Young Player's Improvements Sparked Success

The Dodgers run on the National League Pennant was certainly a team effort, with a number of young players showing remarkable improvement and the addition of Manny Ramirez and Hiroki Kuroda. The changes can be seen in the comparisons of the 2007 and 2008 Runs Created lists.

Manny Ramirez crammed a fine season into his 60 days in Dodger Blue, ringing up a 15 Runs Created in just a third of the season to finish in the Dodgers' top five spots on the 2008 list. Including his time in Boston, he finished with 31 Win Shares. Andre Ethier's 23 WS led the 2008 team after recording 13 in 2007. Russell Martin topped the 2007 list with 24.

Comparing the 2007 and 2008 charts, you quickly see that Brad Penny (21), Jeff Kent (18), Takashi Saito (16), Rafael Furcal (15) totaled 70 between them in 2007, while the same four players could only manage 27 in 2008.

The difference was, including the addition of Ramirez's 15, the improvement of Ethier from 13 to 23; Matt Kemp from 9 to 19; Hong-Chic Kuo from zero to 10 and the addition of Hiroki Kuroda, who totaled 10.

Chad Billingsley and Derek Lowe improved, while the addition of Cory Wade (7) and Chan Ho Park (6), helped considerably.

Win Shares, a concept of Bill James, is a bit more inclusive way of measuring a players performance than Runs Created. The statistic allows comparison between players at different positions and represents the number of wins contributed by that player over a given season.

Win Shares are divided into batting (which includes base stealing), fielding and Pitching. They are adjusted for ballpark and for conditions, since runs is harder to score in Dodger Stadium than in Coors Field.

One point must be made: Win Shares measures contribution, not talent. If a player has a career year and hits, 45 home runs, he receives full credit for those home runs. The fact that he's never going to do it again doesn't figure into the single-season totals.

The 2007 and 2008 List of Win Shares

  2007 	 	          2008 
24—Russell Martin	23—Andre Ethier
20—Brad Penny	        19—Matt Kemp
18—Jeff Kent	        16—Chad Billingsley
17—Takashi Saito	16—Derek Lowe
16—James Loney	        15—Manny Ramirez
15—Rafael Furcal	14—James Loney
13—Andre Ethier	        13—Russell Martin
12—Chad Billingsley	10—Hong-Chih Kuo
12—Juan Pierre	        10—Hiroki Kuroda
12—Luis Gonzalez	 9—Jeff Kent
11—Nomar Garciaparra	 9—Juan Pierre
11—Derek Lowe	         9—Takashi Saito
10—Jonathan Broxton	 8-Rafael Furcal
10—Matt Kemp	         7—Cory Wade
 8—Wilson Betemit	 6—Chan Ho Park
 6—Olmedo Saenz	         4—Nomar Garciaparra
 4—Tony Abreu	         4—Guillermo Mota
 2—Andy LaRoche	         2—Chin-Lung Hu
 2—Scott Proctor	 2—Andruw Jones
 2—Delwyn Young	         2—Andy LaRoche
 1—Chin-Lung Hu	         2—Ramon Troncoso
 1—Eric Stults	         1—Danny Ardoin
 0—Hong-Chih Kuo	 1—Luis Maza
		         1—James McDonald
		         1—Eric Stults
		         1—Delwyn Young
		         0-Brad Penny
		         0—Mark Sweeney
		
 Top 10 performances

 Los Angeles	                 Brooklyn

39—Mike Piazza c 1997	        39—Duke Snider of 1954
37—Adrian Beltré 3b 2004	38—Jackie Robinson 2B 1951
36—Tommy Davis of 1962	        37—Duke Snider of 1953
35—Sandy Koufax p 1966	        36—Dazzy Vance p 1924
35—Pedro Guerrero of 1985	36—Jackie Robinson 2b 1949

34—Shawn Green of 2001	        36—Duke Snider of 1955 
33—Sandy Koufax p 1965	        35—Zach Wheat of 1924
33—Mike Piazza c 1996	        35—Harry Lumley of 1906
32—Maury Wills ss 1962	        34—Dan Brouthers 1b 1892
32—Sandy Koufax p 1963	        34—Jake Fournier 1b 1924
32—Jimmy Wynn of 1974	        34—Pete Reiser of 1941
32—Pedro Guerrero of 1983
Leaders by position
Martin's 24 Win Shares gives him the No. 9 spot on the Los Angeles catching chart. Furcal's 27 in 2006 was the fourth best.

Not surprisingly, Sandy Koufax holds the top three spots on the L.A. list and is second and third on the all-time charts, trailing only Dazzy Vance's 36 WS recorded in 1924.

Mike Piazza and Roy Campanella have their fingerprints all over the catching list; Steve Garvey is ranked seven times at first base; Jackie Robinson has the all-time 1-2-3-5 marks at second base; Maury Wills and Pee Wee Reese dominate at shortstop; Adrian Beltré and Ron Cey own third base and Duke Snider's excellence shows in four of the 10 all-time totals, including the top three.

