The Dodgers Are Becoming an Offensive Juggernaut Thanks To a More Contact Oriented Approach

The Dodgers are in first place with a 27-16 record which is one of the best in baseball. They have a four game lead in the National League west through their first 43 games of the 2019 season. A big reason for the Dodger’s impressive start is a much improved and well balanced lineup.

Good hitting will always help a ball club win a lot of games. The Dodgers are certainly scoring a ton of runs. This is a huge contrast from the 2018 season in which they struggled to not only score runs but also hit with runners in scoring position. This year’s squad seems to be a lot better at a couple of key areas that last year’s team did not perform well in.

One of the main reasons the Dodgers have been so adept at scoring runs this year is because of their improved plate approaches and hitting with runners in scoring position. For example, in 2019 the Dodgers rank fifth in MLB in hitting with runners in scoring position. With RISP, they’ve so far posted an .834 OPS and are slashing .266/.369/.465 with 15 home runs. Could some of that be better luck? Certainly a few balls have fallen in, but I would say it’s more to do with the better plate approaches than anything else.

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You can see the difference. With two outs and runners in scoring position this year, the Dodgers rank sixth in MLB. They have posted an .867 OPS and are slashing .250/.385/.482 with 10 home runs (41 for 164) and 17 extra-base hits. One of the true marks of a good hitting club is the ability to get hits and score runs with two outs. The Red Sox were notorious for that last year, which we saw in the World Series. This season the Dodgers seem to be able to do this quite often.

Not only are the Dodgers displaying better plate discipline and hitting with runners in scoring position, but they’re still displaying their biggest strength, which is their power. So far the Dodgers have slugged 68 home runs. That’s the most in the National League and only three other teams in MLB have hit more home runs than the Dodgers in 2019.

There’s more. The Dodgers lead the majors in walks (181), they’re third in on-base percentage (.345), but they’re also making contact more often. This is also key. It’s baseball 101, when you put the ball in play good things happen. The Dodgers who had major problems making contact in 2018, are one of the better teams in the National League in making contact. The Dodgers have only struck out 342 times. Only three other National League clubs have struck out less.

Overall the Dodgers are second in the majors with 227 runs scored. It’s easy to see why the Dodgers have one of the best hitting lineups in baseball. They have a ton of power, improved patience at the plate, and a more contact oriented approach. It also helps to have young talented hitters in the lineup that are having monster seasons like Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo. All of that is adding up to the Dodgers becoming a behemoth offensive team. Relentless run scoring clubs like this are the ones that win World Series. Let’s hope they continue this great hitting throughout the season.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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15 thoughts on “The Dodgers Are Becoming an Offensive Juggernaut Thanks To a More Contact Oriented Approach

  1. Good points Scott. I think a new hitting coach has been a godsend, Taylor is even beginning to make more contact. The team still seems to struggle with the concept of situational at bats, meaning moving men over by hitting the ball to the right side or hitting sacrifice flies or even bunting the man over. Small ball still appears to be a concept that eludes this team. They however are beginning to not be such a frustrating team to watch, due to the things you stated, Scott.

    The bull pen still looms large as a real problem that will only become more and more trouble as the better teams are faced. However, it is early and if the management won’t stand pat of the bull pen, both the personnel currently there and the use of current personnel, things may be improved upon. Gaskanley, I believe, is still going to be a problem that bites us in the ass if they insist on using him as the primary closer, Unless he really works on hitting his spots, if he can get more control of his pitches he could become dominant once again (a big ask but potentially could be possible).

    As many of us have stated and now it is being realized in the field, Bellinger is way more useful as an everyday outfielder, he’s too fast, has too great of an arm and has too great of instincts to be squandered as a 1Bman. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at first, but he just has too much to offer as a rightfielder to not be used out there. BTW, Muncy is proving so many wrong, fans and the front office.

    One more thing on your points Scott, not having Pollock in the lineup has significantly improved the team’s stats from the beginning of the season. Taylor should be the everyday CF and Bellinger the everyday RF. I also think Joc should be the everyday LF, Joc has matured and really deserves the job against both lefties and righties. He has started to hit lefties, he needs more at bats against the southpaws and I think he will be just fine.

    Defined roles in the field will pay great dividends as the season progresses. Redefined roles in the bullpen will also pay dividends. One thing is for sure, if you keep doing the same thing and expect different results, you are crazy. It’s time to stop the crazy and let this group of players settle in.

