Baseball is a lot like blackjack — if you play the averages long enough, things will always normalize.
Just because you hit on 12 and bust five times in a row doesn’t make it a bad move — it just means you’re full of bad luck.
Unfortunately for the 2013 Dodgers, the early-going has been full of bad beats.
At the moment, the Dodgers are 28th in the MLB in runs scored — 17 behind the 8-24 Astros.
On the flip-side, the boys in blue are 6th in the MLB in on-base percentage — 12 points higher than the NL wins leading St. Louis Cardinals.
So yes, a team that gets on base at the sixth highest rate in the league is converting those base runners into runs at the third-lowest rate. (And so it’s no surprise that this same team rests in dead last in their division).
But what does it mean going forward?
Can we expect these numbers to normalize? Can we expect to beat the dealer more often than we are right now?
In short, the answer should be yes.
However, before any of that starts happening, the Dodgers need to get healthy.
Guys like Mark Ellis, Adrian Gonzales and even Hanley Ramirez were instrumental in the Dodgers’ early success at getting on base, and without them healthy, the Dodgers are sure to fall in the OBP rankings.
On the flip-side, a team that hits .255 (13th best in the league), should expect to hit at or near that average in all situations, and not just when no one is on base.
At the moment, the Dodgers are hitting a measly .216 with runners in scoring position — a good indicator of why they’re struggling to score runs. (They hit .270 with nobody on base).
So again, we’re back at the question of what this means.
Does this mean the Dodgers team average will eventually regress to .216? Or will the team average with runners in scoring position progress towards the .255 number?
In reality, this question is probably the one that will determine how successful the Dodgers will be over the next five months. Obviously health will be a major indicator as well (given the impact it has on the team’s average in general), but if the team can normalize their batting with runners in scoring position, I think it’s a safe bet to say the team’s scoring ability will normalize.
Then again, just because the odds are in your favor doesn’t mean you’re not going to bust.