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The Dodgers are Defying Platoon Splits

For so long the concern with the Dodgers was the inability to hit southpaws, but that is changing.

Dodgers
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 31: Joc Pederson #31 congratulates Max Muncy #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers after scoring on Muncy's two run home run against pitcher Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies duding the third inning Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Dodgers have had their fair share of difficulties against left-handed pitching in the recent past, but they have done their best job to shake that ideal. The left-handed corps is who is leading this Dodgers team on both sides of the ball.

Offense

As noted below, the Dodgers have the highest wRC+ against southpaws as a team since their amazing 2017 run that saw them fall one game short of winning a World Series title.

The Dodgers have vastly improved against that handedness since 2016 and remain among the class of the National League in that area. A 109 wRC+ equates to being, as a team, 9% above the league average. That is a pretty impressive mark when considering that the bulk of the Dodgers’ offensive firepower comes by way of left-handed hitters.

Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Alex Verdugo are arguably five of the best six hitters on the Dodgers’ roster and all bat from the left side. When taking a closer look, it is actually the lefties who are carrying the weight:

The lefties are hitting better than the righties against lefties and that is very strange and not very common. Both the 104 wRC+ and the .751 OPS mark that the Dodgers’ lefties have put up rank 17th-best in the majors. Middle of the road.

Pitching

The Dodgers boast arguably the best rotation in the sport, albeit with a sub-par bullpen. Los Angeles southpaw starters (Kershaw, Ryu, Hill, Urias) have posted the second-best ERA in the majors this season.

In addition, the Dodgers are accomplishing an impressive feat in the fact that the left-handed pitchers on the staff have the lowest FIP, ERA, WHIP, and BB% against right-handed hitting. Just like the southpaw hitters are doing their thing against southpaws to defy the platoon, southpaw pitchers are comparatively dominating righties and in their own right defying the platoon.

Overall

If Los Angeles’ lefties can keep up their work against the platoon, this could be a very big deal for the Dodgers in terms of their win-loss record at the end of the season. When a team can dominate no matter the handedness, it is indicative of true success and could see the Dodgers on their way to a third consecutive World Series appearance.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics and Broadcast Journalism dual major at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

Comments

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  1. Which side of the plate a batter is should not matter if they are good disciplined hitters with a game plan. I believe there is too much scrutiny on the Dodgers left handed line up and not enough on the results. As you state these young men can hit any pitching. Standing ovation for new batting coaches.

    • The problem isn’t necessarily the hitters’ approach or game plan. It’s actually significantly harder for a lefty batter to see the ball out of a lefty pitcher’s hand than out of a righty pitcher’s hand. There is a visual disadvantage. Now combine that with the fact that these guys are throwing a small rock 90+ miles an hour and hitters have less than half a second to decide what to do and you can start to understand the difficulty.

  2. The playoffs are a long ways off, but with an outlook on pitching its looking like the Dodgers will have the four starters of Ryu, Kershaw, Hill and Buehler. Long relief in Urias, Maida, and Stripling. Jansen closing and hopefully the other guys being sharp come playoff time. That bullpen has three and a half months to get it together!

  3. My concern really is if it again is exposed in the PS and or WS if we remain without any impact RH bat to put in the middle of the lineup . Against Boston, we were no match for the elite LHP that faced us.

  4. Good thing we won’t be facing Boston again. The Yankees, however; have an almost exclusively left-handed rotation (Paxton, Happ, Sabathia, Montgomery). Not to mention a bullpen that includes two of the best lefties in the Majors in Chapman and Britton.

    • Andrew, that is what my point is, because we are lacking from the right side with any impact RH bat. The other problem is that the RH bats we do have struggle against LHP as well. But tmaxter is correct that a good hitter, no matter RH or LH should be able to handle both hands and but we know that we will face the elite LHP pitching come the PS and WS. Take this just concluded 3 game series with the Giants for example. We won 2 of 3 and basically that’s what matters most but in game 1 against a LHP we could manage only 1 run. In game 3 against another LHP we managed only 1 run. In game 2 against a RHP we scored 7.

  5. Another BP loss last night!!!! I hope the FO was watching as we took a fantastic performance from
    Ryu and threw it away. Lets spend some money, repair the leaking dam, and get back in gear. Last night’s game hurt, regardess of how many games we are ahead in our division. Go Blue!!!

    • every game matters to the public eye and the big money they spend…..when the fans see holes in the program and it happens year after year……where is management…..this affects the players too and are penalized by having bad press and manager agrees with the press……everyday is a new day and players need to have a place for security and if they produce, they win games and if not, try to improve that position……players are branded for what they might not do instead of what they CAN do

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