Dodgers 2019 potential playoff opponent breakdown: Atlanta Braves
How they match up with LA at the plate
The Dodgers have a lot of left-handed starting pitching (Kershaw, Ryu, Hill) and have Julio Urias and Adam Kolarek as left-handers in the bullpen. That, in theory, would help the team neutralize the star of the Braves, NL MVP-hopeful Freddie Freeman and his .308 average and 29 home runs.
But Freeman really is solid against lefties. This season, he has hit .276 against lefties, with 7 home runs. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s only faced lefties for 127 at-bats this season, meaning he homers around 5.2% of the time off of lefties.
His percentage against righties this season? Right around 5.6%. So having a southpaw to face Freeman probably won’t be much of an advantage. And how about the rest of the lineup, including the 2018 Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna and 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson. How do they fare against lefties?
In about 1 out of every 4 at-bats, the Braves’ hitters have had this season they have faced a lefty. In those 950+ AB’s they have hit right around .270 with nearly 100 combined home runs and doubles, meaning for every 10 ABs against lefties the Braves have been able to watch a home run or double fly off their bats.
Against righties, they have just a slightly worse doubles+homers per AB ratio and .261 AVG in just over 3200 ABs in 2019.
So they match up fairly well against lefties, but really aren’t notably better against either side, both overall and when considering their star Freddie Freeman. But what about their other superstar in the making, the 2018 ROY Ronald Acuña Jr.?
Acuña Jr. strikes out around 25% of the time against righties and lefties and hits .301 versus lefties and .297 versus righties. So basically both of their star hitters are neutral in terms of being either lefty or righty mashers; they are both simply just mashers in general.
Comparing this core of stars with the Dodgers’ own core is interesting. Bellinger is similarly even against righties and lefties this season, with similar doubles+homeruns ratios and AVGs against righties and lefties.
Unlike the Braves though, the Dodgers are actually much better at the plate against righties in terms mostly of their doubles and home run production, which is likely to work well for the Dodgers if facing the righty-heavy rotation of Soroka, Teheran, and Folty. In the next slide, I’ll go more into the actual pitchers on both sides and how they have fared against the opposition.