Dodgers Midseason Report Card: Lineup Fights Inconsistency

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have won the National League West the past two years, but have failed to make it to a World Series.

After last season’s team won 94 games and was bounced in the NLDS, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi took over the front office and revamped the starting lineup looking for more success. So far, so good as the Dodgers won 51 games in the first half and sit on top of the NL West.

We take a look at the starting lineup and how they’ve fared in the first half:

Andre Ethier
Stats: .281/.372/.481, eight doubles, 10 home runs, 31 RBIs, 30 BB, 41 K
Advanced Stats: .853 OPS, .370 wOBA, 141 wRC+, 1.8 WAR

The Arizona native has been the utility man in the outfield for the Dodgers whenever a starter has been needed. The nine-year veteran has shifted positions during the season, but seems to have found a home in left field upon Puig’s return from injury. Ethier’s strikeout percentage has been the lowest it has been in eight years, while still contributing at the plate.

This renaissance-like rebirth has given the supposed offseason trade target a newfound place to stay. The 33-year-old has that clutch hitting ability and isn’t afraid of big spots. The luxury of him usually being sixth in the lineup or later is one that Mattingly surely isn’t complaining about.

Grade: B+

Joc Pederson
Stats: .230/.364/.487, 15 doubles, 20 home runs, 40 RBIs, 58 BB, 107 K
Advanced Stats: .851 OPS, .368 wOBA, wRC+ 140, 2.7 WAR

The phenom rookie surely has had a roller coaster of a season. While being the first Dodgers rookie in history to start an All-Star game as a position player, the outfielder also put on a spectacle during the 2015 Home Run Derby. The sample size is still growing for the rookie, who has yet to finish his first year in the Major Leagues. The one fault that many have pointed out about Pederson has been his lackluster batting average, but when you look at his .364 OBP, it appears to be a matter of adjustment more than anything.

As Pederson spends more time in the Major Leagues, his patience and timely hitting will only grow. The 23-year-old has already locked himself up as the center fielder of the future for the Dodgers, displaying an intelligent thought process behind making some of the unbelievable catches we have seen throughout the first half of the season. Look for Pederson to slow down his strikeout rate through the second half of the season and a possible boost in his batting average.

Grade: B+

Yasiel Puig
Stats: .261/.343/.429, 11 doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 18 BB, 36 K
Advanced Stats: .771 OPS, .337 wOBA, 118 wRC+, 0.9 WAR

The fiery 24-year-old hasn’t been his same self this past year. The right fielder has missed a tremendous amount of playing time while dealing with injuries to his hamstring and right hand, which have resulted in him seeing out of sorts at the plate. Puig’s power numbers have dropped profusely compared to his earlier years and that spark seems lost. Puig’s defensive capabilities seem to have remained the same, as fewer runners have tested out his arm this season than in year’s past.

The Cuba native has seemed to take steps in the right direction, such as recently taking early batting practice with hitting coach Mark McGwire; however, recent drama has also developed. With Molly Knight’s new book that takes a look at the behind the scenes of the Dodgers’ clubhouse, rifts involving Puig have been made public. The locker room appears divided on what to think of Puig and his presence has been a problem for someone who isn’t producing at the plate. If the fourth-year player wants to keep a positive appearance about himself, a second-half surge at the plate may be just what he needs.

Grade: C+

CONTINUE READING: Check Out Our Grades For The Starting Infield

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