12 February 2014

the evolution of the shortstop, part 2

it's been awhile and i need to finish off these position evolution posts.  here's the second installment of the shortstop evolutionary chain - this time from anderson to izturis.

dave anderson (1984)
andy started 111 games at short in 1984, replacing the dean of the dodgers, bill russell, as the team's first primary shortstop not named wills or russell in 15 years.  he hit .251, and the following year spent more time at third base than short.  that's because the dodgers promoted mariano duncan.

mariano duncan (1985-1987)
duncan appeared at shortstop in 123 games (120 starts) for the dodgers in 1985.  he hit .244 with 38 steals and helped the dodgers reach the playoffs, although he hit just .222 in the nlcs against the cardinals.  in 1986, duncan appeared in 106 games as the dodgers' shortstop, and while he stole 48 bases, his batting average dropped to .229 and he was losing favor as the dodgers' shortstop of the future.  in 1987, duncan's average dropped to .215 and he played at shortstop only slightly more (538 innings to 499) than anderson.  he was demoted to the minor leagues for the entire 1988 season, as the dodgers went out and brought in alfredo griffin.

alfredo griffin (1988-1991)
griffin, seen above admiring one of his mammoth home run blasts on his 1991 topps stadium club card, barely gets the nod in 1988 thanks to his 89 starts at short compared to anderson's 72 starts.  he hit a lousy .199 on the season, and then was even worse at the plate in the postseason - .160 in the nlcs and .188 in the world series - but the dodgers won it all anyway.  griffin had better seasons as the dodgers' primary shortstop in 1989 (136 games, .247 average), 1990 (141 games, .210 average), and 1991 (109 games, .243 average) before returning to the blue jays in 1992.

jose offerman (1992-1995)
offerman hit in the .260's in both 1992 and 1993 as the dodgers' everyday shortstop.  unfortunately, he made 42 and 37 errors in those seasons respectively, earning his nickname 'e-fferman'.  at least that's what i called him.  he lost a fair amount of playing time to rafael bournigal in 1994, but still managed to be the team's primary shortstop.  in his final season as a dodger (1995), offerman remained the everyday shortstop, and even made the all-star team thanks to a .303 average at the break (he wound up hitting .287 on the season).  offerman was traded to the royals after the 1995 season, and kc immediately moved him out of the shortstop position and reaped the offensive benefits that followed.  no joke - offerman averaged .306 over his three seasons with the royals.

greg gagne (1996-1997)
gagne came over from the royals after the 1995 season, but not in the offerman trade - it was his signing as a free agent actually made offerman expendable.  over the course of the next two seasons, gagne missed only 52 games (that's what passed for stability at this position back then) and hit .253 with a little pop.  he finished his career as a dodger, retiring after the '97 season.

jose vizcaino (1998)
el viz returned to the dodgers for the 1998 season, and he wound up leading the team with 65 starts at the position while hitting .262.  juan castro, wilton guerrero, alex cora, and even adrian beltre also spent time there, but vizcaino got the nod most often.  until the dodgers made a trade deadline deal, that is.  after that, mark grudzielanek took over the position.

mark grudzielanek (1999)
the g-man appeared in 123 games for the dodgers in 1999, 119 (118 starts) as a shortstop.  he also hit a robust .326 on the season.  yes, his 2002 upper deck card shown above lists him as a second baseman, and for good reason - he switched to second in 2000.

alex cora (2000-2001)
cora played short for the dodgers in 101 games in 2000 and 132 games in 2001.  he didn't do much offensively, and was an average fielder, but jim tracy played him.  like grudzielanek, cora later moved over to second base.

cesar izturis (2002-2005)
the dodgers went out and acquired izturis in a trade with the blue jays after the 2001 season.  i recall hearing him advertised as a slick fielding prospect and so was not really surprised when he posted obp numbers below .300 during his first two seasons as the dodgers' primary shortstop.  in 2004, however, his third year at the top of the depth chart, izzy put it all together, hitting .288 with an obp of .330 and 25 steals.  he also won the gold glove that year - the first dodger shortstop to do so since maury wills in 1962.  in 2005, izturis again was the dodgers' primary shortstop, at least until an injury sidelined him for the season in august. the following year, he found his starting job lost and was traded to the cubs for greg maddux.

i'll wrap up the shortstop evolution in a couple of days.  stay tuned.

1 comment:

Mark Hoyle said...

Remember Cora as a key part of the 07 Sox. Now offermans time with sox is a differant story