Dodgers Using Plate Discipline, On-base Skills, Timely Hitting To Score Runs in 2017

Yasmani Grandal

I’m walking, yes indeed, I’m walking….And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more just to score more runs for the blue and I would walk 500 more…. Ok I’ll stop singing and making up silly lyrics. I’m sure you’re wondering why I am singing. Those stupid lyrics are dedicated to the Dodger offense and their love of getting guys on base via the walk. That’s been a primary weapon for the Dodger offense this season, the base on ball.

The Dodger offense has certainly been quite interesting so far in 2017. The boys in blue aren’t hitting a ton of home runs; however they are near the top of the National League in runs scored. The Dodgers are doing it a little differently than in seasons past. Let’s take a look at how the Dodgers are doing this.

Average Power

The Dodgers are not hitting a lot of home runs despite popular belief. I know this may seem wrong as everyone sees Chris Taylor hitting grand slams, or Yasmani Grandal or Cody Bellinger slugging balls out of the park. Sure those guys are providing a lot of pop for the Dodgers, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually hitting a lot of dingers.

The Dodgers have slugged 65 home runs this season which ranks them 19 out of the 30 MLB clubs. A .423 slugging percentage ranks the Dodgers 13, and a .760 OPS ranks them ninth. The Dodgers have hit 185 extra-base hits which puts them ninth as well in that category. They’ve gotten a lot of doubles and triples this year. As a matter of fact their 114 doubles are the most in MLB.

The reason for the below average power for the Dodgers has been a total lack of pop from their corner infield positions. First base and third baseman have totaled a whopping two home runs this season. Justin Turner has hit just one round-tripper and Adrian Gonzalez has hit one as well. With those guys battling injuries and still trying to find their power stroke the Dodgers have had to get power from their corner outfielders and catcher.

Excellent on-base skills and plate discipline

So if the Dodgers are not hitting much for power how are they scoring so many runs? They’re using unbelievable plate discipline and on-base skills. They draw a ton of walks and get a lot of guys on base. So far the Dodgers lead the majors with 223 walks. They’re ranked fifth in MLB with a .337 OBP. They have a 10.2% walk percentage which is the second best in MLB. The Dodgers have scored 283 runs which ranks them fifth in MLB.

Improvement against left handers

The Dodgers were one of the worst clubs hitting against southpaws in 2016. This year they are not nearly as bad. The Dodgers are slashing .247/.330/.418 with 19 home runs against left handers this season. They rank fourth in MLB in batting versus left handers.

Great pinch-hitting

The bench is so important for a National League club. In a league where there is no DH and having to hit for the pitcher late in the game means having a productive bench is critical. You need guys who can come off the bench and get hits in the late inning. That’s exactly what the Dodgers have gotten this season. Dodger pinch-hitters are batting .293 (29 for 99) with 3 home runs and 20 runs driven in. Dodger bench bats have posted a .386 OBP and an .841 OPS.

Hitting with runners in scoring position

Much better than what we are usually accustomed to. The Dodgers are slashing .265/.361/.427 with 13 home runs with runners in scoring position. That ranks them 11 out of the 30 MLB clubs.

So with average power the Dodgers are still scoring a lot of runs by using a different type of attack. They’re hitting a lot of singles and doubles. They get a lot of runners on base and have great patience at the place. The bench has been good as the group has been able to get hits in the late innings and they’re getting timely hits. I guess you don’t have to hit a bunch of home runs to score runs. Just get guys on base and get hits and you’ll be fine.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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6 thoughts on “Dodgers Using Plate Discipline, On-base Skills, Timely Hitting To Score Runs in 2017

  1. Uh, that sure did not happen today. They got shut out by one of the worst pitching staffs in the NL. 3 hits against a collection of guys who’s ERA is about 4.5. You want to know why I do not think Yasmani Grandal is all that? Just check his at bat with 2 on and no one out. He hits into a double play on a weak grounder and kills the only real rally the Dodgers had all day. It shows he had a hit, but the 2nd baseman misplayed another weak assed grounder up the middle. It is hard to get behind a team who are so pitifully unexciting. Only AB’s worth watching are Taylor and Bellinger. Corey is in a slump, Turner on the DL, Puig is slumping, Gonzo is in a season long slumber. Forsythe is about as exciting as watching a fly go up a drape. Kike swings at pitches he could not hit with a 10 foot pole. I have never seen a team swing at so many pitches they have no chance of hitting, and they all did that today, and let so many FAT ones go right down the middle. Unfrippenbelieveable! If there is frustration with the fans out here it is because one day, they look like world beaters, the next, they could not beat a little league team. They had better wake up the next 3 days because the Nationals are far from being a pushover, and the Dodgers are seeing their 3 best pitchers.

    1. I can’t imagine there’s any frustration from Dodger fans anywhere.

      The team (even with the rash of key injuries) is playing quite well.

      1. Bluto

        I agree the team has done pretty well on this road trip, especially with Turner out.

        And Grandal still hasn’t hit into more double plays, then Puig has.

        But unlike Puig, he has provided a lot offense for this team, and he has done that, at the top of the line up.

        He has been one of the best hitters in baseball, in these last few weeks, so any criticism about him, is unjustified.

        Our relievers did give up some HRs on this road trip, but it is hard to be upset with both Stripling and Fields, because they have pitched pretty well, all season long.

        But Romo is a different.

        1. I hate being right, but Grandal has bounced into exactly 2 less DP’s than Puig. He has scored 19 runs with 6 homers and 24 RBI’s. Puig has scored 25 runs with 9 HR’s and 31 RBI’s. He has been more productive than Grandal. Grandal’s batting average has sunk about 40 pts. in the last 2 weeks. So he has not been close to being one of the best. He was hot for about 3 weeks and has cooled off. When they have needed him most, other than the game tying homer Friday, he has been mediocre. Today was no different. He has killed a lot of rally’s either by striking out or hitting into a DP. The Dodgers have played pretty well without Turner, that is true, and they go home from this road trip 4-3. They could have been 6-1 or 5-2 just as easy with a little offense. Other than Saturdays game, they were pitiful in Milwaukee and down right lousy the last 2 games in St Loo. It is frustrating for any fan no matter how much they love the team to see performances like the last 5 games. They got lucky and won 2 of them. But like I said, there are not many exciting players on this team. You can go to the fridge and get a cold one and not really miss anything. Grandal hitting .133 so far this month has 2 hits. Puig is hitting .417 this month.

  2. The team is 7-3 with the second best record in the NL. They are playing well. There will be games like this. I’m pleasantly surprised we are where we are. Considering how many short outings we will get out of this starting staff, I will be surprised if they keep this up for 162. We are on pace for 97 wins. The ball will bounce the other way before long.

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