October 9, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier (16) walks to the dugout following introductions before playing against the New York Mets in game one of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Best outfielder/Comeback Player of the Year: Andre Ethier
For a while, Joc looked like the best two-way player on this team. He slowed down hard and struggled to make contact, losing his starting spot. The outfield was in flux and by my count, 11 different players saw time in the Dodger outfield this year.
The one constant (at least against righties) was Ethier, who the Dodgers couldn’t even trade for Miguel Montero in the offseason. He looked to be an afterthought, and then he put together a much more 2011-2012 Ethier-y type of season.
Ethier slashed .294/.366/.486 with 20 doubles (ninth time in 10 seasons he’s done that), 14 homers and overall solid defense. He had more than his fair share of lapses and “Jim Edmonds‘d a few balls (taking awful routes/bad jumps and then making a diving catch to save it), but even the biggest Ethier haters have to be pretty content with what Ethier was able to do this season.
Much of Ethier’s success had to do with Don Mattingly‘s use of him Ethier, for his whole career, has struggled against lefties. His first two years weren’t awful against lefties, but since then he’s been next to useless against lefties. He only faced lefties 48 times this season (nine hits, two walks, 14 strikeouts), and this selective use of Ethier is what helped him put up the numbers he did.
At some point this offseason, I’ll probably write something you all will hate about how the Dodgers should sell high on Ethier, which they should. But for now, Ethier gets two of my awards, as he was easily the most dependable outfielder on the team and the Comeback Player of the Year.
Honorable mention- OF- Enrique Hernandez
Next: Best Reliever