Monday, April 7, 2008

Empty Outfield

Let me preface this by noting that, yes, we are only six games into the season and that yes, Cain, Peavy, and Chris Young make a rather nasty threesome to have faced in half your games so far this year. There is clearly no need to panic.

But come on.

This whole off-season was about whether or not Ethier was our 3rd or 4th outfielder. It turns out he might be our only outfielder.

All other Dodger outfielders: Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp, Juan Pierre are a combined 6 for 49 with 2 walks, 1 double, and 14 strike outs. That is an atrocious .122/.157/.143 line, or 300 OPS. 300. That is like scoring a 400 on your combined SAT, demonstrating that you were capable of getting your own name right.

I should also note that Russell Martin has not exactly been on fire, 2 for 21, but he at least has 5 walks and has shown some signs of life in the most recent series. Plus, who are you going to start ahead of him? Bennett? He will come around.

No, the outfield is the place to worry. What if Andruw's performance last year was not just an off year, but in fact the start of a precipitous decline? He will get a chance to put it together, but 32 million/2 years is a lot to pay for a guy hitting under .250 with a ton of strike outs and rapidly deteriorating power.

Clearly Kemp can hit, but if he keeps slumping this hard, might Pierre not find his way back into the starting line-up? Right now Pierre is even more awful (.091 avg), but you know he will get his hits down, get some luck, and get his average into the upper 200s. You can't work your way out of a slump if Swifty gets all your at bats...

And since this is the Outwatch, let me note that so far Juan Pierre has had 11 ABs and 11 Outs to go with them. Thanks to a caught stealing, Juan has yet to produce a non-out at bat.


jimbilly4 said...

For the anal-retentive completeness types, the Dodgers technically have a 5th outfielder: Delwyn Young.

Young has had 3 at bats and produced 1 hit, a fairly meaningless .333 average. Extra meaningless considering it was an infield single that an aging Ray Durham couldn't corral.

Delwyn had a bad spring, but is generally acclaimed as a god natural hitter. His lifetime MLB OPS (over a piddly 42 ABs) is over 900, so he should probably be kept in mind in case of a complete outfield break down.

God help us then.

jimbilly4 said...

That is a "good" natural hitter. Not a god natural. I am not sure what that is, but I imagine it involves the player tapping the plate with a staff and a rift opening through the infield and swallowing the pitcher into the depths of Hades.

jimbilly4 said...

I would just like to point out I wrote this the day before Ken Gurnick wrote this:

Is Ken cribbing from me? Or, more likely, is the problem with the Dodgers so painfully obvious that you can expect 6000 versions of this same article?


PS: I believe Pierre has now achieved more Outs than At Bats. Impressive.