07 September 2012

a homegrown comparison - will two players make a difference?

if the dodgers were to make the postseason this year, i would expect/hope that their starting lineup would look something like this:

sp - clayton kershaw
c - aj ellis
1b - adrian gonzalez
2b - mark ellis
3b - luis cruz
ss - hanley ramirez
lf - shane victorino
cf - matt kemp
rf - andre ethier

of those in the starting nine, i count only three that are true homegrown dodgers (kershaw, aj ellis, and kemp were all drafted and developed by the dodgers organization) with a fourth (ethier) who was acquired in a trade as a minor leaguer.  so even if we count the players that made their big league debuts as dodgers, we have 44% of the starting nine having played in the majors for only the dodgers.  the rest of the players were either acquired by trade (gonzalez, ramirez, victorino) or via free agency (mark ellis, cruz)

back in my day (1977 and 1978, to be exact),
that number was higher.  here is what i consider to be the starting lineup for the team of my youth.

sp - don sutton
c - steve yeager
1b - steve garvey
2b - dave lopes
3b - ron cey
ss - bill russell
lf - dusty baker
cf - rick monday
rf - reggie smith

everybody but the outfielders (67%) were drafted and developed by the dodgers.  the three outfielders were all acquired via trade long after they had debuted in the big leagues.  ok, so those teams didn't win any world championships.  that is true.  let's look at those teams that did win.

in 1981,
it was all pretty much the same as 1978, although you could sub mike scioscia (homegrown) for yeager, kenny landreaux (acquired by trade) for monday, and guerrero (acquired by trade, but as a minor leaguer) for smith.  that would mean that the percentage of players who debuted in the major leagues as dodgers held at 67%.

in 1988,
things looked like this

sp - orel hershiser
c - mike scioscia
1b - franklin stubbs
2b - steve sax
3b - jeff hamilton
ss - alfredo griffin
lf - kirk gibson
cf - john shelby
rf - mike marshall

here again, we have 67% of the team comprised of homegrown talent, although i use that term loosely for some of the players.  griffin and shelby came over in trades, and gibson was signed as a free agent.

don't get me wrong, i know that this is a different era, and there is more to the team than the starting lineup; and i know that the team is better (on paper) with gonzalez and ramirez instead of james loney and dee gordon, or mark ellis and victorino instead of ivan dejesus jr and jerry sands.  still, as a longtime dodger fan i find it harder to root for a team comprised of players over half of which are not products of the farm system.  although i will say that winning in 1988 made me forget all about griffin replacing the homegrown mariano duncan.

so here's hoping that the 2012 dodgers don't fall short.  otherwise i might be wishing for some homegrown position players that no longer seem to exist.

1 comment:

night owl said...

I've gotten over this. I don't know where or when, but it doesn't bother me at all that the Dodgers have so few home-grown players.

I know having a decent farm system is a sign of being able to control your own destiny and produce a consistent winner. But the Dodgers have botched that avenue so badly over the years that I'd just like them to win by any means possible.