Sitting atop the National League West with an 18-10 record, the Los Angeles Dodgers are surprising no one to be where they are. With a payroll over $250 million, the Dodgers are expected to in the very least be a division leader.
What has been a surprise is the power that’s regularly been on display by a Dodgers lineup that lost Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez over the offseason. However, Adrian Gonzalez, who is tied for the National League lead in home runs with nine, isn’t among those surprised. He recently attempted to again explain the Dodgers’ offensive power numbers, via Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
(Catcher Yasmani Grandal), he’s a 15-home run guy. He’s going to hit 15. Jimmy (Rollins) is a 10-to-15 guy. He’s going to hit 10 to 15. Howie (Kendrick) is a 10-to-15 guy. He’s going to hit 10 to 15. Our third basemen as a whole are 20-to-25 guys. They’re going to hit 20 to 25 combined. Our left fielders with Slykie (Scott Van Slyke) and Carl (Crawford) and whoever plays there, are going to hit 15 to 25. Our right fielders with (Yasiel) Puig and (Andre) Ethier are going to be 20 to 25.”
It makes sense mathematically when you take the power potential of those players into account, but there are so many variables over the course over a 162-game season it’s still surprising to see a team’s home run numbers to jump so dramatically.
Last season, the Dodgers were 16th in the Majors with 134 home runs, which was slightly below league average and right around where most would expect the team to finish this season. Gonzalez, however, said he wasn’t buying into that this season:
Just add them up. I kept saying that earlier but you guys didn’t believe me.”
Despite the departure of Kemp, who hit 25 or more home runs on four different occasions as a Dodger, when you “add them up” as Gonzalez instructed, he’s right. The arrival of players such as Alex Guerrero and Joc Pederson, as well as several others who have provided extra pop in the lineup, has made it so there are more players in the lineup who can go deep than in previous seasons.
While Gonzalez led the Dodgers for much of the season in home runs, Pederson’s two dingers in Wednesday’s loss have moved him into a tie with the Dodgers’ first baseman for the team lead. The Dodgers lead the Majors with 47 home runs.
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