Saturday, September 30, 2023
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The Dodger Defense Has Disappeared

Adrian Gonzalez

The Dodgers have been having a pretty miserable spring. They just lost Andre Ethier for three months because of a fractured tibia after he fouled a ball off of his shin. Ethier is just one of numerous injuries, most are to the pitching staff. Corey Seager has a strained knee ligament, and we’re probably stuck watching Brandon Beachy pitch for the first few weeks of the season. As a matter of fact I can’t think of anything good that has happened this exhibition season. It’s been that kind of spring for the Dodgers.

That makes me wonder something else. What in the world happened to the Dodger defense? One of the team’s biggest strengths last season was their top ranked defense. That seems to have fizzled out this spring. The Dodgers were wizards with the gloves in 2015. As a matter of fact the Dodgers ranked as the best fielding club in the National League. The Dodgers committed the least amount of errors, had the highest defensive efficiency and were one of the best ranked clubs according to Ultimate zone rating.

This spring training has been another story. This year has been littered with sloppy play and bumbling errors. Poor throws and lackluster fundamentals have been a problem in most games. They haven’t just come from one particular position either. No, they have been spread around the diamond equally.

The Dodgers rank 24th out of the 30 clubs defensively. They’ve made 25 errors in 23 games. They rank 24th with a .971 fielding percentage, and 17th in defensive efficiency (.654). The Dodgers have already had several four error games. The infield has only turned 17 double plays which ranks the Dodgers at the bottom of the league as well. They have been one of the worst defensive units in the Cactus League this season.

I know I am probably making too much out of this. The Dodgers are making way too many errors in games that don’t count. It’s funny even writing these words. However I am just a tad bit worried that this might lead to something during the regular season. It’s just something to keep an eye on as we head into the opening week.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic
https://ladodgerreport.com

66 thoughts on “The Dodger Defense Has Disappeared

  1. We are making jokes about these games not counting, but of course they do. It matters how the players play fundamental baseball under the new coaching staff. It also matters how the players perform athletically under the guidance of the new training staff. So far, second verse, worse than the first. Even Clayton Kershaw looked rusty last night.

    There are some positive signs in the group, and we can focus on them. Puig looks good. Turner. Van Slyke. Jansen.

    But you are right Scott. Very sloppy. It’s time to tighten things up.

        1. Thanks for the link Badger. There is something odd when I saw the 30 teams listed and maybe you saw it to. Cards, Mets, Dodgers, Astros and Pirates at the bottom and Cubs #21 and Royals #20. Weren’t all those teams in the PS? Hmmmm.

          1. I also took it a step further thinking we are so low was because of all the players who won’t be on the 25 man at the beginning of the season added to our low BA. Well guess what? Not so. Our regulars are 16-71, a .225 BA.
            Yes, of course it’s only ST and stats at this point mean nothing. However, they could be a precurser to when the games count. Just something to be aware of IMO

          2. If you follow those Scoring Position stats even further you will see Oakland was the best at scoring and hitting WRISP. A lot of good it did them. Maybe pitching and defense is also important?

  2. The next week or so you will see the regulars start playing together. Remember, they leave Arizona next Wednesday. So it is time for the starters to start being together most of the time. Unfortunately the injury bug has been especially active this spring, so right now everything is patchwork. But Gonzo, Kendrick, Seager, and Turner are locks to be starters. Only Pederson and Puig set in the OF, and Grandal’s boo boo has opened the door for Barnes to get time…

  3. Friedman said they are looking at Frias and Stripling as the #5 starter. Also talking a lot with other teams.

    Coleman might be a trade piece.

    Bauer looked good for the Indians or were the Dodgers just Joc-y-ing around with their bats?

    1. Bum I saw that about Stripling and that sounds good, but I think that Coleman misses a lot at bats, and he would be great for the bullpen. I heard someone putting Baez in the bullpen over Yimi. I think I rather have Yimi in the bullpen, over Baez.

      1. During an in-game dugout interview with Alana, Freidman said they are talking a lot with other teams as all teams are finalizing their 25. After the interview Hershiser was commenting on who might be locks for the bullpen and reminded us that Coleman is out of options. Therefore he either makes the team or could get traded whereas Baez and Garcia have options.

        They might be able to trade high with Coleman. As bad as the Dodger bullpen has been it is interesting that they are in a position to maybe package Avilan and Coleman along with say one of Wood/Lee/Cotton and maybe get a pitcher like Bauer from Cleveland. BTW I would include Crawford and 90% of his salary. Hopefully that would allow the Dodgers to keep Wood.

        I like what SVS and Thompson might do in LF more than I think Crawford will contribute.

