in

Dodgers: Lineup Evaluation Post Puig, Kemp Trade

Sep 1, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Alex Verdugo (61) follows through during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”]
[et_pb_row admin_label=”row”]
[et_pb_column type=”4_4″]
[et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]
The initial fallout from the trade of Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and Kyle Farmer is the impact to the roster if the season were to start without any further changes.

The focus of this article is on the position players. Given that 13 roster spots will be taken up by pitchers, we’ll look at the 12 position player spots if the season were to start today. We don’t know if or when the Dodgers will make another move to bolster the roster.

The 12 Position Players

Based on the existing 40 man roster the position players are petty obvious except at catcher. For now, I will include both Rocky Gale and Will Smith as the backup catcher.

Player Age Position B/T 2019 Salary 2018 WAR AVG/OBP/SLG
Austin Barnes 29 C, 2B R/R .57 M 0.5 .205/.329/.290
Rocky Gale/Will Smith 31/24 C R/R .555 M N/A N/A
Max Muncy 28 1B,2B,3B L/R .57 M 4.2 .263/.391/.582
David Freese 36 1B,3B R/R 4.5 M 2.1 .296/.359/.471
Kiké Hernandez 27 IF/OF R/R 2.8 M 2.8 .256/.336/.470
Corey Seager 25 SS L/R 2.6 M 0.4 .267/.348/.396
Justin Turner 34 3B R/R 16 M 4.5 .312/.406/.518
Chris Taylor 28 IF/OF R/R 3.2 M 4.1 .254/.331/.444
Joc Pederson 27 LF L/L 4.3 M 2.3 .248/.321/.522
Cody Bellinger 23 CF/1B L/L .57 M 4.2 .260/.343/.470
Alex Verdugo 23 OF L/L .555 M 0.4 .260/.329/.377
Andrew Toles 27 OF L/R .56 M 0.1 .233/.281/.300
  • 2019 Salaries are based on the luxury tax calculation and some are estimated
  • 2018 WAR is Baseball Reference WAR

Defensive Analysis

Advanced Defensive Metrics

As with many of the advanced metrics, there are a ton of which to learn. I keep it simple by finding a few key metrics and stick to those until I find better ones. The ultimate source for defensive metrics is FanGraphs and I am getting my information from them. The metrics I will be using are:

  • Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – from FanGraphs

“…players are measured in “runs” above or below average, and Baseball Info Solutions data is used as an input.”

  • Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) – from FanGraphs

“UZR puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof).”

  • Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF) – from FanGraphs

“Defense (Def) is the combination of two important factors of defensive performance: value relative to positional average (fielding runs) and positional value relative to other positions (positional adjustment).”

All defensive statistics below, unless otherwise noted, are from FanGraphs.

The focus in the next few sections if on the defense and the positions various players can play. The Dodgers defense took a big drop off in 2018 from 2017.

Errors DPs Pct. DRS UZR Def
2017 88 131 .985 84 29.9 33.9
2018 100 111 .983 60 -24.9 -25.9

As can be seen, in every statistics above the Dodgers went backward on defense. Defensive issues cause more opportunities for the other team to score and causes pitchers to throw more pitches to get the needed outs.

Catchers

Austin Barnes lines up to be the starting catcher. He is solid on defense but must bounce back on offense for the catching spot to be solidified. It would be interesting to see Rocky Gale get an opportunity but he seems to be organizational depth at the moment. Will Smith, although not on the 40 man roster, is next in line. He was promoted to AAA at the end of the 2018 season and struggled on offense. However, don’t be surprised if Smith is called up at some point in 2019.

[button color=”blue” size=”normal” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/2018-dodgers-player-reviews-andrew-toles-tr0864/2018/12/16/”]2018 Dodgers Player Reviews: Andrew Toles[/button]

Selected Defensive Statistics for Catchers

Player Innings SB CS PB WP FR FRAA
Yasmani Grandal (for reference) 1037.1 52 20 9 31 15.7 17.7
Austin Barnes 434.2 18 5 1 8 8.3 10.1

Credits and Abbreviations

Fangraphs

SB – Stolen bases against the catcher
CS – number of runners caught stealing
PB – number of passed balls against the catcher
WP – number of wild pitches thrown by the pitcher while catching

