In 2008, Andre Ethier had a breakout season for the Dodgers, hitting .305/.375/.510 for a team that made it to the National League Championship Series. His .382 wOBA that year was good for 10th among all MLB outfielders, impressive for a player who had spent much of his first two seasons in the big leagues battling lesser players like Luis Gonzalez & Juan Pierre for playing time. The following year, the Dodgers made it back to the NLCS, and Ethier was a huge part of that success; while his wOBA was slightly down to .370 (which still made him a top-20 outfielder), he increased his home runs from 20 to 31 and left behind a string of lasting memories, since it seemed that every time you looked up in 2009, Ethier was hitting a walkoff and being mobbed by teammates at home plate. At 27 years old, Ethier had a career line of .291/.363/.490 in four seasons and had established himself not only as an up-and-coming star but as one of the few feathers in general manager Ned Colletti’s cowboy hat, considering he’d been stolen from Billy Beane & the Athletics when it became clear Milton Bradley had to go after 2005.
While the future may have looked bright for both Ethier and the Dodgers at that point, it hasn’t really worked out that way for either party. The Dodgers, saddled by the whirlwind controversies brought on by the excesses of owner Frank McCourt, went just one game over .500 over the last two seasons, not sniffing the playoffs either time. Ethier, while still relatively productive despite battling injuries, has seen his power all but disappear. A slugging percentage that was .508 in 2009 has fallen to .493 in 2010 and down to .421 in 2011, when he hit just 11 homers and had a .343 wOBA that barely placed him within the top 30 among outfielders.
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