Archive for the ‘ Baserunning ’ Category

At age 35, A.J. Ellis steals first MLB base

Ellis SB

Previously on Dodger Insider: A.J. Ellis and the mythical stolen base

By Jon Weisman

Five weeks ago, A.J. Ellis acknowledged, not without some pride, that he knew he was of the all-time leaders in MLB history for most times on base without a steal in his career.

Today, history broke.

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Postscript: A.J. Ellis and the mythical stolen base

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

By Jon Weisman

In today’s feature on A.J. Ellis, the Dodger catcher said he had no idea how high he ranked among the franchise leaders in games caught.

But there was one piece of history that Ellis was acutely aware of. That’s when I asked him if he remembered his last stolen base.

“That hasn’t happened in the Major Leagues, I know that,” Ellis said. “I think I’m top five without a stolen base for as many (times on base) as I’ve got.”

Most times on base with no steals, MLB history
1) 835 Russ Nixon (1957-68)
2) 818 Aaron Robinson (1943-51)
3) 801 Chris Snyder (2004-13)
4) 710 Johnny Estrada (2001-08)
5) 632 A.J. Ellis (2008-)
6) 620 Wilson Ramos (2010-)
7) 607 Ryan Garko (2005-10)
8) 541 Al Ferrara (1963-71)
9) 515 Jack Hiatt (1964-62)

He was exactly right. Ellis has reached base 632 times in his career, without a steal. In MLB history, only four steal-heeled players, led by Russ Nixon (835), have been on the bases more — though Wilson Ramos, the opposing catcher in the recently completed series against the Nationals, is coming up, well, fast behind Ellis.

Ellis has a firm grip on the Dodger franchise record, having sped past Al Ferrara.

How badly does Ellis want to get a steal before his career is over? Or does he even want one?

“It’s kind of getting to that point now where it’s a fun fact about me,” Ellis said, “but, no I do. I’m always looking. I want to get one off somebody that it would really tick off. Like I want to get one off (Madison) Bumgarner, I think. That would really tick him off, to see that I stole on him. But he’s tough.”

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Puig on the play: ‘I got confused’

By Jon Weisman

When it was all over, Yasiel Puig and Dave Roberts discussed the highs and lows of Puig’s day after today/tonight’s 17-inning Dodger victory.

His ninth-inning baserunning mishap during A.J. Ellis’ bunt was in the back of Puig’s mind when he drove in the game-winning runs, eight innings later, according to The Associated Press:

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Steals aren’t really the deal for Dodgers

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By Cary Osborne

Forgive me Maury Wills for what I’m about to write.

Through the first 16 games of the year, the Dodgers are 6 of 10 in stolen base attempts, and there are only seven Major League teams with fewer stolen bases. It’s pretty clear with the unit they have, they aren’t going to be near the top of baseball, or the National League for that matter, in stolen bases.

Would it matter if they stole a lot of bases?

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Corey Seager busy in return to action


By Jon Weisman

The fates didn’t waste any time throwing the business at Corey Seager in his first Dodger game in nearly three weeks.

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Textbook first inning takes Dodgers to opening victory

Andre Ethier is greeted by Dave Roberts after scoring the Dodgers' second run of the season. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Andre Ethier is greeted by Dave Roberts after scoring the Dodgers’ second run of the season. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

The first inning of the Dodgers’ 6-1 Cactus League opening victory over the White Sox (summarized by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com) was a Spring Training work of art.

After Clayton Kershaw’s initial shutout inning, leadoff hitter Howie Kendrick worked a walk off Chicago starter John Danks. Facing the White Sox lefty in his first at-bat of the season, Andre Ethier singled the opposite way.

Two of the next three hitters — Yasiel Puig and Yasmani Grandal — then hit solid RBI singles. Significantly, a baserunner went from first to third on each.

“If you look at the numbers of how this team ran the bases last year, we can do better,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s a point of emphasis for sure. It’s more of a mindset than a style of baseball. That’s how you play the game.”

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Dodgers trade Joe Wieland for Erick Mejia

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mejia 1443710By Jon Weisman

Speedy, switch-hitting minor-league infielder Erick Mejia has been acquired by the Dodgers from Seattle in exchange for right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland.

Mejia, who turned 21 in November, played at four levels in 2015, spending most of his time with Single-A Everett, where he had a .361 on-base percentage and was successful in all 18 of his stolen-base attempts. Over his last two years, Mejia has stolen 33 bases in 36 attempts.

On August 3, Mejia was named Northwest League Player of the Week, after going 12 for 28 with a double, triple, two walks and two steals.

Wieland, who was acquired 13 months ago in the Yasmani Grandal trade, made two starts for the Dodgers, allowing eight runs in 8 2/3 innings. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, delivering a 4.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He turns 26 later this month.

Carl Crawford can find inspiration in his own dugout

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By Cary Osborne

Major League outfielders 33 years old or above who are at least semi-regulars (at least 300 plate appearances) are a rare breed. And history shows, that they’ve been rare since the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1906, there were 11 of them. In 1966, there were three. In 2015, 17 players fit that category — including Andre Ethier, who was a top-five offensive player out of that group (click to enlarge).

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But this discussion is about another subset of that category because the subject of this story is Carl Crawford. That subset is the mid-30s outfielder with speed.

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Second baseman Micah Johnson in the running

Micah Johnson appeared in 36 games for the White Sox in 2015. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Micah Johnson appeared in 36 games for the White Sox in 2015. (Jon Durr/Getty Images)

By Cary Osborne

The Dodgers’ Wednesday trade that brought over a trio of prospects from the Chicago White Sox added a new entrant into the race for second base in 2016. And if it’s a foot race we’re talking about, Micah Johnson would win — hands down.

Johnson, 24, is an interesting figure. He doesn’t fit the Dodgers’ recent profile of guys who give the team flexibility by playing multiple positions. In four minor league seasons, he has played second base only. But his speed on the basepaths offers the Dodgers something they were obviously short on last season.

In 2013, Baseball America rated him as the best baserunner in the Low-A South Atlantic League, a season in which he stole 84 bases in 110 tries.

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Utley slide turns NLDS tide

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Cary Osborne

In the 52 days that Chase Utley has been a Dodger, some of the most common compliments have been about his aggressiveness, especially on the basepaths.

One Utley baserunning play in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 5-2 National League Division Series victory Saturday night resulted in a collision, a broken right fibula for Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada and a gargantuan swing of momentum in favor of the Dodgers. All of those forces combined to create controversy as well because of the nature of the slide.

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