The Dodgers once again lead the National League in wins, but which Dodger player has been the most pleasant surprise?
The resurgent A.J. Pollock? The power hitting Corey Seager? Austin Barnes back from the dead? All three players have outplayed expectations this year, but whose performance has been the most surprising?
Twitter hath spoken.
Who has been the most pleasant surprise of the season?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) September 2, 2020
3. Austin Barnes
Barnes followed his breakout 2017 season with back-to-back seasons of barely hitting above .200 (.204). The former everyday catcher all but slumped his way off of the Dodgers roster as the rookie Will Smith gobbled up his playing time.
After a slow start again this year, Barnes heated up in August and had a stretch where he collected RBI in four straight games.
- 2019: .203/.293/.340
- 2020: .269/.324/.358
- August 2020: .313/.358/.417
Even more surprising, Barnes had an eight game hit streak that temporarily pushed his season average above .300 (currently .269). Barnes hitting above .300, if only for a fleeting moment, was something nobody expected to see in 2020.
2. Corey Seager
Not even the most optimistic Dodger fan could’ve predicted Seager hitting .331 through 35 games and joining the 2020 NL MVP conversation.
For the first time since 2017, Seager is healthy and it shows:
- Exit Velocity: 93.9 MPH (Career high)
- Slugging: .634 (Career High)
- Isolated Power: .303 (Career High)
- Weighted On-Base Average: .420 (Career High)
- Weighted Runs Created Plus: 168 (Second highest)
At this point, it’s a surprise when Seager doesn’t hit a home run or a double in the gap.
1. A.J. Pollock
After a horrendous 2019, Pollock seemed destined to join the likes of Andruw Jones and Jason Schmidt as another expensive free agent bust. Missing 64 games with a growth plate infection, the former Gold Glover struggled in the field (-7.2 UZR) and in the box (21.6 K%).
Fast forward to 2020 where you can make the argument that Pollock is the Dodger’s third best hitter behind Mookie Betts and Corey Seager. He’s mashed his way to the second highest OPS of his career (.852) and owns a ridiculous 1.007 OPS against left handed pitching this year.
His gaudy splits against lefties (.359/.366.641) provide protection for the left-handed heavy Dodger lineup. Something they’ll need more than ever with Justin Turner still out with a hamstring injury.
Throw in his superb pinch hitting this year (.429 BA,2 2B,1 HR) and you have your biggest surprise of the season.
Do you agree with the poll results?