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.
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.
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.