The Los Angeles Dodgers have been getting some national attention for their new offensive approach. Of course, the Dodgers have a new hitting coach in wunderkind Robert Van Scoyoc. Furthermore, it helps when you run out of the gates scoring eight runs per ballgame.
Now, Buster Olney writes over at ESPN Insider about the focus behind the Dodgers’ hitting philosophy. In a word, it’s very interesting and in-depth.
Column: The collective rage and focus that is driving the Dodgers' hitters to improvement. https://t.co/8asA507Ag9
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) April 9, 2019
Have you felt like the Dodgers are making better contact this season? Indeed, they are doing just that.
But the greatest evidence of change — the manifestation of the effort to improve — is in the next-level metrics. The Dodgers’ early-season swing-and-miss rate is 7.8 percent, the second-best rate in baseball and about half of what it was in 2017. The team’s contact rate on pitches in the zone is 81.4 percent, the second-best in the majors. And the Dodgers — those guys who seemed to hack at everything the Red Sox threw last fall — have swung at the lowest percentage of pitches out of the zone, at 23.6 percent. That’s the best in the majors.
Moreover, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Olney writes that two plans of attack are offered for the Dodgers’ position players. This is where it gets interesting.
Every day, veteran catcher Russell Martin said, each of the Dodgers’ position players is presented with two plans — first, a teamwide approach against the opposing staff, and second, an individualized plan of attack. The rate at which the Dodgers’ staff has been accurate in predicting how opposing pitchers will work has been remarkable, in Martin’s experienced eyes.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Martin said. “It’s another level.
“It’s like having to pass a test — but you’re getting all of the answers ahead of time.”
Obviously – this is an intelligent and unique approach – derived by the man I will start dubbing as ‘RVS’. Certainly, Van Scoyoc is an incredible and brilliant addition to the club offensively. His unique approach and teaching has already shown adjustments being made by the likes of Cody Bellinger and Austin Barnes.
The sky is the limit for the Dodgers’ offense in 2019. I truly believe they may be only scratching the surface.
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