Dodgers of the Decade: First Base

I have to say, I was surprised with the results of the catcher poll. Despite Paul LoDuca having put up the best overall season and slightly better overall stats, Russell Martin won the vote for best Dodger catcher of the 2000s by a score of 68% to 31%. I figured Martin would win, but not by that much. I suppose the steroid allegations carried more weight than I’d thought they would, or maybe Dodger fans just have short memories. Special thanks to Chad Kreuter’s wife and mom, who clearly must have been the two people behind his two votes.

Lets move on to first base. And what a motley crew this is; you’ve got a 1990s Dodger star in the twilight of his career, a star shortstop trying to make the position switch in his hometown, a top prospect still trying to take the next step, a portly pinch-hitting fan favorite, and possibly the most divisive Dodger (non-Pierre division) of the last ten years. Good luck choosing from among all that.

You may notice that there’s one eligible player missing here, and that’s Shawn Green. Yes, he did play more than 100 games at 1B as a Dodger, and that’s the threshold. But he only played first base regularly in his final season in Los Angeles, with the huge majority being played in right field, so that’s where we’re placing him. I was going to include defensive stats, but UZR doesn’t kick in until 2002, so I’m not sure how to account for the first two years. I’ve left it out for now.

Dodgers of the Decade team:
C: Russell Martin (68%)

First Base

James Loney (463 games, 2006-09)
Dodger stats: .295/.354/.451 .805 45 hr 265 rbi
WAR: 3.6

Eric Karros (418 games, 2000-02)
Dodger stats: .253/.317/.418 .735 59 hr 242 rbi
WAR: 0.6

Olmedo Saenz (381 games, 2004-07)
Dodger stats: .263/.334/.484 .818 38 hr 151 rbi
WAR: 1.7

Nomar Garciaparra (298 games, 2006-08)
Dodger stats: .289/.345/.445 .790 35 hr 180 rbi
WAR: 1.4

Hee-Seop Choi (164 games, 2004-05)
Dodger stats: .238/.328/.419 .747 15 hr 48 rbi
WAR: 0.6

Top three seasons
2.1 WAR Garciaparra, 2006
1.7 WAR Loney, 2009
1.5 WAR Loney, 2007

No one really stands out here to me. Karros was at the end of his career to start the decade, while Loney’s just at the beginning of his career and hasn’t fully realized his talent. While the best single season was probably Nomar’s 2006, it was also really the only season he was any good at all. Saenz was a bench player who was only nominally a first baseman, and I always felt that the biggest travesty of the Jim Tracy era was playing Jason Phillips at 1B down the stretch of the lost 2005 season rather than Choi mainly out of spite from the LoDuca deal. I assume Loney will win because he has the highest overall WAR and is the freshest in people’s minds, but how sad is it that two seasons which are subpar for a first baseman are probably going to be enough to make him the best first baseman of the entire decade?

Make your choice. Who’s your Dodger first baseman of the 00s?

[polldaddy poll=2437858]

Andre Ethier Is A Smooth Criminal

So, Andre Ethier likes to hit HR’s in bunches. 

Ethier3HR2009  .jpgGoing into tonight’s game, he had 11 HR’s, but with four of them multi HR games.  Tonight he had another one, only this time hitting 3 HR’s and driving in 6 RBI’s leading the Dodgers to victory 8-2 over the Seattle Mariners.  Ethier not only has hit 13 of his 14 HR’s at Dodger Stadium this year, but also became the first Dodger to hit 3 HR’s in a single game since the Choi Man did it in 2005, though remember, Choi hit 7 HR’s during that four day period.  Well, at least that was until… 

tracyschambers21gw2.jpgYes, I needed an excuse to revive this photo from four years ago.  Good times, folks. 

But back to the game: in addition to Ethier’s 3 HR game, which will surely grab the headlines, what can’t be forgotten was Clayton Kershaw’s stellar performance, going 6 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, with 8 K’s.  Kershaw has quietly turned it around after his poor April, where he put up a 7.29 ERA, to put up a 2.57 ERA in May and, going into tonight, a 2.18 ERA through June. 

Let’s pray some of this rubs off on Milton, tomorrow… 

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

There Is No Joy In Seoul…

For mighty Hee-Seop has struck out. 200711280007_00.jpg

Slugger Choi Hee-seop of the Kia Tigers has broken up with his fiancée just a month before their planned wedding, according to an interview with Choi in Tuesday’s issue of Sports Seoul.

The sports daily said that Choi, 28, met with fiancée Aya Yasuda, 30, at a hotel in Seoul and agreed to end their  engagement.

Choi met Yasuda after being traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. She was working as a TV reporter covering the Dodgers.

In March of last year while in Tokyo for the World Baseball Classic, Choi met Yasuda’s parents and got their approval to continue meeting her. They were engaged in Korea last December.

Yasuda is the daughter of Fuyou Group chairman, one of Japan’s 10 largest conglomerates. An accomplished woman with an MBA from the U.S., she now runs a cosmetics business in Japan.

I don’t mean to dump on a guy’s personal life, especially considering I was a big supporter of Choi, and never could understand Jim Tracy’s refusal to give him a shot when the 2005 season was going down the tubes (I still wake up in cold sweats thinking of Jason Phillips and Jason Grabowski playing first base)but… she’s cute, she’s rich, she’s smart, she’s cute, her parents are cool with it, she covered the Dodgers, and she’s cute?

Poor Hee-Seop. Those stats just keep heading south.

Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg