Los Angeles Dodgers Flexing Offensive Muscle

gonzalezDespite several injuries to the pitching staff, the Los Angeles Dodgers own a 21-10 record, the second best mark in baseball behind the St. Louis Cardinals. The Dodger offense has carried them, as the club is showcasing the embarrassment of riches they have accumulated. Even with Yasiel Puig sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Dodger bats haven’t missed a beat.

As a group, the Dodgers boast a .363/.348/.479 slash line. They lead baseball in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and their 127 wRC+ is also tops in baseball. Though they play half of their games in spacious Dodger Stadium, no team has more home runs than the Dodgers’ 49 and their Isolated Slugging Percentage of .217 is 35 points higher than the next closest competitor.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez appears to have regained his power stroke. After hitting just 18 and 22 home runs in 2012 and 2013, Gonzalez rebounded somewhat to 27 home runs last season and a solid .206 Isolated Slugging Percentage. This year he’s already ripped nine home runs and boasts an outlandish .373/.432/.720 batting line. The 33 year-old’s shoulder appears to be fully healthy, and his rest-of-season projections have improved accordingly.

23 year-old outfielder Joc Pederson, who appeared in 18 games for the Dodgers last season, has made quite an impression in the first month-plus of 2015. Pederson is tied with Gonzalez for the team lead in home runs with nine. He’s also walking at a prodigious 22.8 percent rate. Overall 63 percent of his plate appearances have concluded with either a walk, strikeout or home run. He’s also acquitted himself very nicely in center field. Though Chicago Cubs rookie Kris Bryant has come with more hype, it’s Pederson who has been more impressive.

Utility man Alex Guerrero has made a strong impact for Los Angeles, cracking six home runs in just 21 games. With Juan Uribe struggling, he’s due to receive more playing time. Offseason acquisition Yasmani Grandal has displaced A.J. Ellis as the Dodgers starting catcher and he’s clobbering the ball to the tune of a .299/.415/.519 slash line. Howie Kendrick, also acquired in a trade, has continued his usual steady hitting at second base. Andre Ethier has thrived in a part-time role as have Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke, both of whom would be starting for a majority of teams.

At the beginning of last offseason, the Dodgers brought in General Manager Farhan Zaidi and President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, to reshape this team. The two have built on an already impressive Dodger roster to create an offensive juggernaut. The depth the Dodgers feature allows them to weather injuries to key players such as Yasiel Puig and keep veteran players rested for a playoff run.

 

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