the team was that tiny bit better than him and are getting paid more. Look out for SVS to get many more games next year and up that average to around .320ish. 7.5/10
Yasiel Puig .296/.382/.480: In his sophomore year, Puig showed no signs of showing down from his monster rookie year for the Dodgers, there were definitely slumps and times when he wouldn’t be near the top of the order or just not hitting but he picked it up time and time again and took the team to new places. It is everyone’s favorite game to have a go at Puig as soon as he goes 0-4 in a game but he would always bounce back in a way only Puig could.
His batting and his arm did most of the talking this year for him and in his 148 games he got every opportunity to show off and he did. 16 homeruns and 68 RBI’s showed everyone what he can do and there is no doubt that once he settles down in the league and is around for a few more years he may even get up top that 100 RBI year or maybe 25-30 homers a year. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see?
His arm and defense seemed to go with the hitting for Puig, when he was hot with the bat he would throw men out from anywhere but when he was not he would be over running balls and having errors to his name in almost every game. It is all a matter of if he can stay up and positive he could be an MVP if Yasiel really wants it and will do what he needs to do. I know he is learning and growing up but the time has come for Yasiel to pull the team through to a World Series ring. 8/10
Matt Kemp .287/.346/.506: Matt was the man who never really fit in at the start of the year and had some of his thoughts above the team both on and off the field but come around the trade deadline and he was firing. Pre all-star break and Kemp was .269 but after the break he hit .309 and had some 25 homeruns and 89 RBIs on the year. As one of the players in the outfield dilemma he managed to find him in the lineup every day, something that Matt would have needed to perform.
The glove was average and same as his arm but there was never a time where he would have been benched for his defense like some other players on the team. 7 assists and 7 errors isn’t the best record but it works in the outfield with the other arms like Puig on your team too. 8/10
Andre Ethier .249/.322/.370: Andre definitely didn’t have his best year in 2014 at the plate and seemed to be put on the bench a little more than he would like but with 5 outfielders that is kind of what you have to do. Of the players the Dodgers had Andre probably would have been the best player to offload to another team as trade bait but his contract was a little too high for most team’s payrolls.
His bat never really followed and he didn’t make any superb plays when called on but he did contribute on the odd occasion. There is a high chance that a trade could come in the next year with him being traded but that is stretching what the front office will do with the favorite of seemingly every Dodger girl supporter. 6/10
Joc Pederson .142/.351/.142: Joc had himself the debut of the year, as the number one prospect in the organisation he was predicted to be the best thing to hit the outfield for LA since, well Puig. But that never happened, he came up a little early and most likely would have been ready next year but Mattingly wanted him now. He had all the records down in AAA so I don’t blame him but I don’t see what others did about him starting over Kemp, CC or even Scott Van Slyke. They’re the experienced ones and Joc is still learning but he will be a star come next year or the tear after. Down at Albuquerque Joc’s year was 9/10 but up in the bigs it would have to be 5.5/10
Mike Baxter .000/.125/.000: Well when you don’t get a hit all year (7 at bats) there isn’t much that can be said about you but hey at least he got 4 games with LA, not must more he could do. 2/10
Roger Bernadina .286/.444/.714: Same goes for Roger as Baxter, not much more this guy could do to get more games, he was on for injuries and didn’t get much of a shot but he did get 2 hits in 7 AB’s in the bigs and played 9 games. The guy has played in the Majors and that is a sold effort. 3/10