Thursday, December 29, 2011

Andre Ethier: The Man, The Myth, The Dodger

Andre Ethier, the left handed right fielder of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Drafted twice by Oakland, once in 2001 and again in 2003. Andre was finally signed with the A’s in July of 2003. Two years later, The Dodgers picked up Ethier in a trade, giving up Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez.

Andre made his major league debut on a Tuesday evening, May 2nd, 2006. That Arizona night at Chase Field,  Andre earned his first hit (double), first strikeout, and his first walk. He had also grounded into a double play.  A few weeks later, Andre went 5 for 5 with four runs scored.  He went on to play over 100 more games that year, 396 at bats, 50 runs, 122 hits, 20 doubles, 7! Yes 7 triples, 11 homers, and 55 RBIs. At the end of 2006, Andre had an impressive rookie batting average of .308!

In the Rookie of the Year voting results, Ethier finished  5th place for Rookie of the Year, and with impressive company. In 2006 guys like Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, and Prince Fielder were on that list. Ramirez had seized the title.

Andre Ethier's streak didn’t stop in 2006. His performance continued to impress both the Dodgers and fans alike. In 2009, Andre put up some more impressive digits. 31 homers, 106 RBIs, and 162 hits. Andre’s 2009 season put a Silver Slugger Award in his hands, along with teammate Matt Kemp. Andre wasn’t just about the bat, in 2011 he secured his first Gold Glove Award as well as his second career All Star Game nomination, again with Kemp at his side. With the 2011 season over, and 2012 closing in, Ethier has impressive career stats in just six seasons:  450 runs, 864 hits, 195 doubles, 18 triples,  109 homers, 446 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, and a career batting average of .291.

Andre is tough and has a winning attitude. In 2009 he was the 4th most hit by pitches player along with the most defensive games as an outfielder (158), with the best fielding percentages for an outfielder in 2008, 2010, and 2011. To top it all off, Andre came in 5th place for the most doubles in 2009.

2011 was an exciting year for Ethier and Dodger fans alike. Andre belted a 23-game hitting streak beating Joe Torre. His hitting streak ended at 30 games.

Enough crunching numbers... How about Andre Ethier's pure ability to entertain? Ethier busted out six walk-off hits, four of which were homers in 2009. Four walk-off home runs ties the major league record for one season. By the end of 2011, playing on a bad knee, Ethier benched himself for the season.

Mattingly is  saying that Andre will be healthy for spring training 2012. But to complicate things, Ethier will be eligible for free agency after his 2012 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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