Dodgers: Key Players Against Left Handed Pitching

Feb 26, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (10) hits a two RBI single in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner (10) hits a two RBI single in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Maryvale Baseball Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

Last season the Dodgers ranked 26th in the MLB against left-handed pitching, hitting only .213. The Dodgers picked up some right-handed bats this off-season to aid their struggles from last season. Let’s take a look at some of the new bats they acquired and what we can expect from some key players against lefties.

Logan Forsythe

The Dodgers had a huge hole to fill at second base. Logan Forsythe was needed for a lot more than just being a right-handed bat to add to the lineup. Dodgers acquired him through a trade with the Rays, by giving up a top prospect, Jose De Leon. Forsythe’s addition is good for a couple reasons.

Dodgers will finally have a true leadoff hitter. They’ve tried to use Joc Pederson and Chase Utley the last two seasons. But neither of these guys were ever meant to be leadoff hitters. Every start Forsythe made last season was as a leadoff hitter. Not only did the Dodgers add a solid right-handed bat, but also got their leadoff man.

More importantly, Forsythe hit .270 against LHP last season. He had a career-high 20 home runs in the 2016 season, which means he’s also got a little pop in his swing. Last season he had a .264 batting average with 52 RBI’s in 127 games. Expect Forsythe to be a full upgrade from Utley last season.

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Franklin Gutierrez

When I heard of this signing I wasn’t sure what the Dodgers saw in him. Then I took a look at his stats against left-handed pitching. Now Franklin Gutierrez is one of the right-handed hitters I can’t wait to see step up to the plate.

The Dodgers signed Gutierrez to a 1 year/$2.6mil contract in February. He is an outfielder, which puts his playing time in question. But the Dodgers don’t have many right-handed outfielders who have shown consistency the last two season. So he may find himself in the lineup against LHP. What’s funny about this signing is that the Dodgers traded him away as a minor leaguer almost 13 years ago.

Gutierrez isn’t a name too many people know. But if he’s capable of continuing his dominance against LHP he will become a Dodger fan favorite real quick. Gutierrez has a .289 career batting average against LHP. If you look at his at-bats you will see he has almost  900 more at-bats against RHP than LHP. Even with the drastic difference, he still managed 50 home runs, 4 more than his RHP totals.

This signing is big for the Dodgers as long as he holds to his numbers and doesn’t decline. The Dodgers haven’t had a true power hitter against lefties since Matt Kemp. Who hit at least 20 home runs or more every season with the Dodgers from 2009-2012. It will be exciting to see a true right-handed power hitter in the lineup this season.

*Healthy* Trayce Thompson

Trayce Thompson may not be considered new to the Dodgers this season. But with the amount of time he missed due to a back injury last season, it’s going to feel like it. Before he got two stress fractures in his back he was a reliable right-handed hitter. He wasn’t a power hitter, but he put the ball in play consistently.

Granted he only played in 124 games in his career but has the potential to be a solid player. He also seemed to be more clutch when he was behind in the count. Putting up a respectable .288 average in these situations. Hitting in the clutch is certainly something the Dodgers need in their lineup.

If Trayce Thompson can stay healthy all season he has a legitimate chance at becoming an everyday starter against LHP.

Justin Turner

Every Dodger fan knows Justin Turner isn’t a new player. But he was a free agent this off-season so it wasn’t a guarantee he would be back. He grew up a Dodger fan, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when he took a pay cut to stay in Los Angeles.

The Dodgers signed Turner to a 4 year/$64mil contract this off-season. Last season Turner hit a career-high 27 home runs. Up until last season, he had never hit more than 16 home runs in a season. Which was his previous high last season with the Dodgers.

The problem is he actually did worse against LHP than he did RHP. His home run total drops significantly when he’s facing LHP. Turner is more of an example of what the Dodgers need out of returning players. If he could improve his hitting against LHP he would be one of the most dominant hitters in the MLB. Being able to rely on him against LHP would give the Dodgers the next level boost they really need.

Next: Dodgers Biggest Spring Training Battles

A lot of people may think these acquisitions and returning players may not make a difference. But with time I think we’ll see the reasoning behind signing players like Gutierrez and trading for Forsythe.

The Dodgers once again have a great chance at going all the way. But will LHP still be an Achilles heel for them just like it was last season? In less than 30 days we’ll finally get the chance to see.