      2. They have had remarkably similar springs. Both have pitched in 7 games, both have a 1.09 WHIP, and ERA’s under 3. Baez has 11 K’s to Garcia’s 5….either is a good choice…Baez misses more bats…

  4. I’d love if Stripling got the job. 2 years ago before his tj surgery, he was on his way up here. Now, if he’s back healthy, we have a nice, mature young player.

    As far as errors, who’s making them? We’ve played like 80 guys this spring, so are they guys we will count on, or people I never heard of until 3 weeks ago, like Zaraga or Culberson

      1. Bums Joc didn’t look good on defense last night. I wonder what was going on, with Joc out there. He kind of looked lost of couple of times.

        1. The announcers blamed it on the ball carrying more than normal in the Arizona air. He ran to a spot like the best outfielders do and the ball wasn’t at that spot because it carried much more than Joc thought it would. I can’t think of the other play he may have looked bad on.

          I don’t have a problem with Joc’s glove. It will be there. Turner Ward said that Joc was progressing but for the last week he has been regressing. I did learn one thing. Joc has a tendency to be long to the ball on pitches that he recognizes quickly and are fat. He needs to get the kid out of him still especially of fat pitches.

          1. It was a high weird hit. I know in certain stadiums the ball gets caught up in the wind, and that can make a hit ball, look weird. I just didn’t think that would happen Arizona. Maybe in candlestick park, or maybe in Colorado. That was just plain Weird. I tried to see if Puig should have got there, but it didn’t look that way. There were a couple hits, that acted funny.

          2. Both Puig and Joc do that. I liked what Turner Ward said. He sounded like he gets it. That is more then I can say about the Dodger’s former hitting coach.

    1. Bobby I agree I would love to see Stripling get a chance. He is older, and more mature, then the rest of the young pitchers. He may make mistakes, but he would be easier to get behind, because he is young, and it would be his first taste of the bigs. I wonder why Utley wasn’t out there at second, last night. If Howie has a strain, or a pull in his Calf, it will take longer then one week to heal. They need to have Chase out there, and give him most of the at bats, for the rest of spring training, if Howie won’t be able to play. Puig looked good last night. If Ward can get Puig to relax, and not come out of his shoes, when he gets his pitch, that would great. Puig looked like the old Puig last night, with all of his hits, going to center, and to the right side. And Turner talked about this, on the broadcast last night. Parts of our bullpen haven’t looked good at all, in spring training. I didn’t like seeing Wright out there pitching. I rather have the pitchers from the bullpen, that are going to be on the team, out there over Wright. He hasn’t pitched good, and I know he will not be on the team, but why is he out there? They should have used him, to start the game, that Bolsinger couldn’t start, instead of that minor leauge pitcher. Maybe Bolsinger getting hurt, will be a good thing, so that Stripling gets a chance to pitch.

  5. 19 players have made errors and about half won’t be on the team. Also, many of the players who have made errors have played multiple positions, so I don’t see it as a big deal. In fact, the Dodgers made 25 errors last spring! This is why I don’t put much stock in stats. Thompson has not very good stats, but he has consistently hit the ball hard. I don’t get too excited or depressed what happens in Spring Training.

      1. I think Coleman will make the team and be a solid piece in the pen. I liked the deal when they made it. He’s a solid reliever with a different angle that makes it hard for hitters.

  6. “That’s why I don’t put much stock in stats”

    You crack me up sometimes Mark. But, I’ve known you a long time and you have been consistent with this position. Facts just don’t matter to you. How to have a reasonable exchange with someone who does not value facts. It’s been a two decade long issue with you.

    Michael, do you by chance live in Cañon City?

    1. You confuse stats and facts as one and the same. In this case, at least with respect to the point Mark was trying to make, they are not. He was merely saying that, because this is essentially Spring Training, with players trying new positions and generally practicing in meaningless games, the play so far does not necessarily reflect the level of play we can expect to see during the regular season. He added an additional piece of evidence with the error stats from last year, when the team subsequently went on to have a solidly improved defense – from one of the worst to one of the best -over the Kemp/Hanley teams.

      Are you really saying that, because of this sample size and sample context, it is truly a fact that the Dodger defense, overall and into the future, is and will be poor? Mark made a solid point…and didn’t even reference you or call you a moron.

      1. What? Your nose is nice shade of brown there patch.

        I’m merely pointing out how the team is currently performing. The stats tell us that. As for your opinion? You are entitled to it, of course.

  7. If facts, don’t matter to me, what was it I said that wasn’t fact?

    That 19 players made errors?

    That they had 25 errors last year?

    That Thompson has a poor BA but has hit the ball hard?

    That about half the payers who made errors won’t be on the team?

    That we shouldn’t put a lot of stock in Spring stats?