  Los Angeles	                  All-Time

 	Pitchers
35—Sandy Koufax p 1966		36—Dazzy Vance p 1924
33—Sandy Koufax p 1965		35—Sandy Koufax p 1966
32—Sandy Koufax p 1963		33—Sandy Koufax p 1965
28—Andy Messersmith, 1975	32—Ed Pfeiffer, 1916
27—Don Drysdale, 1965		32—Burleigh Grimes, 1920
			        32—Dazzy Vance, 1928
26—Don Drysdale, 1964		32—Sandy Koufax p 1963
26—Claude Osteen, 1969	
26—Bill Singer, 1969		31—Nap Rucker, 1911
25—Don Drysdale, 1960		30—Ed Stein, 1892
25—Andy Messersmith, 1974	30—Jim Hughes, 1899
25—Orel Hershiser, 1988	        29—Tom Lovitt, 1891
25—Eric Gagné, 2003	        29—Bill Kennedy, 1893
		                29—Burleigh Grimes, 1921

 Catchers
39—Mike Piazza, 1997		39—Mike Piazza, 1997
33—Mike Piazza, 1996		33—Roy Campanella, 1951
31—Mike Piazza, 1993		33—Roy Campanella, 1953
29—Joe Ferguson, 1973		33—Mike Piazza, 1996
28—Paul Lo Duca, 2001	        31—Mike Piazza, 1993

27—Tom Haller, 1968	        29—Joe Ferguson, 1973
27—Mike Piazza, 1995	        28—Roy Campanella, 1955
26—Mike Scioscia, 1985	        28—Paul Lo Duca, 2001
24—Russell Martin, 2007	        27—Tom Haller, 1968
21—John Roseboro, 1966	        27—Mike Piazza, 1995
21—Mike Piazza, 1994	        26—Mike Scioscia, 1985
	
 First base 	
31—Eddie Murray, 1990	        34—Dan Brouthers,1892
29—Wes Parker, 1970             34—Jake Fournier, 1924
27—Steve Garvey, 1974	        33—Lefty O'Doul, 1932
26—Steve Garvey, 1976	        31—Eddie Murray, 1990
25—Steve Garvey, 1975	        30—Augie Galan, 1945
25—Steve Garvey, 1978	
25—Steve Garvey, 1979	        29—Jake Fournier, 1924
25—Eric Karros, 1995	        29—Dolph Camilli, 1941 
                                29—Gil Hodges, 1954
22—Steve Garvey, 1979	        29—Wes Parker, 1970      
22—Steve Garvey, 1980	        28—Dolph Camilli, 1939
22—Eric Karros, 1998	        28—Dolph Camilli, 1942

  Second base  	
31—Steve Sax, 1986              38—Jackie Robinson, 1951
29—Bill Grabarkewitz,1970       36—Jackie Robinson, 1949
28—Jim Gilliam, 1963            34—Jackie Robinson, 1952
28—Jeff Kent, 2005              31—Steve Sax, 1986     
27—Davey Lopes, 1979	        29—Jackie Robinson, 1950
		                29—Bill Grabarkewitz,1970
             	
26—Davey Lopes, 1978	        28—Hub Collins, 1890            
25—Charlie Neal, 1959	        28—Tom Daly, 1899               
25—Jim Lefebvre, 1966	        28—Andy High, 1924             
24—Davey Lopes, 1975	        28—Ed Stanky, 1946              
24—Davey Lopes, 1977            28—Jim Gilliam, 1956
24-Steve Sax, 1988	        28—Jim Gilliam, 1963

  Shortstop
32—Maury Wills, 1962	        32—PeeWee Reese, 1949
28—Maury Wills, 1965	        32—Maury Wills, 1962
27—Maury Wills, 1963	        28—Arky Vaughan, 1943
27—Rafael Furcal, 2006	        28—Maury Wills, 1965
25—Cesar Izturis, 2004	        27—Pee Wee Reese, 1942
     	                        27—Maury Wills, 1965
		                27—Rafael Furcal, 2006
21—Maury Wills, 1961	
20—Maury Wills, 1964	        26—Pee Wee Reese, 1946
20—Greg Gagné, 1996	        26—Pee Wee Reese, 1947
19—Maury Wills, 1971	        26—Pee Wee Reese, 1954
	
		
  Third base           
37—Adrian Beltré, 2004	        37—Adrian Beltré, 2004
32—Pedro Guerrero, 1983	        32—Pedro Guerrero, 1982
29—Dick Allen, 1971             29—Dick Allen, 1971       
28—Adrian Beltré, 2001	        28—Adrian Beltré, 2001
27—Ron Cey, 1975       	        27—Billy Herman, 1943       
27—Ron Cey, 1976       	        27—Ron Cey, 1975 
		                27—Ron Cey, 1976 
      
25—Ron Cey, 1978       	        25—Ron Cey, 1978        
25—Ron Cey, 1979       	        25—Ron Cey, 1979          
23—Ron Cey, 1974      	        23—Cookie Lavagetto, 1939  
23—Ron Cey, 1980       	        23—Ron Cey, 1974       
		                23—Ron Cey, 1980       		
  Outfield             
36—Tommy Davis, 1962	        39—Duke Snider, 1954
35—Pedro Guerrero, 1985	        37—Duke Snider, 1953
34—Shawn Green, 2001	        36—Duke Snider, 1955
31—Kirk Gibson, 1988	        36—Tommy Davis, 1962
31—Gary Sheffield, 2000	        35—Harry Lumley, 1906
30—Gary Sheffield, 2001	        35—Zach Wheat, 1924
  
30—Shawn Green, 2002	        35—Pedro Guerrero, 1985
30—Pedro Guerrero, 1982	        34—Pete Reiser, 1941
29—Tommy Davis, 1963	        34—Duke Snider, 1956
29—Reggie Smith, 1977	        34—Shawn Green, 2001

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