Who are the best right fielders in Dodgers history?
Right field may not be the most glamorous position on the diamond, but it might just be the deepest offensive position in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ cannon.
Before we get into the ranking, it’s important to mention why a strong group of names didn’t crack the top five.
First, a few current Dodgers. Cody Bellinger is not being considered for this list due to the sheer volume of candidates and the fact that he has one season as a regular-ish right fielder under his belt at the time of this article (granted it’s the best season a Dodger right fielder has ever had, at least in terms of WAR). Mookie Betts is also not being considered as he has only played a few games as a Dodger. Due to the sheer amount of talent at the position, we’ll have more honorable mentions than usual.
Best Dodgers right fielders, Honorable Mentions:
Ah, Yasiel Puig. The polarizing Cuban outfielder who at times looked like the most gifted player in the world and looked totally lost at others. Average out those two opposite attitudes over six seasons in LA and you get a really solid right fielder.
The Wild Horse burst onto the scene in 2013, finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting to the late Jose Fernandez, as Puig Mania swept over Los Angeles. He became the first player to be named NL Rookie and Player of the Month in their first month in the majors and set several Dodger rookie records.
However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Puig, as for every tape measure homer or incredible throw there was seemingly a baserunning gaffe or bad at-bat to counteract it. Puig struggled with consistency and hamstring injuries as he continued to find himself as a player. Before being traded to Cincinnati, he slashed .279/.353/.478 with 108 homers over 6 years with the Dodgers. He also made an All-Star appearance and is the Dodgers’ leader in postseason appearances with 58.
Wee Willie Keeler
We’re going way back for this one. The diminutive outfielder was born in 1872, and played for four teams that no longer exist. Regardless of which old-timey squad he suited up for, Wee Willie Keeler could hit. He hit over .300 16 times and even hit .424 in 1897 with Baltimore. He has the lowest strikeout rate of any player in baseball history, averaging a strikeout every 63.2 at bats. In his first season with the Brooklyn Superbas, he struck out only twice in 570 at bats. Keeler wasn’t exactly a power threat. In fact he perfected the “Baltimore Chop”, a hitting technique mirroring a swinging bunt that involved hitting the ball directly into the ground. Keeler was also a menace on the basepaths, swiping as many as 67 bags in a season. He isn’t higher on this list because he is more known for his days in Baltimore, but we shouldn’t overlook the accomplishments of Wee Willie Keeler. He was third all-time in hits when he retired with 2,932, and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Andre Ethier was teammates with future MLB stars Dustin Pedrioa and Ian Kinsler at ASU, and holds several school records. The former Arizona State Sun Devil was a staple in the Dodger order from the mid 2000’s to the early 2010’s.
Ethier spent his entire 12-year career in Los Angeles after being drafted by Oakland and became a fan favorite thanks to his late-inning heroics. Captain Clutch is second behind Dusty Baker with 14 walk-off hits in a Dodger uniform, six of which came in his career 2009 season, and four of those were home runs, tying the Major League record. Ethier hit .272 with 31 homers, drove in 106, finished sixth in MVP voting, and won a Gold Glove. He remained a consistent contributor into his early 30’s, providing not only a presence in the lineup but also in the field and in the clubhouse as well.
Ethier was praised by his teammates for the grace in which he handled a reduced role during the emergence of Yasiel Puig. Shin and back injuries severely limited his production in his later years with the club, as he appeared in just 38 games combined over his last two seasons. Dre finished his career with a .285 average, 303 doubles, 162 homers, two All-Star appearances, and a Gold Glove. He also recorded a 30 game hit streak in 2011, and ended his college career with a 23-game hit streak.
He may be remembered more for his political misadventures or for being the father of speedster Adalberto Mondesi, but the elder Mondesi was quite the ballplayer in his day. After a cup of coffee in the majors in 1993, Mondesi fully emerged in ‘94, taking home Rookie of the Year honors. He was named to the All-Star game the following season, and won his first Gold Glove award. Mondesi became the Dodgers first ever 30/30 man in 1997, and repeated the feat in 1999. He was traded to the Blue Jays the following year. Over his seven years in LA, he totaled a .288 average, .838 OPS, 163 homers, and 140 steals. Unfortunately, he didn’t maintain the same level of success off the field, as he is now serving an eight-year corruption sentence in his native Dominican Republic.
Pedro Guerrero played every position except shortstop, pitcher, and catcher during his Dodger tenure, but he’s being considered a right fielder for this list. One thing that remained constant regardless of where he lined up on the field was his bat. Guerrero was one of the most consistent hitters of the early 1980’s, despite being shuffled all over the diamond. He hit .309 over his 11 seasons in LA, hitting as high as .338 in 1987. Guerrero was a four-time All-Star in his Dodger tenure, with his best season coming in 1985. He hit .320 with 33 homers and a .999 OPS, and finished third in MVP voting, one of three top-five finishes in his career. Guerrero was traded midway through the Dodgers’ World Series run in 1988, but was a force in the lineup for the previous decade.