    What you just made was an irrational response to a simple statement of generally accepted facts. I guess you must be off your meds….

  8. Scott Andes frantic panic attack. Settle down Scott, too early to panic. Apparently not to early to 2nd guess FAZ and the owners though. Never a bad time for that.

  9. On Puig’s slide into 2nd base last night, when he was called out. It is not the call that I am concerned about —

    — it was Puig’s approach and slide into the base that bothers me.

    What I saw was a player sliding into 2nd base like he was a poster ad for sliding. To say it another way, Puig did not approach the bag from the proper angle. Puig could have gone to the infield or left side of the bag. Left side — because the ball being thrown from centerfield was right before him. He could see the throw and should have known to slide to the left side. But no — right straight into the bag and straight into the ball.

    1. I thought it was an interesting slide. He approached the base like he knew he was going to beat the throw, and he did in my opinion. He got down ok, by that I mean he didn’t look like he was about to break either leg – but the proper slide in that situation is the stand up slide. That is the slide that takes you directly to the bag. It’s the quickest, most efficient slide in the game and frankly I don’t know that Puig knows how to do it. Inconceivable. That’s a slide I perfected when I was 13. Every player on my Pony League could do it.

      1. At least he slid feet first. It was apparently a Cuban slide. I always hook slid where my back would be toward home plate and would catch the bag with my left foot. I think I would have killed myself if I tried to hook slide with my back toward the outfield and led with my right foot. Puig’s natural slide is head first. I have empathy for his feet first first slide because of my own inability to hook slide with my back to the outfield.

        1. I was taught to slide either way. The practice was to slide away from the tag. But at a clinic we were told to get to the base as quickly as possible and to do that jump right at the bag in a stand up slide, ready to continue to the next base on an overthrow. Nobody was teaching head first slides and I read Maury only started doing it because of landing repeatedly on strawberries. I’m somewhat perplexed that Puig has been in this organization as long as he has and hasn’t learned the art of sliding. Maury is still around.

      2. Looked to me like a slide to the left side of the bag, maybe a passing slide tagging with the hand , and he’s safe no question. But your’e over looking the good, a scorching line drive off the wall. But that’s what everyone does on this site including the writers, accentuate the negative. My friends and I call that negging. Maybe some articles on how wonderful the farm team is and how the future is bright, bright, bright are in order to lighten the heavy emphasis on the negative in this blog.

        1. Maybe you should post them yourself.

          And we have talked about what looks good. I did just yesterday. Puig and Van Slyke look pretty good. I saw Puig and Ethier in an impressive batting practice session. I commented on that. What else looks good at this point? The future? Yeah, it does. 2018.

    2. To slide into a specific corner of the base is a thinking man’s play. That is part of the old world baseball that modern baseball cannot comprehend. Puig’s inability to make a tiny physical adjustment based on cognitive recognition just elevated someone else’s d-War.

      1. I really thought that that was one of Puig’s best slides. His direction and angle, were not right, but he finally slid correctly.

        The best slide into second, is a feet first slide, just like Badger said. When a player, slides feet first, they can get on there feet quicker, then a head first side. And they don’t have to worry, about jamming there fingers.

        I don’t know why a lot of players, side head first into second. The only way a player, might hurt themself, is by sliding feet first, and pulling up short on the bag. This can cause a player, to sprain there ankle.

  10. How many games has the starting lineup played this spring? Probably zero. Maybe spring training is starting to be a joke. I just got back. I’m starting to think that with all the new ballparks, this is more a time for the teams to make more money than it is to train. In the Dodgers’ case, there are injuries, but my feeling is that except for the pitchers, these guys need about a week to get ready for the season. The Dodgers appear reluctant to let the younger guys have a shot, so the spring is not the time for some phenom to make the team and become an immediate star. The last one we had was Puig. Probably the last one for a while. I agree about sloppiness. I think the Rangers made about 5 errors in the first 4 innings the other day. Be sure of one thing: the giants WILL BE READY TO PLAY on day 1. They will be ready to bury our guys in the first month. This could happen with the bunch we have seen so far.

    1. Good point b17. I can see the Dbacks coming out of the gate fast. They’ve looked really good so far. As they say, no pennants are won in April and May. But, it’s probably not a good idea for this Dodgers team to get too far behind.

      1. ” No pennants are won in April and May” is total bull. The more games you win in those two months means less you have to win in Sept/Oct. EVERY game is IMPORTANT to win regardless of what month they are played.
        It’s especially so because towards the end of the season players start getting tired and get hurt more than they would in the 1st two months of the season and if I’m wrong, I’d love to see the figures on that.

