Dodgers Dugout: The Dodgers have used 33 pitchers this season. Can you name them?
Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and there have been as many players for the Dodgers this season as grains of sands on the beach.
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OK, maybe that’s a big of an exaggeration, but it seems every time you turn on a game, someone new is playing for the team. Justin Bruihl. Kevin Quackenbush. Connor Greene.
Especially pitching. It’s like the whole bullpen comes from the witness protection program sometimes. Who’s this guy? Who’s that guy?
The Dodgers have used an astounding 33 pitchers this season, even more amazing when you consider it’s a 26-man active roster.
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Let’s list all 33 in order of innings pitched. How many do you remember?
Burns is a position player, so if we discount him, that leaves 32 pitchers used. A few of them, such as Santana, Jones, Gray and Reed aren’t with the Dodgers anymore.
The Dodgers have used 24 position players this season, meaning they have used 56 players overall (57 if you count Burns as a position player and a pitcher). Wow.
How does that compare to recent seasons? We won’t count 2020 since it was only 60 games.
2021: 24 position players / 32 pitchers / 56 total
The Dodgers have used more players this season than any year since they started their division-title streak. And the season still has 47 games to go. But how does their usage this season compare to the rest of the NL. After all, injuries are up this season because of the short season last year and the ramped up spring training this season. We will not count position players who pitched.
New York: 25/33/58
San Francisco: 23/28/51
St. Louis: 20/29/49
San Diego: 21/27/48
Fifth-most players used, and only two teams have used more pitchers. Just for fun, I looked back at some classic Dodger teams of the past:
2021 Dodgers: 24/32/56
1988 Dodgers: 20/18/38
1978 Dodgers: 23/15/38
1977 Dodgers: 23/14/37
1965 Dodgers: 21/12/33
1963 Dodgers: 21/14/35
1955 Dodgers: 17/15/32
Hall of Fame: the first basemen
We continue our look at who the top Hall of Fame candidates at each position are in Dodger history and whether they deserve entry or not. To determine the top candidates, we look at two stats, WAR (wins above replacement), which gives us a good idea of how players with long careers compare to each other, and JAWS (Jaffe WAR score system), which is their career WAR averaged with their seven-year peak WAR. It was created by Jay Jaffe and is detailed in his excellent book, “The Cooperstown Casebook.” For example, the top 10 first basemen in JAWS are in the Hall of Fame except for Albert Pujols, who isn’t eligible yet. And again, like I always say, no one stat is perfect. But this gives us an easy comparison to make, and, this is supposed to be the fun part of the newsletter. Debating stuff like this should be enjoyable.
Those 10 first baseman, with their JAWS score:
1. Lou Gehrig, 90.7
2. Albert Pujols, 80.6
3. Jimme Foxx, 75.1
4. Cap Anson, 68.1
5. Roger Connor, 65.6
6. Jeff Bagwell, 64.1
7. Dan Brouthers, 63.5
8. Frank Thomas, 59.6
9. Johnny Mize, 59.6
10. Jim Thome, 57.3
There are 24 players in the Hall of Fame as first basemen. Here’s where the other 15 Hall of Famers rank:
13. Willie McCovey, 54.7
16. Eddie Murray, 68.6
18. Hank Greenberg, 55.5
19. George Sisler, 51.0
21. Bill Terry, 49.9
22. Harmon Killebrew, 49.2
27. Jake Beckley, 45.6
29. Tony Perez, 45.3
34. Orlando Cepeda, 42.3
36. Frank Chance, 46.0
56. Jim Bottomley, 32.7
62. Mule Suttles, 31.0
94. High Pockets Kelly, 24.7
108. Buck Leonard, 23.3
140. Ben Taylor, 17.5
A couple of notes here:
—Suttles, Leonard and Taylor were Negro Leagues players, and their score is based on the limited stats we have available. There is virtually no one who saw them play who don’t believe they all would have been among the top first basemen in MLB history. To read more about them, read their Hall of Fame bios. Suttles’ is here, Leonard’s is here and Taylor’s is here.
—This series isn’t the place to determine the Hall of Fame qualifications of those already in. We are here just to see if any Dodgers at each position have been overlooked.
Now, let’s look at the highest JAWS totals for those first basemen eligible for, but not in the Hall of Fame:
12. Rafael Palmeiro, 55.4
15. Todd Helton, 54.2
17. Mark McGwire, 52.0
20. Keith Hernandez, 50.8
23. John Olerud, 48.6
25. Jason Giambi, 46.3
26. Will Clark, 46.3
31. Fred McGriff, 44.3
33. Norm Cash, 42.8
35. Dolph Camilli, 41.6
And now, the top first basemen not in the Hall who spent more years with the Dodgers than any other team:
35. Dolph Camilli, 41.6
38. Adrian Gonzalez, 39.1 (not eligible yet, but thought I’d include him anyway)
40. Gil Hodges, 38.8
51. Steve Garvey, 33.4
57. Jake Daubert, 32.6
70. Ron Fairly, 29.6
113. Wes Parker, 21.8
189. Eric Karros, 12.0
We’ll stop there.
Last week, I asked you to vote in a poll on your thoughts about Garvey and Hodges making the Hall of Fame. Well, after 11,020 responses, here are the results:
Which first baseman should be in the Hall of Fame?
Gil Hodges, 46.6%
Both of them, 43.9%
Steve Garvey, 7.3%
Neither of them, 2.2%
So, 90% of people who voted believe Gil Hodges should be in the Hall of Fame, and about 50% believe Steve Garvey should be.
