Exactly How Much Offensive Firepower Did the Dodgers Lose this Offseason?

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(Getty Images photo)

Moments after the seven-player deal with the Reds went down last Friday, some people breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the logjam in the Dodgers‘ outfield was finally clear, along with the fact that some salary was removed from the books to conceivably allow the club to address other weaknesses on the player roster.

However, there was another group of fans who realized what the club lost in Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. Despite all of their apparent faults in several areas of the game, both of their presences will be missed in the lineup, especially in the power department.

Factor in what Manny Machado and Brian Dozier chipped in during the second-half of 2018 and you have an exodus by a quartet of right-handed bats who made some significant contributions last year.

And, aside from the return of lefty-hitting shortstop Corey Seager, there’s really nobody to step in and compensate for the departed power, particularly from the right-side of the plate. Sure, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez are always capable of having fantastic seasons, but considering their own contributions in 2018, they’d almost need to double their production in order to pickup the slack.

Between Puig and Kemp’s HR and RBI totals, coupled with those from Machado and Dozier (just during their time in a Dodger uniform), the tally comes out to 62 long balls and 210 RBI. The team as a unit hit 235 long balls and drove in 756 last year, so some simple math tells us that the aforementioned righty hitting crew accounted for more than 26% of the homers and almost 28% of the club’s total RBI.

Even when you look at doubles, they connected for 69 of the team’s 296 two-base hits, which calculates to more than 23%.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge area of concern, especially when taking splits into consideration, but the Dodgers struggled mightily with runners in scoring position last year while many of their runs scored depended solely on the long ball in some shape or form.

Puig was much more successful against right-handed pitching, which deviated from his career norm. But Kemp and Machado were split relatively evenly between right-handed and lefty pitching when considering the number of chances they had at the dish. Regardless, the absence of these four will be felt, specifically when an opposing lefty pitcher is on the mound. Even with a few left-handed hitters who are regularly successful from RHP and LHP (Seager, Bellinger) the imbalance is still significant.

Furthermore, there are no guarantees at all regarding the production of Seager.

There’s still time for the management group to make one or two offensive moves to fill the right-handed hitting gaps; but in the meantime, the existing group consists of Taylor, Hernandez, Justin Turner, Austin Barnes and David Freese, which isn’t anything overly exciting to write home about.

There’s lots of talk about new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc attempting to address the team’s ability to produce with runners in scoring position, but for now, those thoughts will continue to lurk in the “wishful thinking” department until actual production proves otherwise.

In 2018, the Dodgers scored 804 total runs—235 of them were attributed to the long ball in one way or another. That’s almost 30%, which is staggering. At the end of the day, if the 2018 production trends carry over, Los Angeles will need to find a way to compensate for the departed 62 homers, unless the club finally balances their attack with small ball tactics and the ability to produce with runners on base.


32 thoughts on “Exactly How Much Offensive Firepower Did the Dodgers Lose this Offseason?

  1. In my personal opinion, which is not worth much, they lost a lot more than they will replace. They would have to sign or trade for at least 3 guys with 20 homer potential. If Machado had been as good as he was in Baltimore, they would have lost even more offense. As it is, they lost most of their RH pop. Of course Turner was out quite a while. So he should be a 20 HR guy if healthy. One cannot expect Seager to be back at the top of his game immediately. It will probably take him a while to get back into the swing of things, but I think he is still good for 15 dingers at least. Kike had a career year power wise, and Muncy surprised everyone. But I do not expect either of those guys to match last years numbers. The one player I expect to improve his power totals is Bellinger. He is more than capable of getting to 40 under the right conditions. And if his contact numbers improve under the new hitting coach, I do not think 40 is asking too much.

  2. Now a report says that the Padres have jumped into the Kluber talks. If Friedman misses out on this guy to the Padres…..he should be BOILED IN OIL!

    1. I believe the Padres are considered to have best farm system in baseball now. That would give them a good chance of doing a deal. I still think the rumors about us going after Castellanos and/or Jose Martinez were with the idea that we’d flip them in a Kluber deal. Padres could also do that kind of a deal as Detroit in particular is looking for prospects.

  3. I told you guys San Diego has something going on. I’m not surprised to hear they would be in on pitching.

    Bear, they need to replace the WAR they lost. And that really isn’t that much. Puig and Kemp rWAR, 3.8, could be replaced by one guy. Wood, 1.3, could be replaced by Urias, or, better yet, improved on by Kluber. I want to believe there is a plan to get better. I do believe it’s possible to get better. Will Friedman get it done? I’m watching and watching.

