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By the Numbers: What Effects Will Manny Machado Have on the Dodgers’ Offense?

Manny Machado
Apr 6, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) watches his solo home run against the New York Yankees during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

With the second half of the 2018 season about to get underway, the Dodgers have realized holes in their team make-up that need addressing. On Wednesday, the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado. Los Angeles secured baseball’s, arguably, top hitting shortstop. Let’s take a look at the impact he will have on an already explosive lineup.

This trade comes at a convenient time for the Dodgers as their franchise shortstop, Corey Seager, went down with a sprained UCL in late April and underwent Tommy John surgery. Seeing as Manny Machado is a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, this acquisition by the Dodgers will most likely be a 3-month rental with hopes to achieve a world series this year. So, the obvious question is this: how will adding Manny Machado’s bat to the Dodger lineup affect Dodger offense the rest of the way?

First-Half Offense

Team Rank

Dodgers Runs scored RBIs HRs BBs AVG OPS OBP SLG WAR
Totals 453 424 129 364 .244 .753 .325 .429 15.6
MLB rank 9th 10th 5th 5th 20th 7th 9th 6th 7th
Dodgers
Jul 3, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers outfielders Matt Kemp (left) and Kike Hernandez (center) and Yasiel Puig (66) celebrate after the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers defeated the Pirates 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As can be seen, the Dodgers’ offense a whole has not been bad by any means. They rank in the top-10 in all major

categories except hitting average. This points to two realities about the current offensive culture in the Dodger clubhouse: 1) They get on base a lot & 2) they hit a lot of home runs. These two dynamics, when paired together, actually bring about positive results in the modern-day MLB era. However, the Dodgers do struggle to hit for average when they are not slugging homers and earning walks. Additionally, the Dodgers have a healthy 15.6 team WAR. All in all, the Dodger offense has been effective. The team places among the top-10 offenses in all of baseball in the first half, all without Manny Machado.

Shortstop

Dodgers SS Runs scored RBIs HRs BBs AVG OPS OBP SLG WAR
Totals 68 54 13 45 .256 .776 .335 .441 2.3
MLB rank 4th 10th 10th 4th 15th 8th 11th 7th 11th

Shockingly enough, the Dodger shortstop platoon, consisting of Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor, has held its own. The Dodgers’ shortstop position has recorded top-10 numbers in the following categories: Runs, RBI, HR, BB, OPS, and SLG. So, why do the Dodger’s need Machado? If the combination of Taylor and Hernandez is getting the job done, do the Dodgers really need Machado? The answer is yes because of the ripple effect acquiring Machado will have on the rest of the positional infrastructure. Let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ second base stats in the first half.

Second Base

Dodgers 2B Runs scored RBIs HRs BBs AVG OPS OBP SLG WAR
Totals 58 35 4 53 .216 .594 .302 .291 -0.3
MLB rank 21st 26th 30th 5th 29th 30th 22th 30th 25th

You could say with integrity that the Dodgers have had the worst offensive production from the second base position in all of baseball. The first half of 2018 has consisted of a combination of Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley manning second base with a few appearances here and there from Kike Hernandez and Max Muncy.

Both Forsythe and Utley have combined to produce abysmal numbers for the Dodgers. See below:

  • At Bats: 307
  • HR: 3
  • AVG: .224
  • SLG: .318
  • RBI: 26
  • WAR: -0.5

    Feb 23, 2018; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe (11) bats against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

These are incredibly low production numbers. Both Utley and Forsythe have failed to cash in on their collective playing time. The worst part? They are being used as a righty-lefty platoon. This means that Forsythe has seen primarily left-handed pitching and Utley has seen primarily right-handed pitching. Still, production at second base has been catastrophically low. Literally, the only stat category that has been productive has been walks. This is due to both Forsythe and Utley’s elite plate discipline. Obviously, the Dodgers will not want to simply bench these two players, but rather move them. Priority number one for the Dodgers following the Machado aquisition will be to move Forsythe and possibly Utley. Who knows, maybe Utley will get thrown back to Philly in time for a playoff run and a little nostalgia?

Manny Machado

How will Machado remedy this void in offense at second base? Obviously, Machado will play short everyday. This will most likely move the Taylor-Hernandez platoon to second where they can continue to produce as they have been. Max Muncy will then move primarily to first base, with a few select starts in the outfield. Conversely, Cody Bellinger will then move to center field, with a few select starts on first base. Boom! There is your “Machado effect” which will optimize the lineup ensuring each position is manned by the best offense producing players possible.

Here is Machado’s first half line:

Machado SS Runs scored RBIs HRs BBs AVG OPS OBP SLG WAR
Totals 48 65 24 45 .315 .963 .387 .575 2.9

Basically, you’re adding one of the best hitters in the league to an already dangerous lineup. If you add Machado’s numbers to the Dodger’s first half stats, they may very well be a prediction of the Dodgers’ second half offensive metrics. Obviously these numbers are a bit bloated as I have not adjusted for the weighted loss of the at bats that would have gone to Machado:

Dodgers 1st half (w Machado) Runs scored RBIs HRs BBs AVG OPS OBP SLG WAR
Totals 501 489 153 409 .253 .778 .333 .440 16.5
MLB rank 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 10th 3rd 5th 3rd 6th

Analysis

Dodgers
Jul 15, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado (13) celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Replacing Forsythe and Utley at second base and replacing them with the Dodger’s top-10 shortstop numbers is already an excellent move for the Dodgers. In fact, it is a 2.6 WAR positive move. Now, add Machado’s bat to the lineup as is and you have added 24 home runs, a .315 average, .963 OPS, and 65 RBIs to the Dodger offense. Those are game-changing numbers that propel the Dodgers into strong world series contenders that are on par with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros. Hopefully Machado can sustain his first-half rate. This shouldn’t be a problem seeing as he has remained consistent throughout his whole career. The beautiful thing? The Baltimore Orioles are dead last in offensive production this year which means Machado’s RBI opportunities were limited. Imagine what he will do with a beefed up supporting cast during the second half.

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Written by Eric Morse

Born and raised in Southern Oregon, Eric has always had a love for baseball. Growing up visiting LA often to watch the Dodgers, Eric comes from a long line of Dodger fanatics. He spends his time ministering to youth and following the Dodgers.

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