More of the Same For a Run-Starved Offense

April 13, 2013 at 10:22 am | Posted in Matt Kemp | Leave a comment

dodgers_in_dugoutA quality Clayton Kershaw start was wasted by a non-existent offense, and stop me if you’ve heard that one before. Let’s see about the Dodger offense after the first ten games of the season, along with some baseball-reference charts.

Tm #Bat BatAge R/G ▾ G R
LgAvg 26 28.8 4.33 10 43
MIL 27 29.1 3.56 9 32
CHC 25 28.6 3.30 10 33
SDP 25 28.4 3.30 10 33
LAD 27 30.9 2.70 10 27
PIT 25 28.1 2.70 10 27
MIA 26 29.3 1.70 10 17
386 28.8 4.33 150 649

In a 15-team National League, the Dodgers are 13th in runs scored, and that’s actually less impressive than it sounds. They’re ahead of only the Pirates, hitting .175/.252/.247 as a team, and the Marlins, who really should have been relegated to the Florida State League by now. But it’s not all bad, because…

Tm BA OBP ▾ SLG OPS
NYM .271 .354 .473 .826
ARI .272 .349 .437 .785
COL .283 .342 .493 .835
LAD .255 .339 .379 .718
WSN .264 .338 .481 .819
CIN .251 .333 .419 .751
.250 .318 .396 .714

…they’re fourth in the NL in on-base percentage. That’s in large part due to Carl Crawford‘s .474, but of the regular lineup, A.J. Ellis, Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis, & Andre Ethier are all at .350 or higher. The main drags here are the thus-far atrocious Luis Cruz & Justin Sellers, unsurprisingly, and also Matt Kemp‘s slow start — though Kemp does have hits in five consecutive games.The power hasn’t really been there, as you can see by the .379 SLG (ninth in the NL), but on the whole, this team gets on base.

So when you combine a team that puts runners on and isn’t getting them in, you get the inevitable chart of…

Tm RBI ▾
LgAvg 41
MIL 31
CHC 31
SDP 29
PIT 27
LAD 24
MIA 16
613

…a team that’s behind even the Pirates in runs batted in. RBI is an atrocious stat for individual players, but it’s a worthwhile team stat. Runners are on base, but they’re not coming in, and that’s how you end up with the second worst batting average with runners in scoring position in the bigs.

So what to do? Well, upgrades on the left side of the infield would certainly be nice, but we’ve been saying that for months. Even if trade possibilities were available there — which they really aren’t — Hanley Ramirez‘ cast is off and he’s reportedly ahead of schedule, though we still won’t see him until well into May. Fans are fond of pointing out that Yasiel Puig has continued pounding the ball in Double-A (.417/.481/.708), but with Crawford playing phenomenally, there’s really not room for Puig right now.

Unfortunately, the only answer to this seems to be time, and that’s probably spelled out as much by the fact that the Mets are leading the NL in most offensive categories more than anything. That’s not going to continue — no, John Buck is not this good — and Kemp isn’t going to hit .189 all season. It’s only been ten games, and they’re just a game out of first at this early juncture due to a pitching staff that’s allowed fewer runs than everyone but Atlanta.

I suppose it’s not satisfying to say, but unless they can suddenly rustle up a replacement for Cruz or Sellers, all we can do is wait. The hits will come in bunches. They always do.

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