Monday, September 29, 2014

2014 Report Card

The Dodgers are fresh off a sweep of the Rockies, a five-game winning streak, and most importantly, home-field advantage for the NLDS against the Cardinals.  All is good.

Before the NLDS opens in a few days, let's take a look at the season that was for the boys in blue.  Here's my 2014 report card.

(Also, here's my Midseason Report Card, where you can track who's gone up, down, or stayed the same.)


Clayton Kershaw - I mean, duh!  There simply is no one better in baseball at what he does than Kershaw on the mound.  He ends the season at 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 239 K's in 198 1/3 IP.  Absolutely sensational.

Adrian Gonzalez - Who would have thought that A-Gon would lead all of baseball in RBIs?  I doubt even his biggest fan, but he got the job done time and time again.  His 116 RBIs were five more than Mike Trout.  He also continued to strut his stuff in the field with only six errors and a .996 fielding %.  What a season.

Zack Greinke - Once again made his case as the best #2 man in baseball.  Went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 207 K's in 202 1/3 IP.  He just continues to take the ball and do his thing without much publicity.

Kenley Jansen - Some early season struggles gave way to another big season when it was all said and done.  His 44 saves were tied with Francisco Rodriguez for third in the NL.  If the Dodgers can somehow bridge the gap and give him a lead, it's as good as over.

Matt Kemp - After a mediocre (at best) first half of the season, he would've had to do something special to earn a high grade.  He did.  His second half saw him lead the NL with 17 homers, and right behind A-Gon with 54 RBIs to his 56.  Plus, he settled into right field very well.  Quite a turnaround for a guy who looked washed up for a long time.

Dee Gordon - His second half saw him regress some, but for a guy who wasn't even penciled in as the starting second baseman in Spring Training, had a terrific season.  He was tops in all of baseball with 64 steals and 12 triples.  His defense at second got better and better with each game.

Juan Uribe - Missed some time with various injuries to only play in 103 games, but made his mark when he was in there.  Hit .311 with nine homers and 54 RBIs, and was fantastic at the hot corner of third.

Yasiel Puig - I went back and forth with him between A and B due to his drop-off in the second half.  But, it's hard to ignore .296, 16 homers, 69 RBIs, 37 doubles, and 11 steals.  And then there's that arm in center, which continues to amaze.

Justin Turner - There might not be a better bench player in baseball.  Appeared at all four infield positions, hitting .340 with seven homers, 40 RBIs, and 21 doubles.  His two home runs against the Giants helped put the Dodgers a game away from clinching.


Hyun-Jin Ryu - He put up good numbers at 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.  Ran into the injury bug this year, which limited what the Dodgers could get out of him.  Hopefully he's good to go in the playoffs either at or close to 100%.

Josh Beckett - He gets a bit of an incomplete, because his numbers are almost exclusively from the first half.  Unfortunately, he's lost for the season with a bad hip, and perhaps that'll do it for his career as well.  What you can't take away is a 2.88 ERA and first career no-hitter against the Phillies back in May.

Dan Haren - Things weren't looking good at all for him in the summer months, but a 3.48 ERA in August and 2.70 in September got him back in the Dodgers' good graces.  For a guy brought in to pitch in the #4-5 slot, that's not bad at all.

Carl Crawford - How many people even realize he hit .300 this year?  Well, hitting a ridiculous .448 in September made his season peak at the right moment.  With him lacing the ball like he is now, is quietly a big threat in the playoffs.

Pedro Baez - Not the largest sample size with only 20 games, but on a team that desperately is looking for setup men, his 2.63 ERA and 0.88 WHIP are huge.  Maybe he's the answer in the eighth inning? 

J.P. Howell - Is most definitely trending downward, as hitters are either taking walks off of him, or are flat out killing his "fastball" of late.  His season numbers are still very good with a 2.39 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 27 holds.  And for that, he gets some love.

Scott Van Slyke - Appeared in 98 games playing here and there, and did reach double-digit homers with 11.  Strikes out too much, but did hit .297 despite that.

Darwin Barney - Proved to be a very solid backup in the infield, especially for Gordon at second.  Also hit .303 in 22 games with the Dodgers.


Hanley Ramirez - Maybe a little harsh, as he certainly didn't have a bad year.  But it's not like he had a good one by his standards either.  Is still as injury prone as it gets, playing in 128 games, hitting .283 with only 13 homers and 71 RBIs.  His defense at short is among the worst in the league, too.  Not quite the impression this free agent wanted to leave going into the winter.

Brandon League - Put together a very solid ERA at 2.57.  But don't be fooled.  His 1.46 WHIP is very high, and only shows how many guys reach base off of him.  Can't be counted on to pitch big innings, either.

A.J. Ellis - I'll be nice here and point out how good he is at handling a staff, which is the only reason he gets rated even this high.  Hit a pathetic .191, and his caught stealing % plummeted from .444 last season to .250 this year.

Miguel Rojas - Like Ellis, is definitely not ranked here because of his bat, which produced a .181 average.  Rather, his defense was very good, as Don Mattingly regularly inserts him in at short to preserve late leads.

Andre Ethier - My last example of a guy who is here not because of his bat (.249, 4, 42), but because of his defense.  Took over for Kemp in center back in May, but eventually because relegated to bench duty.  At least has a solid glove, though.

Jamey Wright - Was having a good season... and then July hit.  His ERA shot up from 1.91 at the end of June to 4.26 overall.  Doesn't look like he's fooling anyone anymore.


Brian Wilson - So much for teaming up with Jansen to be the best setup-closer combination in baseball.  Time and time again Wilson would stink it up in the eighth inning.  His ERA and WHIP are sky high at 4.66 and 1.61.

Chris Perez - Another former closer who was a complete letdown.  Walked way too many guys, and finished with a 4.27 ERA and 1.36 WHIP.  A wasted signing for sure.

Drew Butera - Caught Beckett's no-hitter, which counts for something.  But still gave nothing at the plate by hitting .188, and is very replaceable.

Paul Maholm - Became lost for the season in early August with a torn ACL.  Didn't do much of anything before that anyway, as the long reliever and spot starter went 1-5 with a 4.84 ERA and 1.56 WHIP.

Roberto Hernandez - Started off pretty well, but constantly can't go deep into games because of high pitch counts.  In nine starts with the Dodgers, went 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA and 1.51 WHIP.

Carlos Frias - Had one good moment when he went six scoreless against the Nationals in early September.  But that was it, as his 6.12 ERA is hard to ignore.  Had one of the worst starts in baseball history when the Rockies lit him up for eight runs in only 2/3 of an inning.


Kevin Correia - Went six innings and gave up one run to beat the Braves in his first start with the Dodgers.  The rest was pretty awful.  Ended up becoming a complete afterthought, going 2-4 with an 8.03 ERA and 1.70 WHIP in nine appearances.

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