    1. Come on Scoop. I do not read WAR in a box score each day. I see runs hits errors extra bases, and to me that’s what needs to be replaced. There is no one player, not even Harper who is going to hit enough homers and drive in enough runs to cover Kemp’s 21, Puig’s 23, Machado’s 13 and Dozier’s 3 homers. It is going to take a few guys to do that I care less about WAR, I am no saber geek and you know that. I like stats I can see on a score card. All that mythical crapola like WAR and pitch framing, that’s for the Friedman’s of the baseball world I am old school as they come and if todays game was just a little bit more boring than it has become, I would probably quit watching. All these strikeouts and self centered players are dragging the game down. I do not like Friedman. I do not think he is the great genius everyone thinks he is. But that’s just me.

      1. It’s not about what you care about Bear. It’s what the GM cares about. Like it or not, what they care about wins above replacement. What they are looking for is Wins. There is a plentitude of information that goes into this science.

        Let me ask you a question – without looking, what MLB team had the highest team fWAR? What team had the highest batter WAR total? And, I think most importantly, what team had the highest pitcher WAR total? I think that once you start thinking like a modern GM, the answer to those questions might take on a different meaning for you. I know it did for me.

        There is a distinct correlation between the best teams in baseball – Boston, Houston and NY – and WAR totals. You can measure with your eyes. We all do. But those who measure using algorithms will win more games.

      2. I completely agree with your anti-WAR arguments. How the hell is this even measured. Rhetorical question, I don’t really want to know. RBIs, doubles, HRs, batting avg, slugging pct, hitting in the clutch, 2 out, 2-2 count, man at 2nd, or 3rd, those things I can relate to. Thanx.

  4. It’s not an issue in the regular season. We should easily win the west. It’s all about the playoffs and Kemp and Wood are useless. We will miss Puig because he delivered the last 2 years. But if we can pick up 2-3 players that could make a difference post season then we’re a better team

    1. Matt Kemp got 23 at bats in 13 games in the playoffs and the series. He started 1 game in the series and hit the first Dodger homer of the series. Had the guy started every game I am pretty sure his stats would have been much better. But Roberts used him the way he did the second half and that was as a platoon player or a pinch hitter. Don’t forget, without Kemps first half heroics and excellent play, they are pretty much in the tank and do not make the playoffs at all. He carried the team. Despite not having the most HR’s on the team he led them in BA with RISP and RBI’s. Muncy hit 35 HR’s, but was not even close to Kemps 85 ribbies.

  5. I wish Friedman would just show us his cards already so we know what direction he’s thinking. I think if it was Harper something would have happened by now. Personally if he could find a way to get Kluber without giving up Verdugo I would be happy going into next year with Verdugo in RF, Barnes at C and Kluber in the rotation. Maybe add a righty bat with some pop like LeMahieu and call it a day. I wouldn’t be at all opposed to spending a little more cash on a reliever like Robertson or Britton either. An elite rotation backed by a 3 deep bullpen of close type relievers would take you a long way in a playoff series.

    1. If the “plan” was just to dump payroll then there will be plenty of pissed off fans. I don’t believe for a moment he’s done. I would believe another McKazmanderson move as we’ve seen at least one of those every year he’s been here. Bit’s clear that we are behind the three AL juggernauts and if Harper goes to Chicago we may be behind 4.

      Something is coming.

    2. It takes two to sign a contract so although Friedman might be ready to sign Harper, Boras is known for dragging negotiations out on his star players to get teams to bid against each other. I don’t think we can assume that if we were getting Harper it would have happened by now.

  6. “On @MLBNetwork they just did a fake trade of Trout to the Dodgers for Bellinger, Buehler, and Urias.”

    Anybody in on that one?

    1. I meant to answer the question Dennis posited on this thread – “exactly how much offensive firepower did the Dodgers lose this off season”. I got sidetracked and never answered. 4.4 oWAR according to BR. If you’re curious about how much offensive firepower Bryce Harper manifested last year it was 4.2 oWAR. We don’t need to replace 62 home runs. We need to replace… no, we need to improve upon, team oWAR.

      The question I asked Bear regarding team batting/pitching WAR and WAA, and team dWAR is one worth looking into. I recommend we all do that. The comparison between Boston/Houston/NY and the Dodgers in that regard tells a story. I’ll let the writers here expound on it. I have to go walk the neighbor’s dog.

    2. I’m voting a strong no because there isn’t any guarantee you have Trout for more than 2 years. You have at least 15 years of control on the Dodgers guys and they’re all potential All Stars on a regular basis. On the other hand, I think the Angels need to give Trout a deadline and if he doesn’t sign an extension, trade him immediately. They aren’t making the playoffs with him and they could rebuild the entire team by trading him.

