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%)
Eric Karros (418 games, 2000-02)
Dodger stats: .253/.317/.418 .735 59 hr 242 rbi
Olmedo Saenz (381 games, 2004-07)
Dodger stats: .263/.334/.484 .818 38 hr 151 rbi
Nomar Garciaparra (298 games, 2006-08)
Dodger stats: .289/.345/.445 .790 35 hr 180 rbi
Hee-Seop Choi (164 games, 2004-05)
Dodger stats: .238/.328/.419 .747 15 hr 48 rbi
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?