Baseball Prospectus

FR – number of runs saved by pitch framing (Framing Runs)
FRAA – total number of runs saved by factoring in framing, blocking and throwing along with other adjustments (Fielding Runs Above Average)

[button color=”blue” size=”normal” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-looking-at-the-prospects-from-the-reds-tr0864/2018/12/22/”]Dodgers: Looking At The Prospects From The Reds[/button]

The Infield

There are a lot of candidates to play the infield. Even further, some of those candidates play multiple positions which give Manager Dave Roberts a lot of options. Justin Turner and Corey Seager are locks at third base and shortstop, respectively. By the end of the season Kiké Hernandez played the most at second base and Doc indicated that Max Muncy will start the season as a full-time player. I would expect Muncy to get most of his work at first base.

When a left-hander is pitching I still expect David Freese to get plenty of at-bats and he plays both first and third base. Hernandez and Taylor can play all over the infield and the best defensive first baseman is Cody Bellinger. However, it looks like Bellinger will be playing center field going into the season. The only real question is, will Corey Seager be ready? If he’s not then I expect Chris Taylor to play there until Seager is ready.

Name Pos Inn DRS UZR Def
Enrique Hernandez 1B 46 -1 0.6 0.2
David Freese 1B 182.2 -1 -0.7 -5.4
Max Muncy 1B 548 -4 -0.2 -4.9
Cody Bellinger 1B 785 2 1.1 -5.7
Max Muncy 2B 91 0 0.5 0.7
Austin Barnes 2B 62.1 -1 0 0.1
Chris Taylor 2B 50 -1 -0.7 -0.6
Enrique Hernandez 2B 212.1 1 -1 -0.7
Max Muncy 3B 271.2 0 0 0.5
David Freese 3B 394.2 2 2.4 3.1
Justin Turner 3B 777 1 -1.8 -0.5
Enrique Hernandez 3B 34 0 -0.7 -0.7
Enrique Hernandez SS 159 0 0 0.8
Corey Seager SS 221.1 -2 -0.8 0.3
Chris Taylor SS 671.1 5 -3.6 -0.1

The Outfield

Again, just like the infield, there is a lot of versatility. The Dodgers should feel comfortable almost all of the outfielders playing any of the three positions, other than Pederson, who should stay in left field.  With the big outfields in both San Francisco and Denver, the Dodgers need outfielders that can run down the balls in the gaps.

Name Pos Inn DRS UZR Def
Chris Taylor LF 148 3 2 1.2
Enrique Hernandez LF 62.1 1 0.8 0.5
Alex Verdugo LF 66.1 0 0.5 0.1
Joc Pederson LF 667.2 4 3 -0.4
Enrique Hernandez CF 372.1 -2 0.7 1.4
Cody Bellinger CF 494.1 6 0.3 1.1
Andrew Toles CF 50 1 0.7 0.8
Alex Verdugo CF 39.2 0 -0.1 -0.1
Joc Pederson CF 187.1 -3 -2.9 -2.5
Chris Taylor CF 310.1 0 -4.3 -3.7
Enrique Hernandez RF 74.2 3 1.8 1.5
Cody Bellinger RF 11.1 0 0.1 0
Alex Verdugo RF 61 1 -1.3 -1.6

Possible Lineup vs Righties

  1. Pederson – LF
  2. Seager – SS
  3. Turner – 3B
  4. Bellinger – CF
  5. Muncy – 1B
  6. Hernandez/Taylor – 2B
  7. Verdugo – RF
  8. Barnes – C

Possible Lineup vs Lefties

  1. Taylor – LF
  2. Seager – SS
  3. Turner – 3B
  4. Freese/Muncy – 1B
  5. Bellinger – CF
  6. Hernandez – 2B
  7. Verudgo – RF
  8. Barnes – C

Final Thoughts

I know of the concerns about a lack right-handed threats and the offense at catcher. These are legitimate concerns but if Barnes and Taylor can rebound closer to their 2017 productivity then the team is well rounded. Verdugo has hit lefties in the minors, Bellinger did much better in 2017 and Muncy was decent against them in 2018. My wish is that the hitters will become less specialized and hit better against all pitching.

