Do Los Angeles Dodgers Have The Best Outfield in Major League Baseball?
Los Angeles Dodgers Best MLB Outfield?
With a healthy Carl Crawford, the Los Angeles Dodgers have potentially the best outfield in Major League Baseball. They have Crawford in left, Andre Ethier in right, and Matt Kemp in center. The three combine for 399 home runs, 1,731 RBIs, 8 All-Star appearances, 4 Gold-Gloves, 4 Silver-Slugger Awards, and 20 years of Major League Baseball experience.
However, Crawford has to stay healthy. He missed most of 2012 with surgery on his wrist and throwing arm, and only played in 161 games in two disappointing seasons with the Boston Red Sox. Crawford had some soreness in his wrist and missed most of the spring, but he has started this season well. His .438 BA is second on the team through five games.
Ethier plays a steady right field for the Dodgers. His career .290/.362/.476 triple-slash over the past seven years have proven his ability. Manager Don Mattingly sat Ethier occasionally against left-handed pitchers last year, and this has offered much speculation of platooning him. But, Ethier has started 2013 sixth on the team in BA with .278, and he has one home run and 2 RBIs so far.
Kemp is believed to be the best center fielder in the game today. With only one error in 2012 and a fielding percentage of .995, he is the anchor in the outfield, and has been an All-Star the past two seasons. He has started slow in 2013 — his .056 BA is alarming, and he only has one hit — but it is just a matter of time before Kemp is back on track.
New 2013 arrival, Skip Schumaker, gives the Dodgers another good defender who can play any outfield position as well as second base. He was the everyday second baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, but also had part-time duties in the outfield. He has played every outfield position, and will be a good back up in L.A. Schumaker also brings post-season experience, having played with the Cardinals in the NLDS.
The much-traveled and experienced Jerry Hairston Jr. gives the Dodgers a multi-faceted player. Hairston is listed as a left fielder, first baseman, and third baseman on the depth chart. He has played every position in Major League Baseball except pitcher and catcher. Hairston’s 16 years of experience and solid glove offers a dependable utility backup to Crawford.
Although he’s not on the 25-man roster, Yasiel Puig is on the 40-man, and could be called up at any time. He is now playing with the double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, but Puig made a lot of noise this spring. He played in nine games for the Dodgers; posting a .400/.500/1.000 triple-slash with four home runs and eleven RBIs — everyone is excited about this potential superstar.
Carl Crawford Left Field
Carl Crawford was a four-time All-Star for the Tampa Bay Rays. People forget that in those four seasons, he averaged a .305 BA. Crawford also has 432 SB, and hit 114 triples along with his 118 home runs. His disappointment in Boston was why the Red Sox shipped him and his hefty contract to the Dodgers last year, but if he can stay healthy and return to his solid years in Tampa, the Dodgers will be happy to pay him.
Andre Ethier Right Field
Andre Ethier has struggled against left-handers, but his production for the Dodgers should not be overlooked. He was an All-Star in 2010, and 2011, and averaged a .292/.366/.457 triple-slash over those seasons. If Ethier can bounce back to that type of production, he will be an All-Star again.
Matt Kemp Center Field
Matt Kemp has had a slow start this season at the plate, but the fans believe it is only a matter of time before he is back to form. He is a fan favorite and possesses a great glove. With all the pieces in place around him, Kemp will have another MVP-worthy year.
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Jerry Hairston Jr. is listed first on the depth chart in left field behind Carl Crawford. He has already played in three of the four games this season. While playing with the Cincinnati Reds in 2008, Hairston played in 80 games, and batted an astonishing .326/.384/.487. Hairston played every position except pitcher, catcher and first base.
Skip Schumaker was signed in the offseason after spending his first eight years with the St. Louis Cardinals. Schumaker brings to the Dodgers a decent bat, and can give LA stability no matter where he plays. That’s good news if Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, or Matt Kemp needs some rest this year.
Yasiel Puig is this season’s wild card, and has caught everyone’s eye this spring. He played for the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes last year, and he crushed the ball, posting a .354/.442/.634 triple-slash. This year, fans and pundits wanted to see Puig stay with the Dodgers in L.A., but he has started the season with the Chattanooga Lookouts in Double-A ball. But if he has another year like last year, it is only a matter of time before we see him in the big leagues.