Ranking the Los Angeles Dodgers’ position players
Ranking the Dodgers position players 1-10
It has been a frustrating season for the Los Angeles Dodgers offense. Their first month and a half of the season wouldn’t make a great roller coaster. There are too many lows and not enough highs. Most of the lineup is hitting below .250, and the lack of power continues to be a problem up and down the lineup. But, there have been some bright spots. Former Boston Red Sox stars Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto are starting to look comfortable in Dodger Blue. However, the majority of the Dodgers position players are struggling at the plate, especially with runners in scoring position.
It is safe to say ranking the Dodgers’ position players is easier by starting with who has been the worse than who has been the best. Outfielder Matt Kemp is starting to hit, but he is still way behind his season averages. His partner in the outfield Andre Ethier continues to struggle, and Luis Cruz has looked more like a blind man swatting a bug than a professional hitter this season. Justin Sellers and Skip Schumaker have been no-shows all season and it hasn’t helped anyone that Mark Ellis and Hanley Ramirez have been hurt.
So, which Dodger has performed the best this season? Who has performed the worst? We observed the first month of the season and ranked the Top 10 Dodgers — or in this case, we ranked the top few Dodgers and the best of the rest. We took the 10 position players with the most at-bats and ranked them from one to 10. No one should be surprised by who finished number 10.
10) Luis Cruz
Luis Cruz was the feel-good story in 2012, but the glass slipper doesn't fit anymore for the struggling third baseman. He has been downright awful in 2013 with just six hits in 68 at-bats. He also hasn't drawn a walk since Opening Day and has just one hit with runners in scoring position. Don't expect Cruz to be around much longer. Once Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston return from the DL, I expect the Dodgers to send Cruz packing.
9) Justin Sellers
Justin Sellers was a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster. He was added because Hanley Ramirez got hurt in the World Baseball Classic. He wasn't added because of his bat as Don Mattingly made it clear they chose him because of his defense. But after a month in the bigs, Sellers didn't impress much. He committed three errors and never was a threat at the plate. He is now back in the minors, and I don't expect to see him in a big-league uniform for the rest of the season.
8) Skip Schumaker
Thanks to injuries in the outfield and the infield, the versatile Skip Schumaker has seen a lot more playing time than expected. He has played in 31 games and has been impressive on defense, filling in for Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez and Mark Ellis, who have dealt with injuries. He isn't supposed to be an everyday player, and even though he sports a .190 average, I expect Schumaker to stick around for the long haul.
7) Andre Ethier
Andre Ethier continues to struggle this season, especially with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers veteran is hitting just .194 with runners in scoring position this season and his power seems to be getting weaker by the game.
6) Matt Kemp
Matt Kemp is showing signs of rebirth in May by hitting .317 to start the month, but the superstar is way below his expectations. He hasn't been the same since 2012 injuries to his hamstring and shoulder, but he claims he is okay. It is safe to say he has been a big disappointment thus far.
5) Mark Ellis
Mark Ellis was one of the few Dodgers who hit the ball well in April. Then, he got hurt. The second baseman is expected to return to the lineup this week fully healed from his quad injury. Before he was sidelined, he was hitting .342 and had not committed an error in the field. The Dodgers need him back in the lineup.
4) A.J. Ellis
A.J. Ellis continues to be a consistent backstop and a pesky hitter for the Dodgers. He makes few mistakes and is one of the most patient hitters in the game. He leads the team with a .400 on-base percentage and has thrown out more base runners (10) than any other catcher in the majors this season.
3) Nick Punto
Nick Punto has been the biggest surprise this season for the Dodgers. His work ethic and blue-collar attitude has been a nice sight for Dodgers fans this season. He has 23 hits in 28 games and has done a great job of scoring runs when he gets on base. He could end up being the everyday third baseman if he continues to hit.
2) Carl Crawford
No one knew what to expect from Carl Crawford when the season began. Some thought his injuries in 2011 and 2012 would continue to haunt him in 2013 but so far, the outfielder has been a great lead-off hitter for the Blue Crew. Yes, he has dealt with a few small nagging injuries, but he has been in the lineup most nights and has impressed. He leads the team with 24 runs and five home runs, and his impressive start is one of the few encouraging pieces in the Dodgers lineup.
1) Adrian Gonzalez
Even with a nagging neck injury, there is no doubt that Adrian Gonzalez has been the Dodgers' top position player this season. He leads the team in hits (40), doubles (eight), RBIs (26), batting average (.345) and slugging percentage (.517). His most impressive stat is his .500 batting average with runners in scoring position.