This season the Dodgers return with their best outfield trio since the days of Brett Butler, Eric Davis, and Darryl Strawberry. Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are poised for monster seasons and Manny Ramirez is looking to fend off the aging process for one more season. Here is all the info and predictions for the Dodgers’ outfield in 2010.
Kemp is the most complete outfielder the Dodgers have and is still only 25 years old. Last season he backed up his billing as a legitimate five tool player with a .297 average, 26 homeruns, 34 stolen bases, a Silver Slugger Award, and a Gold Glove. Kemp is undoubtedly the future of the Dodgers and should be a fixture for years to come.
He has come back strong in 2010 batting .328 during Spring Training. As Ramirez ages and Kemp matures the balance of power may shift to Kemp by the end of the season.
.303, 32 HR, 103 RBI, and 28 SB
Ethier has increased his power in each of his four seasons in the majors. After only 13 in 2007, the young slugger blossomed with 31 last year. The added protection from Man-Ram has been an incredible boost to his production. Ethier is an capable fielder, with surprising speed. He has already legged out 17 triples in his career.
Like Kemp, Ethier has started strong and is looking to build on his best season to date. Ethier led the Dodgers with home runs (4) during Spring Training while keep his average hovering near .300. If he continues his progress, he may be the one providing protection to Man-Ram, instead of vice versa.
.265, 39 HR, 102 RBI, and 50 2B
The 20 million dollar man has another season to prove his talent wasn’t all in the juice. After serving a 50 game suspension, Ramirez struggled to one of the worst seasons of his career. The .290 batting average he posted was the lowest since 1994.
Ramirez has also been struggling a bit during Spring Training. Unlike his outfield counterparts, Ramirez has a relatively meager .256 average. Of course, no player can be fully judged based on Spring Training performance, but Dodger fans have to wonder when he is planning on bringing back that sweet swing. At the ripe old age of 38, the concerns for injury are nipping at his heels. 2010 will be the year where Ramirez either builds up for one last productive stretch in his career, or finally shows that everyone eventually succombs to Father Time.
.285, 27 HR, 95 RBI, and .485 slugging percentage
(As Published on Fox Sports’ LADugout.com)