MSTI.com's 2007 In Review: Bench

Hey… hooray! The bench! An ode to those other guys who just haven’t been touched upon yet. Bring us your tired.. old veterans. Bring us your poor.. young rookies. Bring us your huddled masses.. who can’t get off the trainer’s table.  

It’s a real motley crew here. And when you see who we’re dealing with, you might actually wish this was a discussion of Bret Michaels and Rikki Rockett. But we soldier on towards our sadistic goal of mentioning everyone who played in 2007. And then on to the Hot Stove League? I’m sure nothing’s really going to happen with that, anyway.

(All stats for these dudes are in Dodger blue only. Remember, less than 100 AB earns you an imcomplete.)

Olmedo Saenz (D-)
(.191/.295/.345 4hr 18rbi)

Hey, this is an easy one. We already went over the last death throes of Big Sexy in LA. But so much has changed since then! Oh wait, no, he was still terrible this year. We’ll miss ya, Sexy.

Ramon Martinez (D… ish?)
(.194/.248/.225 0hr 27rbi)ph_134002.jpg

Ah, the Wrong Ramon Martinez. How you did suck. I mean, look at those stats. Unreal. And even after a surprisingly decent 2006. With a 0.0% chance he’ll be back in 2008, let’s focus on what is really the only interesting thing that Martinez was able to accomplish this year: 25 hits, 27 RBI. How is that even possible?

Mark Sweeney (inc.) 
(.273/.294/.303 0hr 3rbi)ph_123040.jpg

Sweeney only had 33 at-bats for the Dodgers (totally worth giving up Travis Denker for, by the way). So it’s sort of hard to say anything meaningful about him. What’s 33 at-bats anyway? Not a long enough time to do anything worthwhile, that’s for sure. No, I put some thought into it, and absolutely nothing happened involving Mark Sweeney that had anything to do with the 2007 Dodgers season.

(three outs in an inning, jackass!!!)

Wilson Valdez (inc.)
(.216/.263/.270 0hr 7rbi)

Ah, yes. Mr. Valdez. If you’ve ever wondered how to make a baseball team, a good formula would be to have a incredibly hot spring training (.356/.373/.548 with 3hr) wildly out of line with your career norms, and have an out of control teammate (more on Mr. Repko later) take out the ph_407832.jpgstarter at your position before Opening Day. Actually, I’ve got to hand it to Valdez. In his short time in the bigs, he played 5 positions without committing an error, and was actually pretty flashy at SS and 2B. Sure, he couldn’t hit a lick. But he was an able defensive fill-in. That said, I like to think that Tony Abreu and/or Chin-Lung Hu has stolen that position for 2008, and that Valdez enjoys his time in Las Vegas, never to return except in case of massive food poisoning attacks in LA.

Chin-Lung Hu (inc.)
(.241/.241/.517 2hr 5rbi)

Huuuu….. are you?ph_464341.jpg
Hu hu? Hu Hu?

Okay, cheesy, but expect to hear plenty of it. And some really, really bad puns from Vin (the real one) about “Hu’s on first”.

Chin-Lung Hu coming into 2007: reputation as one of the best defensive SS in the minors, mediocre-at-best hitter. That’s what a .254/.328/.338 line (ugh) in double-A in 2006 will do for you. Being a great fielder is nice, but if you can’t hit, well that just makes you.. Wilson Valdez. And even Wilson Valdez doesn’t want to be Wilson Valdez.

Chin-Lung Hu coming into 2008: Well, now!! Let’s see. Hu kills the ball in big league spring training (.381/.409/.429!). Hu goes back to AA Jacksonville and not only improves his hitting (.329/.380/.508) but actually leads the entire league in hits and doubles at the time of his promotion. Hu moves on up to AAA Las Vegas and not only keeps on hitting (.318/.337/.505 with 8hr in only 45 games), but gets himself elected MVP of the Futures Game at All-Star Weekend, thanks to his 2-2, 2rbi, 1sb showing. Finally, he gets a late-season chance to play in the bigs, and slugs .517 with 2hr in a short 29 at-bat cup of coffee.

