One of the first moves the Dodgers made this past off-season was to sign light-hitting, but slick fielding, veteran second baseman Mark Ellis.
Ellis started the season in the No. 2 spot, doing a masterful job of moving runners over and was among the league leaders in runs scored while the Dodgers had one of the National League’s best records over the first two months of the season.
However, Ellis sustained a brutal leg injury after being taken out on a slide by the St. Louis Cardinals’ Tyler Greene. Ellis spent time in the hospital and doctors said his injury was most similar to ones sustained by car accident victims.
After missing nearly two months Ellis was back at it for the Dodgers. Although, he and the Dodgers offense slowed-down over the second half of the season, Mark did what he was brought in to do, moving runners over, getting on base and playing stellar defense at second base.
Mark was second amongst all MLB second basemen in fielding percentage (.994) behind only the Chicago Cubs’ Darwin Barney.
Ellis even became the Dodgers’ lead off hitter for most of the last month of the season.
The Numbers: .258 BA, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 62 R, .333 OBP, .697 OPS, 110 games played
Mark Ellis is known more for his glove, rather than his bat and his numbers this year were not too far off his career line of .265/.331/.725.
Mark’s 62 runs scored this season were his most since scoring 84 for Oakland back in 2007. That was also good for 3rd most on the Dodgers behind Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
Ellis was also tied for third on the club in walks behind A.J. Ellis and Ethier.
Ellis also missed nearly two months of the season with a leg injury, although overshadowed by the absence of Matt Kemp this season, there is no doubt the Dodgers missed Mark’s presence in the lineup as well.
April 13 vs. Padres – Mark started an offensive onslaught by singling home two runs in the third inning. Mark drew a lead-off walk in the ninth inning, stole second and scored the winning run after a bases-loaded walk to Andre Ethier.
May 11 vs. Rockies – Mark showed some power against his former team, hitting his first home run of the year and hitting a two-run double in a 7-3 romp by the Dodgers.
July 13 vs. Padres – Mark hit the go-ahead two-run home run off of the Padres’ Clayton Richard to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead that would hold up for a win. This was Mark’s first homer and runs driven in since missing nearly two months with a leg injury.
Aug. 19 vs. Braves – Mark drove in a season-high four runs against the Braves and went 2-for-5 with a double in a 5-0 shutout. The four RBIs were Mark’s most in a game since May of 2011 in a 14-0 defeat of the Angels while Ellis was with Oakland.
Sept. 15 vs. Cardinals – Mark hit a game-tying solo home run in the third inning of a key match-up with the Cardinals, whom the Dodgers were trying to catch for the final wild-card spot. The Dodgers would go on to win the game 4-3 and keep their playoff hopes alive at the time.
Mark Ellis is signed for next season and will make $5.25 million dollars. Dodger fans should expect to see a healthy Ellis back at the top of the order getting on base and scoring runs for what should be a potent Dodgers’ offense next season.
As well, Ellis will continue to vacuum up any ground ball that comes his way. Even at age 35, Ellis remains one the premiere defensive second basemen in the league.
Some Dodger fans have clamored for the team to try Dee Gordon out at second base, but Ellis is a veteran and proven player and the Dodgers are paying him to be there.
Look for more of Ellis’s veteran presence in 2013.