  7. At this point we’ve lost a lot because Grandall needs to be factored in as well. Who is the real Austin Barnes? If he hits like the 2017 version, that would be huge. I still think LA gets Realmuto to catch and I would like to bring Starlin Castro with him to play 2B. That would be two solid RH bats. I think we had a better chance at Kluber when we had Puig to include. The Indians are also LH dominant in current OF. I’d even send Muncy to Cleveland in a Kluber deal and bring Bellinger back to 1B. The OF would be even more opened up for Harper or maybe Pollock. Something needs to happen soon before other teams take action.

    1. Oops. Good point Gl. The 4.4 was only those 3 we sent to Cincinnati.

      I still believe Bellinger, with his range, is much better suited to play center. I don’t go for Pollock. I’d prefer Realmuto and Harper. Muncy goes to first unless he goes to Cleveland or Miami. But, that’s me and I don’t expect agreement on that.

      The fake trade is a very interesting one. Trout is 27 this coming year. It’s quite possible that by 30 his best years will be behind him. He projects < across the board for ‘19, though I would never bet against him.

      Hey Bear, in re-reading my response to you I sounded a bit harsh. Didn’t mean to suggest your opinion doesn’t matter, just that Friedman looks at these things through a different lense.

  8. DJ LeMahieu projects to slash .292/.353/.424 and play great defense. I don’t believe he slashes that in Los Angeles. (Who comes to LA and improves offensively?) He’s been, for the most part, an every day player for the last 5 years. The question I have is what would Taylor or Hernandez slash with 600 plate appearances? And, if either of those two guys were handed the starting second base job, what kind of dWAR would they put up? If it’s me I think I give Taylor the job and keep Hernandez as utility….. or….. vice versa.

  9. Not to worry Scoop. I did not take it personally. We all look at the game from different perspectives. I know that is the way the Dodgers do business and I understand that. But what everyone else has to understand is that I am not sitting at my TV watching a ball game with my computer on my lap calculating WAR, dWAr or whatever. I am watching the players either succeed or fail in real time. All that other stuff is for the geeks. I do not give a RATS ASS about algorhythms, saber metrics, WAR or any of that stuff. I want to see Cody go deep with the bases juiced instead of striking out. I want to see Muncy actually hit a ball in the world series instead of striking out 13 times. Oh yeah, he homered to win the only game they won, the rest of the series he flailed away at empty air like most of the team did. What beat the bats? Pitching. Really good pitching. Something the Dodgers are supposed to have year after year. If they were paying Kershaw 31 million a year and it was the Kershaw of 4 years ago, I would say they are getting a bargain. But the guy who is going to be getting that money the next 3 years is not even close to the same pitcher. They had unhappy players huh? No kidding? I thought players for Roberts loved being platooned. He is a players manager, communicates well. And according to some is a managerial genius. Friedman builds winners. Bridesmaids so far, but winners none the less. Oh yeah Matt Kemp went in the tank after the all star break. Forget the fact that he went into a spin for about a little over a week and was just starting to heat up again when the platoon bug hit. So yeah, his numbers went down. But that’s on Roberts for platooning the guy who carried the team most of the first half. I saw a story the other day that gets me into Friedman’s mind set. He said platooning was a great bridge to success. And it has worked to get them into the playoffs. But it also affects some players adversely. But that’s not the point. So far the ever brilliant Andy has added 1 relief pitcher and 2 kids to the system this offseason and allowed at least 8 players to seek employment elsewhere. Plus he traded 4 guys with MLB cred and got some wiggle room in return. Let us not forget, they are still going to be paying Homer Bailey 25 million dollars to NOT PLAY for them. That’s really fiscally responsible. No, I do not like the way Friedman does his business and I also know he cares less how I feel. No biggie. I cancelled my MLB subscription. I will not be attending any Dodger games when I go to California this year. If I do go to a game it will be out in Rancho. Cheaper, and a lot of fun to watch and I do not have to worry what some kids WAR is. I really care less who they sign, or trade for. I will just sit back and watch the chaos.

    1. Wow Bear. What do you sound like when you get really frustrated and angry? By the way Andrew does care how you feel. It’s just that he doesn’t care enough to do things the way you’d like him to. I love your passion! But I keep thinking of what it would be like to be an Orioles or Reds or Mariners fan these days. Remember, Andrew has revamped his entire hitting coaching staff so he obviously feels somewhat the way you do about the way the team has approached hitting in the past. Also, he has commented more than once (as has Doc) that their first choice is not to have separate lineups to face right and left handed pitching and they are trying to rework the roster to that end this winter. However, you participate in the Dodgers’ 2019 season, I hope it will bring you some joy, hopefully the ultimate joy of a World Series victory.

