Dodgers: 3 Key ways the 2017 Team has improved from 2016
Hitting Left-Handed Pitching
Yes! The Dodgers are finally hitting left-handed pitching. Into June, the Los Angeles offense is showing significant improvements in hitting lefties. It could always be better, but compared to last year, anything is sufficient.
In 2016, Los Angeles ranked dead last in the Majors with a .213 average and .622 OPS against lefties. They were also 26th in runs scored. Justin Turner, a power-hitting righty in the middle of the lineup, hit .209 against southpaws. Out of everyone with at least 50 at-bats against left-handers, no one hit above. 250.
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Although those were complete season numbers, the improvement in 2017 is quite visible. The Dodgers are fourth in the Majors in runs scored, with an OPS of .717, and own a 16th-best .242 average. They are also within the top ten for hits, home runs, and RBI.
Justin Turner has made the biggest turnaround. He’s hitting on another planet as it is, but is now hitting .358 with a .954 OPS against southpaws. Seager is showing consistency from both sides of the plate, hitting .278. Contributions from Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor, and Austin Barnes have also been instrumental in the Dodgers’ improvement.
Kike has a .984 OPS with four of his five homers off lefties. Taylor has a .371 average and an OPS above 1.000. Austin Barnes’ contribution is perhaps the most important. Not only does his ability to hit lefties give more rest to Yasmani Grandal, but it keeps him left-handed. The two have 81 at-bats vs. lefties between them, and Grandal is hitting .182 while Barnes is hitting .297.
The Dodgers also brought in Logan Forsythe, who can hit the southpaws. However, right now he isn’t hitting much of anything. But, if he and Yasiel Puig get going again, the boys in blue will be just as scary no matter who’s pitching.