Time with Dodgers: 1998-2001
Stats: .312/.424/.573/.998, 129 HR, 367 RBI, 583 H, 358 R, 160 OPS+, 1,070 TB
Baseball Reference WAR: 17.0
FanGraphs WAR: 18.3
Combined WAR: 17.65
In May of 1998, Gary Sheffield was traded to the Dodgers from the Florida Marlins. That was the trade that sent Mike Piazza away. Well, at least the Dodgers got decent production from someone in that trade, so it wasn’t a total loss!
Overall, Sheffield spent three-and-half season in Los Angeles, and for the most part he was really productive. Over the course of his potentially Hall-of-Fame career, Sheffield put up his best numbers while while LA.
He impressed right away, as he hit .316 with an OPS of just under 1.000 during his first season in LA. Though he only appeared in 90 games, he showed that he was still one of the best outfielders in the National League. Sheffield was named to the All-Star team. In 1998, he finished fifth in the NL in on-base percentage (.428), sixth in walks (95), and 10th in OPS+ (155).
1999 was his first full season, and boy he he put on a show. Sheffield hit 34 homers and drove in 101 runs. He was named an All-Star for the second straight season. Yet again, he finished top 10 in the NL in both on-base percentage and walks.
In addition to having one of the best bats in the National League, Sheffield had arguably some of the best eyes. During his time in Los Angeles, he walked more times than he struck out, and it wasn’t even close. In 526 games with the Dodgers, Sheffield walked 365 times and struck out only 232 times. For most players, they strike out that many times over the course of two seasons, Sheffield had that many over four. His high number of walks led to his amazing on-base percentage, which was .424 while with the Dodgers.
2000 was his best season while with the Dodgers. He was an All-Star for the third straight season, while finishing ninth in N.L. MVP voting. He clubbed 43 homers and drove in 109 runs. During his 22-year career, those 43 homers were the most he’d ever hit in a single season. Overall, he finished top 10 in a lot of National League categories, including ninth in average (.325), third in on-base percentage (.438), third in OPS (1.081), sixth in home runs (43) and second in OPS+ (176).
Sheffield had a two-month stretch in which you could make a case he was the best hitter in baseball. From May 29 through August 2, Sheffield posted a slash line of .368/.477/.713/1.190. Not too bad. In 60 games, he hit 19 home runs and drove in 48 runs. He was on-pace to have a 50+ homer season. He had 77 hits, scored 40 runs, and walked almost exactly double the amount of times he struck out.
2001 would be Sheffield’s final season with the Dodgers, but he still was one of the best outfielders in the league. He hit .311 and yet again posted an OPS of 1.000. He hit 36 homers, drove in 100 runs and had 160 hits. If you’re wondering, the answer is yes. He finished the season in the top 10 for walks and on-base percentage.
That offseason, Sheffield was traded to the Atlanta Braves.