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Breaking Down The Dodgers First Half Offense

There is some minor statistical analysis in this article–I am breaking down their offense after all. That said–there is A LOT you can take from this information, specifically in defense of the modern metrics that the Dodgers bats tend to take. Let’s take a look at the first half of 2018 Dodgers.

The Dodgers finished the first half 53-43. They are 10 games above .500 and a half a game in front of the Diamondbacks. Much was said in the first month or so about the Dodgers offense because they weren’t winning. They weren’t scoring. A lot of it has to do with the idea that a sabermetric approach to offense lives in streaks. It lives in peaks and valleys. It lives in the statistical calculation that the successes outweigh the struggles. Let’s take a look at where the Dodgers rank in the National League.

2018

HR R OBP SLG OPS WRC+
1st 5th 4th 2nd 3rd T-1st

Top 5 in all categories in the NL isn’t too shabby. It’s not quite the dominance in those categories we held at the end of last year, but given the loss of Seager for the year it’s impressive. This, not to mention many of our good hitters (Turner, Puig) have had one or more stints on the DL. Let’s take a look at the team leaders.

Team Leaders

H 2B HR OBP OPS
Matt Kemp Cody Bellinger Max Muncy Max Muncy Max Muncy

 

Just like everybody predicted, right? Muncy across the board with Bellinger and Kemp, too? Max Muncy has been a complete shock this year, as everybody knows. If I included the other categories that are popular, you’d see a dominant “Muncy” across the board, with a few categories having Kemp’s name. Matt Kemp leads the team in the old-school stat-RBI’s. This comes from batting 4th or 5th in the lineup and his propensity to hit the ball with runners in scoring position. Don’t get fixated on RBI’s, folks.

Stolen Bases

What are those? The team leader for SB is Yasiel Puig with seven. Yes, seven. In this day and age, the stolen base has largely fallen out of favor. Regardless of where you fall on this subject, the Dodgers not being a running team actually makes a lot of sense. Taylor and Bellinger can flat out fly, but neither has shown a propensity for getting good leads. Nobody on the team is really a great base stealer, and modern metrics and Dodger offense always seems to cut short when we push too hard to steal a base. The Dodgers stolen base total of 31 is second to last in the National League.

BABIP, Soft Contact, Hard Contact

Without trying to lose too many of you, let me break down what I find very important about the rest of the season for the Dodgers. BABIP means “batting average on balls in play.” To break it down simply, a higher BABIP is typically regarded to have a certain amount of luck. When a player or team has a high BABIP, it’s accepted that there is a high likelihood for regression. The Dodgers are 3rd to last in BABIP in the national league. The batting average on balls hit in play for the Dodgers¬†is very low, and yet their soft contact % is in the lower half of the NL, and the hard contact is middle of the pack. If you break this down, this mostly points to the idea that the Dodgers should have even a little more hitting success as the time goes on.

Dodgers
Jul 13, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy (13) celebrates with first baseman Cody Bellinger (35) after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing about that is definitive, obviously. Even with the metrics we have in this day and age, nothing can account for bad luck or circumstance. The Dodgers BABIP could remain entirely the same and yet yield worse results. That is not what the numbers typically tell us will happen, though. So we can have a little optimism that even 10 games over 500 and first place–the Dodgers may yet improve. This – coupled with the fact that the Dodgers have acquired Manny Machado – means the second half could be a lot of fun, folks!

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Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

One Comment

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  1. What scares me is the fact that Dave Roberts only played for the homerun. Glad this article mentioned stolen bases, but what happened to something called a hit and run? Seems like when the dodgers offense is going bad Roberts just sits back and waits for the dinger. I am one that actually thinks Roberts does a pretty good job. But you live and die by the homerun.

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