10 June 2011

the evolution of the left fielder, part 3

continuing the evolution of the dodgers' primary left fielders (here are parts 1 and 2), billy ashley filled the role (just barely) in 1995

billy ashley (1995)
the 'can't miss' prospect missed, unfortunately.  ashley played in 81 games (69 in left) during the second straight strike-shortened season.  he hit just .237 with 8 home runs and an ops of .692.  he was the dodgers' version of rob deer, going for one of the three true outcomes 121 times in 244 plate appearances.  in fact, in all three of ashley's postseason appearances (including two pa's in 1995), he either struck out or walked.

todd hollandsworth (1996-1997)
holly won the rookie of the year award in 1996, patrolling center field for the dodgers and playing in 149 games.  he hit .291 with 12 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 59 rbi.  as the 1997 upper deck card above state, he did in fact drive in three runs against the giants on 7/21/96. he had also driven in three runs on opening day.  in 1997, hollandsworth played in only 106 games (80 in left, but only 39 starts there) and his numbers dropped across the board.  the dodgers also used billy ashley and eric anthony in left, and even picked up darren lewis at the trade deadline.  still, left field was hollandsworth's to lose, and he lost it in 1998 due to injury. 

matt luke (1998)
luke took over for hollandsworth in left after holly's season ended in early june thanks to a shoulder injury.  the most interesting thing about luke's 1998 season with the dodgers is that, in addition to being their primary left fielder, he was an in-season double dipper (post coming soon)!  he had played in 33 games and was hitting .286 when the dodgers waived him in early june.  the indians claimed him, and he appeared in 2 games for the tribe.  11 days after losing luke, and just after losing hollandsworth for the season, the dodgers purchased luke's contract from cleveland and he finished out the season patrolling left field for the blue.  he wound up hitting .236 with 12 home runs and 34 rbi on the season, which included a 4-at bat span in which he hit 3 home runs over two days in saint louis.

gary sheffield (1999-2001)
sheffield moved from right, where he played after the dodgers acquired him in the 1998 mike piazza trade, to left in 1999 as raul mondesi returned to right field after a year in center.  it's too bad sheffield was such a, how do you say, jerk (?) during his career because he was as good of a hitter as the dodgers have ever had.  his three full seasons in la included no less than 98 runs, 34 home runs, 100 rbi, 98 walks and a .301 average.  his 43 home runs in 2000 were not only a career high, but were also the most ever by a los angeles dodger, and tied the franchise mark set by duke snider in 1956 (since eclipsed by shawn green and adrian beltre).  he made the all-star team in 1999 and 2000, and finished 9th in the league's mvp voting in 2000.  sheffield holds the la dodger single season records for obp, slugging and ops, along with atbat/hr.  he is also the dodgers' all-time franchise leader in each of those categories.  still, he complained and moaned badly enough that the dodgers wanted nothing more to do with him, and they traded him to the braves prior to the 2002 season.

brian jordan (2002)
jordan was one of the guys the dodgers got in the sheffield deal.  he played in 128 games for the dodgers in 2002 and hit .285 with 18 home runs with 80 rbi.  he was hitting .299 in june of 2003 when his season ended with a knee injury.

jeromy burnitz (2003)
a couple of weeks after jordan went down, the dodgers went out and acquired burnitz from the mets.  in dodger blue, burnitz hit .204 with 13 home runs and 32 rbi.  the dodgers didn't re-sign him after the season, and he instead went to colorado and had a monster season.

jayson werth (2004)
werth had been picked up in a pre-season trade with the blue jays.  he was the nl west champion dodgers' primary left fielder, atlhough juan encarnacion, dave roberts, and fellow jim tracy 'league of ja(y)son' member jason grabowski also saw a good amount of time in left.  89 games, werth hit 16 home runs and had a .267 average.  in the nlds against the cardinals, he was pretty much the only bright spot for the dodgers offensively, hitting two home runs and a double in their four game loss.  unfortunately, his number slipped in 2005 and for the fifth time in five years, a different dodger spent the majority of the time in left (just barely).

rickey ledee (2005)
ledee spent just a few more innings in left for the dodgers in 2005 than did werth (390.1 to 345.1).  ledee's offensive numbers weren't too much to get excited about either, as he hit only 7 home runs to go with his .278 average.

up next, andre ethier, manny ramirez, and...

...jerry sands?  here's hopin'.

No comments: