The Los Angeles Dodgers have an outfield problem, but as I say that, I’d bet we’re thinking of different “problem-creators”. When you ask folks around the league about the logjam in the outfield, everyone will quickly jump into a debate about Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier.
You’ll hear how Ethier can’t hit left-handed pitching, how Crawford is more consistent but probably less spectacular and you may even hear someone erroneously cite Ethier’s “Gold Glove” defense (we’ll get to that). In fact, I’d bet the third name to come up in this conversation — Guerrero — is still different than the one I’m thinking of.
All the while, sulking in anonymity is the player that just might be the third-best outfielder the Dodgers have.
And his name is Scott Van
Check this out the three Dodgers outfielders from 2014:
Player A: .300/.339/429 with 8 home runs and 2.4 WAR in 103 games (343 ABs).
Player B: .297/.386/.524 with 11 home runs and 2.7 WAR in 98 games (212 ABs)
Player C: .249/.322/.370 with 4 home runs and 0 WAR in 130 games (341 ABs)
Now ask yourself — which of those three do you want playing left field for you?
Well, you’re looking at the statistics in order, for Crawford, Scott Van Slyke and Ethier, respectively.
In over 100 less at-bats, Van Slyke hit more home runs and generated a higher WAR than both Crawford and Ethier. And that doesn’t even mention the fact that his on-base percentage was nearly 50-points higher than both of them and that his slugging percentage was almost 100-points better.
CONTINUE READING: Making The Case For Scott Van Slyke