  2. True Blue, I concur with you on everything ya posted here, especially the idea of having a set OF. Only thing is , they got to put Verdugo somewhere at this time and he does not play any INF. positions, as CT3 can.

    1. Joc, Verdugo, and Bellinger every day! Stop with the dad gum platooning please. Taylor plays infield on a limited basis as does Kike and Freeze. Of course this is just my thoughts.

  3. I am not playing Taylor over Verdugo in the outfield. The kid hits lefty’s and righty’s. He should be out there every day. Taylor, Muncy, and Kike are almost interchangeable except Muncy is not an outfielder. And whether anyone here likes it or not, Pollock is going to be a regular once he is healed. They are not going to sit a guy making 55 million big ones over the next 5 years. We can sit here and debate lineups until we are blue in the face and come sometime in July it will make no difference. As soon as he is ready, Pollock will be in the mix, and when he is healthy, the guy is obviously a productive player. The most obvious beneficiary of the new approach is Cody Bellinger. He is not swinging at pitches he can’t hit nearly as much as he used to. The Puig-Bumgarner feud heated up again yesterday when Puig took the Mad Bum deep. Fun to watch! Roberts said today that Alexander has some sort of problem with his hip and could wind up on the IL. Taylor is still too much swing and miss and not enough swing and hit.

  4. My bad I meant to say Verdugo and not Taylor. Verdugo is hitting everything as of late. He needs at bats for sure and he ain’t bad at all in the outfield. Taylor has to be the utility guy.

    Maybe OF should be Verdugo LF, Joc CF, Bellinger RF on a day to day basis with Taylor spelling OF and IF (if those guys get too hot and Bert senses a need to cool them down)

    1. Joc is not a CF anymore. If I was going to move Verdugo out of the CF spot, I switch him to RF with that gun of his and put Cody in CF. He has more range than either of them. A’s got approval from the city of Oakland to find land for their new stadium. It would be something like the Giants ballpark and be near the water. They really need it. MLB should consider moving the Marlins if their attendance stays as bad as it has been. Tampa needs a new stadium also. Makes you feel blessed that after all this time, Dodger Stadium, now the 3rd oldest park in the majors is still one of the best places to see a game.

  5. I think Joc needs to drop about 10 to 15 lbs and he would be just fine in CF, but Verdugo is capable of playing all three OF positions. You can see now why management was unwilling to include Verdugo in any deals over the last two seasons.

    It is time for management to quit screwing around and get over the platooning crap. I think it not only hurts the club on the field but in the clubhouse as well. We are talking about boys in theses clubhouses, kicking ass one day in the lineup only to be removed from the lineup the next day, really is a very bad message to send any player. I’d be throwing chairs thru windows after about three times of that nonsense happening to me, and that should be the attitude of anyone who has ever played sports. If you produce, you get rewarded, if you don’t perform, that is when you have to sit.

  6. Urias arrested last night for some type of violence against a woman in a parking lot. He’s out on bond but I don’t have any other details. Not good on many levels. MLB has tended to make a big statement on violence against women, so don’t surprised if Urias is suspended, even before any type of action in the court system. Like I said bad on a human level, also bad on a bullpen level.

    1. He shoved a woman who he was with to the ground during an argument. The police responded, the woman said there was no physical contact, but witnesses and video shots on phones showed other wise and he was arrested and taken to the hoosegow.

  7. Urias arrested for domestic violence last night. Posted 20,000 bail this morning. Not good. Kershaw against the Padres and their ace, Paddock. Should be quite the duel. Hope Machado gets the golden sombrero.

  8. Parking lot violence. At least she was only knocked to ground, in the Dodger Stadium Parking Lot you get your brains mashed in.

  9. If there are photos of Urias pushing a woman to the ground, he should be held accountable by the Dodgers and receive whatever punishment is called for. Period.

  10. Kershaw did not look great, but with Dodger offensive support, he gets a win.

    Sad that “The Smirk” tallied solid shots against Kershaw and Jansen. Guess he gets last laugh, for now anyway. Can’t afford to make mistakes like that.

    Positives…
    Two-run Joc Pop and Belly Bomb saves Kershaw’s skin.
    Joc’s 100th HR.
    Baez pitches a strong 8th, setting up Jansen for the save.
    Jansen looked like he has regained some velocity and his cutter had
    movement tonight.
    Three timely double plays.
    Seager swinging better now.
    Dodgers manage to not get embarrassed by a rookie ptcher for a change.

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