And, if you look at their numbers and overall careers, that’s about right. Hodges should be in, Garvey shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Garvey was one of my favorite players, and he was a very good player for quite a while, but he has some drawbacks. He almost never walked for a guy who came to the plate 600 times a year. He walked 40 or more times only twice, leading to low on-base percentages relative to his batting average. He grounded into a lot of double plays (the only categories Garvey led the NL in were games played, hits and grounded into double play). He cost the Dodgers some double plays on defense by not being able to make a good throw to second most of the time. He won an MVP award that should have gone to Jim Wynn.
That’s not to say he was a bad player. He should get credit for being an outstanding postseason hitter (.38/.361/.550 with 11 homers in 55 postseason games). He definitely should be in a Dodgers Hall of Fame, just not the Baseball Hall of Fame.
That brings us to Hodges, a key member of the “Boys of Summer” Dodgers. Some argue there are already enough Dodgers from that era in, which makes no sense because you’re either a Hall of Famer or not, and it doesn’t matter how many of your teammates are. Some argue that he never finished near the top 10 in MVP voting, so writers at the time didn’t view him as special. Which takes a lot of mindreading, because there are other reasons they didn’t vote for him that are equally valid. He finished in the top 10 three times, in the top 20 eight times.
He often finished behind his teammates and I know a lot of MVP voters now and back then would not vote for more than two people on the same team in the top 10. Should he be punished for being on a team with Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella? Because suddenly the Hall of Fame credentials of others are looking might suspect. I don’t think anyone held it against Johnny Bench that he was on the same team with Joe Morgan, Pete Rose and Tony Perez, not should they. Almost every player who was on those Boys of Summer teams say Hodges should be a Hall of Famer. Vin Scully says he should. That’s not rock-solid proof, but it’s not like those players were saying anyone else should be in the Hall, and I can’t recall Scully mentioning anyone else should be in the Hall as much as he did Hodges.
But, truthfully, Hodges’ numbers make him a borderline case. You could see it going either way. Hodges is very similar to Garvey. He led the NL only in games played, strikeouts and sacrifice flies. Hodges was on the ballot for 15 years and the highest percentage he received was just over 63% (you need 75% to make it). People who look at only analytics will say he doesn’t belong. But if the only thing you do is study analytics, then you’re missing a great game being played in front of you. Hodges was another coach on the bench. He did a lot of little things that don’t show up in a statistical retrospective.
Back before computers told fielders where to stand on every play, Hodges was the Dodgers’ computer, positioning the infielders. He gets credit for things like this. Enough to put him in the Hall? Well, it certainly pushes him closer. But for me, what puts him over the top is this: He managed the 1969 Miracle Mets in what is considered one of the great managing feats of all time. And while the Hall says what a person does as a player and manager should be kept separate, it really shouldn’t.
Of course, if you look at the JAWS list, Hodges and Garvey are in line behind quite a few other first basemen, including another former Dodger, Dolph Camilli. He was a better hitter than either of them. He led the NL in RBI’s, walks, home runs, His career was shorter, so his total numbers don’t quite stack up (he had 239 homers, compared to 370 for Hodges).
We could get into a lengthy debate on the merits of Keith Hernandez over Hodges or Garvey. But we won’t. We’re here for two men, and, if I’m voting, Hodges gets in, and Garvey doesn’t.
Next week: Second base.
Mookie Betts was put back on the 10-day IL because of his sore right hip and flew back to Los Angeles for further tests. Hopefully everything is fine, but whenever I read about lingering hip injuries, a name pops into my head: Bo Jackson, who hurt his hip playing football and was never the same. Britt Burns was an All-Star pitcher whose career ended because of a chronic, degenerative hip injury. Of course, those are just two cases out of hundreds of hip injuries, but my paranoid side doesn’t care about things like that.
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A look at how players from the 2020 Dodgers who are no longer on the team are faring this season (through Thursday):
Pedro Báez, Houston, 0-0, 0.00 ERA (1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout)
Dylan Floro, Miami: 3-4, 2.72 ERA, 4 saves (46.1 IP, 38 hits, 18 walks, 42 strikeouts)
Kiké Hernández, Boston: .249/.333/.457 (27 doubles, 3 triple, 15 HRs, 43 RBIs, 110 OPS+)
Adam Kolarek, Oakland: 8.00 ERA (9 IP, 15 hits, 5 walks, 4 strikeouts), in minors
Jake McGee, San Francisco: 3-2, 2.44 ERA, 24 saves (48 IP, 30 hits, 9 walks, 51 strikeouts)
Joc Pederson, Atlanta: .241/.316/.426 (15 doubles, 3 triples, 14 homers, 52 RBIs, 99 OPS+)
Josh Sborz, Texas: 3-3, 4.54 ERA, 1 save (39.2 IP, 36 hits, 21 walks, 50 strikeouts)
Ross Stripling, Toronto: 5-6, 4.34 ERA (93.1 IP, 86 hits, 28 walks, 91 strikeouts), on 10-day IL
Alex Wood, San Francisco: 9-3, 4.22 ERA (108.2 IP, 99 hits, 34 walks, 115 strikeouts)
Tonight, Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 13-3, 3.41 ERA) at New York Mets (Tylor Megill, 1-2, 3.20 ERA), 4 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Saturday, Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 12-2, 2.13 ERA) at New York Mets (Taijuan Walker, 7-7, 3.89 ERA), 4 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570
Sunday, Dodgers (Max Scherzer, 9-4, 2.67 ERA) at New York Mets (Carlos Carrasco, 0-0, 6.75 ERA), 4 p.m., ESPN, AM 570
Vin Scully discusses the four most memorable home runs he called. Watch it here.
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