Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Is Andre Ethier For Real?
Andre Ethier has been on an absolutely ridiculous tear the past three weeks (20 hits in his last 40 at-bats). After going 3 for 5 last night with two doubles and two RBIs, he now owns a staggering .393/.452/.732 line through 30 games...oh, and he's tied for the league lead in HRs and is the league leader in RBIs with 34. That Ethier is a good player is not new news, he had himself a breakout campaign last year hitting 31 HRs and driving in 106. Now in his 5th season with the Dodgers, he has continued to improve every year and if he can eclipse last year's numbers, he is in line to join the elite of Major League outfielders.
Originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft, he was traded to the Dodgers in December of 2005 for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez. As you know, this author believes that a players Minor League track record points to the degree of Major League success they'll have and Ethier's 4 seasons of minor league ball foreshadowed the type of success he's having now. In 2005, Ethier was named the Texas League Player of the Year and the MVP of the Oakland A's farm system and during his 4 seasons of Minor League ball he hit a robust .314/.386/.458 with 27 HRs and 165RBI in 309 games. It took a few years of his Minor League success to translate onto the Major League level, but it appears he has now hit his stride while at the same time growing into the power potential he showed in his early-20s.
Ethier will inevitably go through some offensive regression here soon, but he's certainly showing continued improvement and is on pace to have the best season of his young career. I'll leave you with what is perhaps the most impressive component of Ethier's game, and that is his ability to come through in the clutch. Over the last 5 seasons, Ethier has 11 walk-off hits including 6 walk-off HRs, by far the most in the Major Leagues over that period of time.