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.
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.