The 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers‘ muscle runs so deep that some of it was bound to seep into the bottom of the lineup. After all, somebody’s got to hit seventh and eighth, whether it’s mega-prospect Miguel Vargas getting his first taste of the bigs or former MVP Cody Bellinger trying to get back on track.
A stat dug up by MLB’s Mike Petriello on Tuesday put the Dodgers’ depth into full context, though, laying out the case that the bottom of LA’s order, on any given day, can put the top of two-thirds of MLB’s lineups to shame.
Though the names have varied throughout the year, typically the 7-8-9 portion of the Dodgers’ lineup has included former All-Stars like Bellinger and Chris Taylor; it also housed most of the long-awaited breakout of Gavin Lux.
The Dodgers will likely pop Joey Gallo into the bottom third more often than not down the stretch, while crossing their fingers that he can approach his 40-homer self, as well as avoid tanking this amazing stat with prolonged struggles.
At the moment, the Dodgers have managed a .766 OPS from the back of their order during the first four-plus months of the 2022 season. But forget about the bottom of the order. That exceeds the power production that19 other teams have seen from their top threes.
Dodgers 7-9 hitters dominate the heart of most teams’ lineups
Sorry, but … even with Hanser Alberto? Even with backup catcher Austin Barnes stealing ABs back there? Even with Bellinger’s .673 OPS/84 OPS+ mark on the season?! They can’t keep getting away with this!
Bellinger’s heated up lately, cooking after Gallo’s arrival and sporting an .808 second-half OPS (as well as a sterling .777 OPS in the 70 Dodger wins he’s played in thus far in 2022, too).
But even if he hadn’t clicked, and even if it had just been left up to Lux/Taylor/Barnes to carry the load back there, the forgotten Dodgers would still be slugging it harder than the top of most orders.
Though Petriello didn’t name the 19 teams who pale in comparison to the Dodgers’ “dregs” (probably out of the goodness of his heart), rest assured that two-thirds of the league’s competitors set out to create a fearsome everyday lineup this season, only to be beaten out by some ex-Dodgers top prospects and stars who’d previously lost their shine.
The funniest part? Even the Dodgers might take their own bottom of the order over their middle, especially for the large chunks of the season that included Max Muncy’s dark period. See? They can laugh at themselves, too.