You might have heard Jimmy Sheckard’s name once or twice this summer, and even so, if you’re a Dodger fan under the age of 120, it was quite possibly the first time you ever heard it.
Largely forgotten among Brooklyn stars of the past, Sheckard hit three triples for the Superbas in one game on Opening Day 1901 at age 22, a feat that went unmatched until 23-year-old Yasiel Puig did so against the Giants on July 25.
That 1901 season was Sheckard’s best in a career that had more than a few highlights. Sheckard led the National League with 19 triples and a .534 slugging percentage, while finishing second in home runs (11) and total bases (296), third in batting average (.354) and OPS (.944), tied for third in RBI (104), fifth in runs (116), sixth in on-base percentage (.409) and stolen bases (35), seventh in doubles (29). In September, Sheckard also became the only player ever to hit inside-the-park grand slams in consecutive games.
This should be the year of the Uribear.
Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Juan Uribe and Zack were named finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with winners to be announced November 4.
Each position has three finalists. Greinke and Kershaw are up against Adam Wainwright of St. Louis for the NL pitcher Gold Glove. Gonzalez is against Adam LaRoche of Washington and Justin Morneau of Colorado, while Uribe has competition from Nolan Arenado of the Rockies and Pablo Sandoval of San Francisco.
Going strictly by advanced stats, Uribe would be the Dodgers’ top candidate. Despite a couple of injury issues this year, Uribe dominated NL third basemen statistically. (Click chart to enlarge.)
A scheduling quirk put the Dodgers on the road for Jackie Robinson Day earlier this year, but next April 15, Dodger Stadium will be back in the familiar position of hosting the celebration of No. 42.
That night, the Dodgers will be taking on the Seattle Mariners, not to mention second baseman Robinson Cano, who was named after the Dodger legend.
In addition, Historic Dodgertown at Vero Beach will host the second annual Jackie Robinson Celebration Game, between the Florida State League’s St. Lucie Mets and Brevard County Manatees.
— Jon Weisman
By Cary Osborne
In discussions with Dodger vice president of amateur scouting Logan White and former vice president of player development De Jon Watson this month, I asked them to give their thoughts on guys who they felt opened some eyes in 2014.
One name that both of them mentioned was Darnell Sweeney.
By Cary Osborne
Dodger right-hander Dan Haren underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder Wednesday morning in a procedure performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The 30-minute procedure was to clean out bursitis and the AC joint. He will start his rehab in about one week and is expected to be ready for competition at the start of Spring Training.
The Monterey Park native and 12-year Major League veteran started 32 games in 2014, his first with the Dodgers, and had a 4.02 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 186 innings.
From August 6 to September 27 — his final 10 starts of the season, the 34-year-old had a 2.43 ERA, opposing batters hit .191 against him and he struck out 50 batters to just eight walks in 59 1/3 innings. His 0.83 WHIP in that timespan was tops on the Dodgers and fifth-best in the Majors.
By Cary Osborne
Last year in October, Dee Gordon was on the Dodgers’ postseason roster, but practically in name only. He played in two games, both as a pinch-runner. Gordon was in the playoffs because he was fast — and only because he was fast.
This year, Gordon was still fast, but he also became much, much more. But as Gordon will tell you, that development, however ironically, was a long, slow process.
By Jon Weisman
Chan Ho Park, Jerry Reuss and Ken Landreaux have joined the team of Dodger legends serving as instructors at the 53rd Los Angeles Dodgers Adult Baseball Camp at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, from November 9-15.
Park, Reuss and Landreaux will join such previously announced instructors as Ron Cey, Tommy Davis, Steve Garvey, Mickey Hatcher, Rick Monday, Maury Wills and Steve Yeager. Tommy Lasorda and former National League umpire Bruce Froemming are also set to be guest instructors. Former Dodger scout Guy Wellman has returned as camp coordinator, a position he has held dating back to 1983.
“We are looking forward to providing a unique experience for those campers in attendance in November,” said Historic Dodgertown chairman and former Dodger owner Peter O’Malley. “With our latest additions of popular Dodgers Chan Ho Park, Jerry Reuss and Ken Landreaux, this will only enhance the camaraderie, storytelling and instruction for the participants, making this camp the best one ever. It is advisable for those who are considering signing up to do so now.”
Why sign up? Well, read on … (more…)
Baseball America announced on Tuesday that Clayton Kershaw is its choice for Major League Baseball Player of the Year.
Kershaw joins Matt Kemp (2011) as the only Dodgers to be named the publication’s top Major League Player. Baseball America has awarded the honor since 1998.
After Kershaw’s monumental 2014 season in which he became the first pitcher in baseball history to lead the Majors in ERA for a fourth consecutive season, the Dodger ace is expected to take home a slew of awards.
The 2014 Players Choice Awards will be announced on November 3. Kershaw is a finalist for four of those awards.
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America will name the Cy Young Award winners for both leagues on Nov. 12 and the Most Valuable Player Award winners on November 13.
Kershaw is also up for his second Roberto Clemente Award, which goes “to the player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.” The award winner will be revealed during the World Series.
By Jon Weisman
For entertainment purposes, I’m about to oversimplify something that’s far more complex than how I’m presenting it.
Nevertheless, I was curious what the Dodgers gained and lost in wins above replacement (WAR) from their moves during the 2013-14 offseason. And putting all other considerations aide, the scales almost balanced.
The Dodgers received 2.1 WAR from their 2014 additions, according to Fangraphs, while those who left the team after the 2013 season produced 1.8 WAR with their new clubs.
The big weight on the scale was Justin Turner, who delivered 3.2 WAR all by himself. Chone Figgins (0.6) was also useful in his abbreviated tenure. They more than made up for the departures of Elian Herrera, Nick Punto, Justin Sellers, Mark Ellis and Skip Schumacher.
The biggest loss for the Dodgers in WAR was Ricky Nolasco (1.2), who had a 5.38 ERA and 4.30 FIP in the first year of his four-year deal with Minnesota. Edinson Volquez (0.7), who signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh, was more of a bargain, though not as much as his 3.04 ERA might suggest.
In the bullpen, Ronald Belisario, Javy Guerra and Shawn Tolleson combined for 0.8 WAR, which isn’t much but proved better than what Chris Perez (-0.8) delivered.
Seth Rosin never pitched in a game for the Dodgers after being acquired on the day of the Rule 5 draft, but I included him here as someone they had and then let go.
Among the 2013 Dodgers who didn’t play in the big leagues in 2014: Nick Buss, Jerry Hairston Jr., Peter Molyan and Michael Young.
Obviously, there are long-term issues, both coming and going, that I’m ignoring in this post, which is completely focused on the past season. Nor does it take into account salary, or 2013 free agents who returned to Los Angeles. But if you’re curious, here are the numbers …