For many teams, the debate about who their best player can be a fairly spirited one. Thanks to Clayton Kershaw, however, it’s safe to say there isn’t much debate when it comes to the Los Angeles Dodgers best player.
Thanks to Dodger Digest’s Chad Moriyama, however, a similar debate was sparked in my mind when he tweeted the following:
– @joelydanger Could argue A-Gon is the eighth-best player on the Dodgers. Highest he gets is third on his own team.
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) September 21, 2014
Adrian Gonzalez? The Dodgers eighth-best player?
Of course, your reaction to this statement is fairly predictable when you accept what your feeling is about the RBI statistic. Gonzalez, who leads the league in RBIs has had an excellent season, but one dominated by “old-fashioned” MLB statistics, and not new-age sabermetrics.
Regardless, the question of where Gonzalez ranks among Dodgers is an interesting question, and surely one which makes for a lively debate. So, with that in mind, here’s my ranking of the Dodgers’ MVPs this season:
9. Dee Gordon
Who saw a .291 batting average from Gordon coming? I think we all assumed that once he put it together offensively, he’d steal something in the ballpark of his 64 bases, but his sudden offensive improvement was a pleasant surprise.
Also a pleasant surprise has been Gordon’s not terrible defense (-0.1 dWAR) that has been improving as the season has gone on. It was a tough battle for the final spot on this list, but Gordon earned it with his overall improvement.
8. Justin Turner
Not a player anyone expected to see on this list at the beginning of the season, but Turner has been invaluable to the Dodgers this year and could probably make an argument to be higher on this list. My biggest issue with Turner is the fact that he has just 310 plate appearances this season, but then again, that’s part of what makes him so amazing.
Despite not receiving regular playing time, Turner has posted the team’s second-best OPS (.859), best batting average (.332) and fourth-best defensive WAR (0.6). Add into all of that his versatility across the infield and his fantastic pinch-hitting (11-for-28) and Turner is definitely deserving of a spot on this list.
7. Hanley Ramirez
It has been a down season for Ramirez, but it’s easy to forget that the guy is still hitting .284 with an OBP of .368. Of course, his defense is what hurts his cause thanks to his defensive WAR of -0.6. If we took position into account, Ramirez might get a slight bump in these rankings, but from a strict “value” perspective, No. 7 is appropriate.
6. Juan Uribe
Two years ago, there was no player more disliked by Dodgers’ fans as Uribe sputtered through a couple of the worst offensive seasons in recent memory. This year, however, Uribe has continued his upward trend with a .310 batting average and his usual flawless defense.
At the moment, Uribe is tied for second among offensive players in WAR at 4 — thanks to a defensive WAR of 2 (highest on the team).
5. Matt Kemp
If not for a dreadful start to the season, Kemp could have climbed as high as No. 2 on this list. Then again, he is still hitting .286 with an OPS of .845 and 23 home runs. Offensively, Kemp has been the lynchpin of the Dodgers sustained playoff push this summer and he’s proving he’s a safe bet to possibly top this list in 2015.
The biggest question for Kemp’s candidacy will be defense — something that has seen an uptick since he has moved to right field.
Next Page: No. 4 – No. 1 Rankings