        1. The point is – it’s how you FINISH. And this group of Dodgers hasn’t finished well. And that includes the ace.

    2. Bobbie 17 I am a little worried, about the begining of the season too. The Dodgers have a lot of games early, against the Giants.

      I will feel better, when Ryu comes back. It always seems, that the Giants do well early, epecially against the Dodgers. I know the Dodgers did well, in the first month last year, but that doesn’t usually happen.

      About the young pitchers, Friedman mentioned Stripling as a possible number five, in the rotation, and I don’t think he was blowing smoke.
      It would be more exciting watching Stripling pitch, then Frias, because we have seen a lot more, of Frias.

      I did feel bad, when Frias started his first or second game, in Colorado last year. Talk about bad management, I couldn’t believe that Mattingly, left him out there, so long.

  11. I don’t care about Spring stats either. The Dodgers have the same bunch that fielded well last year and past performance is the best predictor of future performance. That’s why the failure to hit with RISP is no great surprise – they didn’t last year either.

    Interestingly, all of those who predicted that the Dodgers would suddenly be better situational hitters due to new coaches and managers are now wringing their hands because they aren’t . Again, the best predictor of future performance…

    I have been reading that Wood isn’t fooling anyone any more – that the league has caught up with him and that he won’t put up the numbers he has put up in the past. An interesting take – any feedback on it?

    I would be surprised to see a big trade this close to the start of the season. I expect that the Dodgers will go into the season with the pieces that they have. They have to decide on a last bench player in light of Either’s injury – I expect they will keep Guerrero up due to his contract status and that the bench will now be Van Slyke, Ellis, Guerrero, Utley and Kike Hernandez. If Grandal isn’t ready to start the season then they will keep Barnes up. If Seager isn’t ready they will probably keep Culberson.

    They have to decide on a 5th starter now that Bolsinger isn’t ready. They will go with Beachy, Lee or Stripling – probably Beachy if his arm hasn’t fallen off.

    They have to decide on a bullpen. I expect to see Jansen, Hatcher, Howell, Blanton, Coleman, Baez and Yimi Garcia – they will only go with 1 lefty in light of Avilan’s poor performance.

    1. I care about Spring Stats this year only because I’m interested in the new guys and how those 2018 prospects are progressing. The lineup we will have on opening day, barring more injuries, will be veterans, Even the rookie at short is a veteran. We have an idea what they will do. I think we’ll hit ok. I don’t believe we will lead the league in any offensive categories- we probably won’t even lead the Division in any important offensive stats, but we will hit ok.

  12. When we see the regulars all in there together, then I will be interested in how they hit with RISP. Right now, the regulars are just trying to get into shape and the kids are trying too hard. I have no data to make a decision either way.

    On Wood: Maybe. Maybe not. Again, I just have to see him over a month.

  13. I watched a lot of Joc Pederson last season. And some in Spring Training this season —- and the guy just has a problem of putting wood on the baseball.

    Some hitters have it and some do not. Since last June or July though today — he just cannot hit a baseball. He can now hardly stand at the plate.

    I know that baseball has changed, and different decades cannot be measured against another — parks, pitching, equipment, rules, etc. make this different.

    But Joe DiMaggio in 13 seasons only struck out a total of 369 times. Joe D. walked 790 times.

    Ted Williams in 19 seasons (and 2 do not count) struck out 709 times and walked 2,021 times.

    Our boy Joc, in 623 plate appearances has struck out 181 times and walked 101.

    He just swings and misses too many times, and takes too many called strikes. Maybe in the end — he just is not a major league hitter that will produce.

    1. Idiot: I know you can’t compare players from different decades, so I’ll just compare Joc playing in 2016 to two players who played in eras where the league leaders in strikeouts rarely struck-out more than 15% of the time and the entire league had a bb/k ratio of 1. Oh, and those two hitters just happen to be two of the best pure hitters in the history of baseball.

      Joc struckout a lot last year. He also walked a lot last year. In fact, he walked about half as much as he struckout. You know who else did that? Josh Donaldson. Jose Altuve. Matt Carpenter. Chris Davis was considerably worse than that and he just got $160 million.

      I get it, Joc strikes out a lot. It’s hard to look like a great hitter when you’re striking out a ton, but I think we can all agree that the dude plays at least average center field, a position where the average mlb player hit .263/.326/.403 and struck out 20% of the time. Maybe you’re right, maybe he won’t produce. But there’s not denying that the kid has some talent, the kind of talent that is at least worth letting him struggle for more than half a season before concluding that there’s no hope for him.

      1. Thank you, my friend!

        Well I was gotten ahold of today and I will be seeing who they put in charge of this property early next week. It’s pretty clear me moving soon is on the agenda. Oh well.

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