3 Dodgers hitters to blame for surprising offensive dip
For the second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Dodgers don’t look like exactly who we thought they’d be.
Now, granted, that’s not all bad. Because, for the second consecutive season, there was ridiculous, floating hyperbole about the team dominating the discourse. In 2021, the Dodgers won 106 games and came up a hair short in the race for the NL West, even though they eventually outlasted their chief competition in San Francisco.
That still left them below the expectations set by pundits like Bill Plaschke, who thought we might be witnessing a record-setting World Series reckoning that would bring tall men to their knees.
Entering 2022, most of the questions surrounding the team were pitching-related, considering the back end of the rotation would be manned by seven or eight marginal arms by design. Instead, the issues have mainly been with the lineup, which was widely expected to run over the National League, powered by Trea Turner and the last-minute addition of Freddie Freeman.
As well covered by Blake Harris, the Dodgers offense entered play on May 3 ranked closer to the middle of the pack in most statistics. LA’s record-setting lineup is:
"11th in OPS (.705), 9th in wOBA (.318) and 10th in wRC+ (110). Their 21 home runs are the 14th most and their 102 runs scored are the ninth most."
Is the sky falling? Nope! At 14-7 entering a rivalry set with the Giants, the Dodgers have kept pace with their chief adversary, and still have plenty more bounce backs to bank on as the summer heats up.
It’s just a bit surprising to see the offense mostly teetering and scraping by rather than dominating on a nightly basis, and these three players have been the chief culprits.
3 Dodgers most responsible for team’s offensive swoon in 2022
3. Max Muncy
In 2021, the Dodgers’ playoff hopes faded because they lost their MVP, Max Muncy, late in the year and couldn’t replace his production.
In 2022, Muncy might need to be replaced intentionally.
Through his first 20 games and 66 at-bats, Muncy is hitting just .136, though his .313 OBP remains spectacularly distanced from his average. The man takes his walks, but he’s done precious little damage so far this season, slugging just .273 with a .586 OPS. His Statcast numbers are mainly in the blue, too, with his hard-hit percentage and average exit velocity ranking in the 37th and 44th percentiles, respectively.
Muncy recently asked for the league’s scoreboard operators to show him some respect and replace his low batting average with more telling new-school statistics. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t do much for his case thus far in 2022.
It’s obvious he still has plenty of rust to shake off after a catastrophic elbow injury knocked him off the field at the worst possible time last season. This isn’t a long-term prognosis or a sweeping judgment. It’s just to note that Muncy’s dragging down the offense’s averages significantly at the moment.