2012 Dodgers Player Profile: Justin Sellers, Dr. Not-So-Strangeglove

Justin Sellers must be a slick fielder because he got this tag down fast enough to get the out call on this play.

Southern California native Justin Sellers (Marina High School of Huntington Beach) made his major league debut last year after the Los Angeles Dodgers purchased his contract from Albuquerque on August 12. Sellers provided the Dodgers with some solid defensive play at shortstop, as well as logging some time at the other infield positions.

2012 Dodgers Player Profiles
This continues our series of 2012 player profiles, where we will analyze one player per day, between now and the end of spring training. This is also the spot for our community projections, so be sure to give us your predictions for each player for this season in the comments section.

After having some initial success at the plate in the majors, Sellers, the son of former major-league pitcher Jeff Sellers, tailed off sharply to finish the season with a .584 OPS.

Sellers knows what kinds of corrections he needs to make at the plate to succeed in the majors, telling True Blue LA's Eric Stephen, "I worked on becoming the player that I'm going to have to be to stick here. I used to get out of my comfort zone to try to lift and hit home runs", and he knows whom he needs to pattern himself after, noting that he, "really came to grasp the type of player I can be, by hitting line drives, getting on base, very similar to Jamey Carroll."

The smooth fielding shortstop also recognizes how playing in the dry altitude of Albuquerque can create unwanted temptations for hitters because, "you see that ball jumping out and it makes you want to get some, and I did. But that's not the type of player I'm going to be at [the major-league] level. I understand what type of player I am, and I've been working on it."

Carroll, the former Dodger utility infielder, mentored his young counterpart while both were on the Dodger roster and Sellers spoke well of the veteran, "He talked to me, helped me out, whether it was on the field or off the field, about situations, defense. There is always something to learn in this game, and a veteran like Jamey helped me a lot."

The Bellflower-born Sellers was originally drafted by the Oakland As in 2005, and was subsequently traded to the Chicago Cubs for Michael Wuertz shortly before spring training opened in 2009. At the end of the spring, the Dodgers promised "future considerations" to the Cubs to acquire Sellers.

Our own Brandon Lennox has never ranked Sellers high on his prospect lists, rating him 75th prior to the 2010 season, 48th one year ago, and 34th one month ago stating, "I don’t think he’ll really ever be more than a backup infielder without much pop. His defense should allow him to stay around the league for a while, but he might be someone who bounces around with quite a few teams before his career is done."

Brandon's prediction has merit, but many a good-fielding middle infielder has lasted a long time in the majors if they can OPS around .700. Perhaps Sellers was able to spend some time with Juan Castro also.

Trivia:

Sellers uses the same glove, a shortstop model, whether playing that position, second base, or third base. I hope Joe Morgan never notices that.

Earlier this spring Sellers was part of a group of sons of major-leaguers that hit for a natural cycle in a single inning: Tony Gwynn Jr. singled, Sellers doubled, Ivan DeJesus, Jr. tripled, and then Scott Van Slyke hit a home run.

Contract Status:

Per the True Blue LA Dodgers Payroll Worksheet (big props to Eric), Sellers has accrued 48 days of major league service time and has all three minor-league options remaining. He also barely maintained his rookie eligibility for this season.

Previous Dodgers Player Profiles:

None

Stats:

Year Age PA HR
Runs RBI BA OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
2010 (AAA)
24 344 14
51
56
.285 .371 .497 .377 120
2011 (AAA)
25 322 14
57
49
.304 .400 .537 .402 129
2011 (NL)
25 139 1 20
13
.203 .283 .301 .267 66
2012 Projections - Age 26 Season



System PA HR
Runs RBI BA OBP SLG wOBA
Bill James 130 3
15 12
.235 .305 .361 .295
Marcel 270
5
34
28
.242 .313 .375
.306
ZiPS 520 8
54 42
.232 .308 .349 .292
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

2012 Outlook:

While Sellers is a candidate to make the 25-man roster for Opening Day, I think he starts the year in AAA Albuquerque as insurance against an injury to shortstop Dee Gordon that would entail a visit to the disabled list, given that Sellers main value is being able to field that position at a major league level. I predict he does gets called up when rosters expand, hitting .235 / .307 / .350 in limited playing time.

What is your prediction for Justin Sellers in 2012? Be sure to guess BA/OBP/SLG, and anything else you wish to guess.

Thanks to baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com for the statistics.

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