So what happened? Vitamin S? Deal with the devil?

He hit over .300 in his first three minor league seasons before slumping to .254 at Jacksonville last year, when a “tired eye” obscured his vision at the plate.

“I see the ball better now and I’m more comfortable because last year I couldn’t see,” Hu said. “Last year my eye was not healthy, but this year it’s working so it’s better.”

51s hitting coach Mike Easler was Jacksonville’s batting instructor last year and confirmed that the eye problem hampered Hu, who underwent an MRI exam after the season, rested and recovered.

Oh. You mean it’s a lot easier to hit when you can see the ball? No kidding!

So now in the space of one season, Hu has gone from “great glove/might not hit enough to stick” to “great glove/may be one of the better hitting SS around”. So much so that I wouldn’t mind seeing Furcal get dealt for something good and letting Hu get a crack at SS. Not a bad year at all.

Delwyn Young (inc.)
(.382/.417/.647 2hr 3rbi)

Explain something to me. You have a team that’s pretty good, but is flawed in one major area: power. You could use some power. Now, you’ve got a young player in the minors who’s done nothing but hit. Double-digit home runs in every season, and improving every year. Yet ph_434704.jpgsomehow he keeps getting stuck in AAA. So he goes back to Vegas for the 3rd time last year and has his best season yet – including a PCL record for doubles (54) and an awesome stat-line of .337/.384/.571 (dig that .955 OPS!). He gets a shot in the bigs and continues to hit in his small opportunity: 1.064 OPS and 2hr in only 32 at-bats. He even goes 4-4 in his second start. He’s a mediocre fielder, sure, but there’s no question he can hit, and he’s even a local boy.

So tell me: why is Delwyn Young never mentioned when it comes to the Dodgers young players? Why does it seem he’s never even considered for a decent shot with the big club? Why does Juan Pierre get $44 million while Delwyn Young – obviously a much superior hitter – can’t even get a chance?

No sir, I don’t get it.

Brady Clark (inc.)
(.224/.308/.293 0hr 5rbi)bradyclark.jpg

Remember Brady Clark? He was about to get cut by Milwaukee in spring training, just like we were about to cut Elmer Dessens. They had one too many outfielders, LA had one too many pitchers. Plus, Jason Repko had just hurt himself – again – so we actually needed a backup OF. Sounds peachy, right? So Clark rots on the bench, does little but play decent defense and.. ah, hell. Kemp and Ethier were better, and Gonzo and Pierre weren’t going anywhere. Brady got cut, went to San Diego, we barely remember him, who cares.

Marlon Anderson (inc.)
(.231/.310/.231 ohr 2rbi)

Let’s not even bother talking about Marlon Anderson’s 2007 – he didn’t do anyhl7iio3h.jpgthing in LA, and frankly I remember him more this year for the Mets’ laughable attempts to play him in center field while Beltran was hurt. I can remember at least three diving attempts in which he didn’t come close to catching the ball, but did almost rip his own arm off. So let’s just pour one out on the curb in one last rememberance of Marlon’s ridiculous, insane 1.243 OPS in Sept ’06, including being part of the back-to-back-to-back-to-back HR game. Thank you, Marlon – thank you. Now let us never speak of you again.

Jason Repko (inc.)
Oh, right. That guy. The guy who missed the whole season. repkohurt.jpgBecause he got hurt. Again. Except this time, he didn’t just fuck up his own ankle/hamstring/knee/ finger/back/kidney/duodenum. This time, he had to go take out All-Star SS Rafael Furcal. And since Furcal is a warrior, he played the whole season on a bum ankle, and was generally ineffective the entire season. So with a 1-2 of injured Furcal and crappy Pierre, the entire Dodgers offensive season was torpedoed. Thanks Jason! No really, thanks for showing up. I like the guy, but I hope he’s not back next season for fear he runs over Russell Martin with a golf cart or actually slams a car door on Takashi Saito’s fingers. 

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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