“It should be important enough to get on base to be able to manipulate the bat and hit the ball the other way or to lay a bunt down,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re going to get better at that. When you see one player on the left side of the infield and you’re down a run — we’re going to challenge our guys to find a way to hit it over there. But you’ve got to do that by practicing. It’s going to be a priority for us to get better at that.” – Alden Gonzalez,   The shift, 100 mph heat, near impossible odds: How hitters are fighting back

I am hopeful that the new hitting staff can bring more success to an already good lineup. Looking at how much the total position player roster makes (approximately $37M) they will get a ton of value. Anytime a team can get a lot of production out of a player making around the minimum it leaves room for improvements elsewhere. Of course, most of us expect more player movement before the season, so this is a snapshot in time.

[button color=”red” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”newwindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-nation-reacts-viva-puig-bw1096/2018/12/22/”]Dodgers Nation Reacts: Viva Puig![/button]
[/et_pb_text]
[/et_pb_column]
[/et_pb_row]
[/et_pb_section]

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. First of all, to have 13 pitchers and only 12 positions players is downright stupidity on managements part. let’s se some of the SP’s grow a pair and thus be allowed to go deeper in games. I am sick and tired of that puppet roberts run out of position players by the 7th inning because of this ridiculous platooning L-R-L-R to infinity! And they better get a RH bat to go in middle of order and NOT Castellanos. Because Dodgers are going to be overwhelmed with LHP thrown at them if they don’t.

    • Couldn’t agree more with these comments. I would add Jose Martinez as a RH bar they should NOT pursue. He and Castellanos should be DHs in the AL. It really doesn’t look good on that front — Pollock? Lemahieu? (he’ll be Forsythe all over again, out of Colorado). Dozier? I don’t think so. Maybe someone whose name hasn’t come up yet.

  2. Hey Tim, I get evaluating the lineup as is but isn’t it premature? Isn’t this exercise supposed to be to determine what they still need?
    If I evaluated one of your articles before it was finished… well.
    Lets finish the thought. What this shows is that they need a right handed basher either in the outfield, 2nd base or catcher, probably 2 of the three. Then “stay tuned, tomorrow I will dig into some players around the league and on the free agent list who would fit in”.

  3. If does not mean will. You can wish in one hand and you know what in the other and I am guessing the you know what hand fills first. I am not really going to expect Seager to be at the top of his game. Turner is a year older and the injury thing is liable to reduce his time again. I do expect that playing every day would make Barnes, Muncy and Bellinger better players. If Taylor, and there is that word again, if, can reduce his strikeouts, he should be a solid .270 hitter with close to 20 dingers. I do not expect Muncy to match the numbers he put up last year. And unless they get at least 1 RH thumper, they are going to be in a lot of trouble vs LHP. Harper is not the answer.

    • Michael, I have been saying that since the off season began. Dodgers WILL BE in trouble vs LHP and you can bet teams will throw as many as they can at them. if they don’t correct this problem, look for 2019 to be a long year and I will even suggest there may be a chance Dodgers miss the PS completely for the first time since 2012.

    • Hey Bear Merry Christmas and Hope you have a Great 2019!!
      I agree that not only is Harper not the answer it isn’t going to happen as long as they are following Kasten’s business plan. These writers get all crazy listening to each other’s talk about Harper or Machado and are not willing to be realistic. This team will stay under the cap unless given an unreal gift type deal and I doubt that is happening. My question all Winter has been “Do the Dodgers believe they can play Muncy full or part time at second?” . If they think they can move pieces around this year and maybe next until Lux gets here then they will not sign a second baseman. I agree with you that Taylor if played more will probably be able to reduce some of those strikeout percentages. Barring injury this team will be better beginning of 2019 than 2018 as Seager, Muncy and Turner will be in the lineup and we have a rested Kershaw and Ryu. A full time Buehler and a recovering Urias. The starting rotation should be excellent without a trade. Barnes will hit better I think and Grandal drove all of us crazy with his passed balls. Without any more trades, I think there may be one or two small ones, this team will win the West. After that it depends who gets HOT…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Loading…

0

Comments

0 Leave a Comment

Report: Dodgers Discussing Multiple Blockbuster Names With AL Teams

Dodgers

Matt Kemp Says Goodbye To Dodgers Organization, Fans & Teammates