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Share-Cropping 2004
2004-10-18 16:22
by Jon Weisman

The Dodgers improved by eight victories from 2003 to 2004, 85 to 93.

They did so in fairly bizarre fashion, with added performance at 11 of the 14 position slots on the 25-man roster and a decline at 10 of 11 pitching slots.

I've illustrated this using Win Shares, a Bill James-created formula that allows you to compare all players by combining that statistics into a single number. Now, not everyone likes Win Shares, but there are few better ways of comparing how each member of a roster has contributed to the team's success.

The following chart allocates, as I did last year, Win Shares by roster slot on the 25-man roster. This explains why you see, for example, Juan Encanacion on the same line as Hee Seop Choi, a player he was traded for, rather than Jayson Werth, a reserve who took over Encarnacion's outfield spot.

This isn't an entirely clean process because at certain times the Dodgers carried 12 pitchers, you'll see some overlap in the 11th pitching slot on this chart. But it basically tells you where the Dodgers were getting their production.

Dodger Win Shares by 25-Man Roster Slot: 2004 vs. 2003

Slot2004 WS2004 Players2003 WS2003 PlayersChange
C 115Paul Lo Duca 15, Brent Mayne 09Paul Lo Duca+6
C 21Dave Ross6Ross 4, Hundley 2, Hill 0-5
1B/OF17Shawn Green9McGriff 8, Ventura 1+8
2B 117Alex Cora13Alex Cora+4
SS 125Cesar Izturis11 Cesar Izturis+14
3B 137Adrian Beltre15 Adrian Beltre+22
IF-OF 110Jose Hernandez9Jolbert Cabrera+1
IF-OF 24Jason Grabowski1Larry Barnes 1, Daryle Ward 0+3
1B-3B 16Robin Ventura2Mike Kinkade+4
1B-3B 24Olmedo Saenz0Ron Coomer+4
OF 119Dave Roberts 10, Steve Finley 920Shawn Green-1
OF 217Milton Bradley10Brian Jordan 7, Jeromy Burnitz 3+7
OF 38Juan Encanacion 8, Hee Seop Choi 09Dave Roberts 8, Wilkin Ruan 1-1
OF 412Werth 12, Chen 0, Thurston 01 Henderson 1, Romano et al 0+11
SP 112Odalis Perez20 Kevin Brown-8
SP 212Jeff Weaver17 Hideo Nomo-5
SP 39Jose Lima13Alvarez 10, Dreifort 3-4
SP 46Kazuhisa Ishii8Odalis Perez 6, Edwin Jackson 2-2
SP 5(-4)Penny 1, Kida 1, Jackson 0, Nomo (-6)7Kazuhisa Ishii 6, Masao Kida 1-11
RP 116Eric Gagne25Eric Gagne-9
RP 212Guillermo Mota 8, Yhency Brazoban 414Guillermo Mota-2
RP 34Darren Dreifort 2, Elmer Dessens 211Paul Quantrill-7
RP 46Duaner Sanchez7Paul Shuey-1
RP 51Tom Martin 1, Mike Venafro 05Tom Martin-4
RP 613Alvarez 6, Carrara 7, Falkenborg et al 03Colyer 2, Brohawn 1, Ashby 0+10

Source: The Hardball Times

Even before the sharp decline of the starting pitching in September, position players carried the Dodgers in 2004. Adrian Beltre was nearly 50 percent more valuable than any other Dodger over the past two seasons, and Cesar Izturis was as valuable this year as Eric Gagne was during his Cy Young-winning 2003. Beltre, for that matter, provided more value than the Dodgers' entire starting rotation (save Wilson Alvarez). Los Angeles also got much better production from its bench in 2004.

I started to analyze what this means for 2005, but I cut that effort short. The same conclusions keep returning - Beltre is huge, catcher is vacant, pitching is needed, retaining Finley and replacing Cora could be overrated. Izturis' value might be the biggest revelation here.

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