Coming into spring training this year, the Los Angeles Dodgers had 4 outfielders for 3 spots: the recently signed Andruw Jones, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and the overpaid Juan Pierre. Most Dodgers fans, including me, were adamant that the Dodgers outfield should be Ethier-Jones-Kemp. I voiced my opinion on numerous occasions here on Faketeams. But the fact that Joe Torre was 1) in his first year as Dodgers manager, and 2) loves veterans, it appeared that Pierre would be the starter, and Ethier and Kemp would battle for the 3rd outfield spot. But, Ethier settled the argument by having a much better spring training than Juan Pierre, and won the starting leftfield spot, with Jones and Kemp.
Ethier had a solid April, but began to slump in May, continued to slump in June and started losing ABs to Pierre. Ether handled sitting on the bench with class saying all the right things and was a team player. But then he got hot again in July and has remained hot through August and the first week in September.
He now leads the Dodgers in HRs after hitting his 20th last night in a rout of Dan Haren and the Diamondbacks 7-0. He went 5 for 5 last night with a HR and 5 RBIs. In September he is 11 for 15 with 2 HR and 6 RBIs. Since the All Star break he is hitting .310 with 9 HRs, 24 RBIs, slugging .613 with an OPS of .976.
Ethier has solidified his spot in the Dodgers lineup this year, while Pierre has sat on the bench and complained to the press, something Ethier took in stride back in June.
On the season, Ethier is hitting .292 with 20 HRs, 65 RBIs and an OPS of .866. He plays a solid OF, displays an above average arm, and somehow leads the Dodgers in HRs.
Is this a breakout season for Ethier? Can he improve upon his power numbers in 2009?