Time with Dodgers: 1981-1988
Stats: .282/.339/.356/.696, 30 HR, 333 RBI, 1,218 H, 129 2B, 363 BB, 97 OPS+
Baseball Reference WAR: 15.9
FanGraphs WAR: 14.3
Combined WAR: 15.1
Steve Sax was the second baseman for the Dodgers for eight seasons. He won two championships while in Los Angeles. During his time with the team, he was a three-time All-Star, Silver Slugger Award winner, MVP finalist, and Rookie of the Year.
We’ll start with his Rookie of the Year campaign in 1982, in which he just edged out Johnny Ray of the Pirates. Among rookies in the National League that season, Sax ranked second in runs (88), second in hits (180), fourth in doubles (23), second in triples (7), fifth in RBI (47), first in walks (49) and first in stolen bases (49). Sax’s 49 stolen bases are a Dodgers rookie record.
Sax was an All-Star the following season, and put up nearly identical numbers to his rookie campaign. When I say nearly identical, I mean it. Compared to the previous season, he had five less hits, scored six more runs, five less doubles, one more home run, six less RBI, seven more stolen bases, and his batting average and OPS were both within two points of the previous season, respectively.
Sax’s numbers took a bit of a hit over the next two seasons. He hit a combined .259, had only two homers, and wasn’t getting on base nearly as much as he was for the first two years of his career.
He bounced back nicely in 1986, as he had arguably the best season of his career with the Dodgers. Sax slashed .332/.390/.441/.830 with six homers, 56 RBI, 210 hits and 40 stolen bases. He’s one of 18 players since the live-ball era to finish a season with at least 210 hits and 40 stolen bases. At the time, he was the seventh to ever do it. No other Dodgers player has done it.
The best stretch of his season came during the final 30 games. From September 3 through October 5, Sax hit .411/.475/.556/1.031. For over a month, he was getting on base in nearly half of his at-bats.
Over his final two seasons with the Dodgers, Sax would yet again be consistent. From 1987 through 1988, he hit .279 with an on-base percentage of .328. He had 346 hits, scored 154 runs and stole a combined 79 bases.
Here’s where Sax ranks among second basemen in Dodgers history:
- 1,091 games (2nd)
- 1,218 hits (1st)
- 574 runs (2nd)
- 159 doubles (2nd)
- 30 home runs (4th)
- 333 RBI (3rd)
- 290 stolen bases (2nd)