2011 Dodgers Positional Review: Shortstop

Injuries prevented Rafael Furcal from making a significant impact but Dodgers fans got a glimpse of the future in Dee Gordon's debut.

Coming off an injury-plagued yet productive season, Rafael Furcal entered the final year of his contract with the Dodgers looking to rebound from nagging ailments that limited him to just 97 contests in 2010. Unfortunately, Raffy didn't last much more than a week before suffering his first of many setbacks in 2011 when he hurt his wrist on a check swing. He then broke his thumb a few games later and was placed on the disabled list. His return in late May lasted all of two weeks before straining his oblique while making a throw. He returned in early July, batting just .167 before finally being traded to the Cards at the deadline.

Altogether, he missed over two months and wasn't even productive when he was in the lineup. His overall line was .199/.273/.250 and his UZR was -1.1. His WAR with the Dodgers was -0.3. While the Dodgers didn't reap the benefits of his services, he did go on to win a World Series ring with the Cardinals. So there's that.

Enter Jamey Carroll: Dodgers' savior. I have to admit that I was skeptical of Carroll when he was first signed but I doubt anyone would have imagined that he'd be as valuable as he was in his time with the Dodgers. Last season he did an admirable job filling in as the Dodgers' shortstop when Furcal was injured, putting up underrated offense and held his own with the glove. I wish him well in Minnesota.

And now for the future. Upon word of Furcal's second trip to the disabled list, the Dodgers called up Dee Gordon to play shortstop. He pinch ran for Juan Uribe against Philly on June 6th, marking his MLB debut. The next day, he went 3 for 5 with a stolen base in his first career start. However, he ended the month batting just .243 and returned to the minors once Furcal healed. He returned to the majors upon Furcal's trade but suffered an injured shoulder on August 9th and missed three weeks. But that wasn't the last of Dee. He returned on September 1st and ended up hitting .372 in the final month of the season, securing the starting spot for 2012.

Three more players got reps at short. Justin Sellers hit his first career homer while playing short and UZR loved his defense, giving him 2.8 runs and 28.2 per 150 games played. Juan Uribe got 9 at bats at short, collecting 2 hits and earning a -0.1 UZR. Aaron Miles collected 2 at bats at the position but didn't make a play in the field.

In sum, the Dodgers ranked 19th in MLB in OPS at short and 24th in UZR. Furcal's injuries really hurt and while Carroll was adequate, his production wasn't anything special. Gordon's contributions were modest and should improve over time. The rest of the group likely won't be much of a factor in 2012.

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