      1. I am not frustrated my friend. I am just at a point where I do not care anymore. Andy is going to do what he is going to do with or without the fans liking it. I have seen 6 Dodger Championships. So it is not anything I have not seen before. Most of those teams were not supposed to win. The Yankees, Twins, White Sox and A’s were all supposed to be better teams than the 59, 63, 65, 81 and 88 versions of the Dodgers. The Dodgers of the last couple of years, except last year, were supposed to be the best team in the NL, and in 2017 the best team in the majors. But they fell short. I believe, and pretty much no one can change my mind on this, that a lot of the fault lies with a manager who made some huge blunders and a management team who made some huge miscalculations personnel wise. Trading for players they thought would get them over the hump and instead getting some epic fails. See Yu Darvish and Reddick….and some others like Granderson who disappeared from view. When they get to spring we will see what the 40 man and free agents look like. Other than that, at this point I really don’t give a damn Scarlett.

  10. If players don’t want to platoon then produce. I think Bellinger and Muncy deserve the chance to show what they can do against lefties this coming year. I think Joc is a lost cause. I believe Dodgers have stated they want to platoon less this coming year

    1. Kemp was producing against both left and right. More than any other outfielder on the team and yet Roberts decided to platoon the guy after the all star break.

      1. Kemp had an up and down season. After his terrific start he slashed .220/.286/.459 in the month of June. That sucks. His second half he OPS’d .719. I don’t think platooning was the reason he flatlined in June. He ended the season with decent numbers. If he keeps his weight down he should do ok in Cincinnati.

        As we’ve discussed many times I’m not crazy about Roberts but I believe he was doing what was expected of him. We were favored to win the NL and we did. We were expected to lose in the World Series and we did. He didn’t ef it up during the season and he didn’t pull off the upset in the end. In my estimation he is the right guy for a Friedman run team.

    1. Hmm. Interesting interpretation Mike.

      Truth is, for the first few years I did not like the way Friedman was running the team. I wasn’t crazy about his trades nor his penchant for signing the infirmed. McCarthy, Anderson, Latos, Kazmir… guys like that. At the time I didn’t like the Hill trade. Looked to me like 3 solid potential Major League prospects for a mediocre outfielder that turned out to be even worse than I thought he would be and a broken down old dude that in fact after the trade pitched in only 6 games and threw only 34 innings in 2 months. I don’t much care for platooning nor do like the three true outcome approach that is so popular today. Not the way I played and coached. But, all that said, I will not critique the results. We kept winning and actually won 2 pennants. So, at this point, though I’m still not crazy about strikeouts and 5 inning starters I accept that there is a plan, it appears to be working and Roberts is the guy in the captain’s chair. Credit where credit is due.

  11. I do not like Friedman for all the obvious reasons. First, I do not think his track record is all that great as to signing free agents that actually accomplish something. He got extremely lucky with Morrow, and they still almost lost him that year, bringing him up just prior to him being able to get his release. He scored with the trade for Taylor. But the huge deal with the Braves and Marlins was mainly a wash. He got 1 good and 2 1/2 so so years out of Wood. The rest of the players the Dodgers got were non contributors and Latos was really bad. His international signings to date have been beyond mediocre. The only Cuban signed who has done much of anything was pre Friedman……..Puig. His deadline deals have not been that great. Oh yeah, he got Machado this year, he was decent, but nothing near the player he was before the trade. Madson sucked, Axford got hurt. The one that paid off was Freese. He was excellent after the deal. Reddick was terrible, Granderson after some initial success went in the tank all the way through the playoffs. I will admit Hill has for the most part been effective, but he is also the kind of pitcher who makes you reach for the bicarbonate of soda sometimes. Especially when he was giving teams 4 and 5 run leads. I do understand that Ol Andy has to answer to ownership and he also was not the GM, but Farhan was not making any moves without Andy’s say so. Salary dumps are just that. They do not improve the team. The give them wiggle room to sign some people. Twitter is still claiming that Harper is all but signed. But unless they move some more payroll asap, they will be above the CBT once again, and that is not the plan. I am sure Andy has some sort of agenda, but it is not in his DNA to let the fan base know what the plan is. Hey, that is the way the guy works. As for Roberts, he is the ownership’s so called bitch. He is going to manage this team the way Andrew and Guggs wants it done. He believes in analytics, and he buys into Andy’s platoon plan. He is a very good communicator, but he is also one of the worst in game strategists I have ever seen. I am like every other fan. waiting to see how Andy’s big plans play out. And I am sure over the next month or so we will see what this team will look like come March. But remember, last year they did the same kind of salary dump trade that netted them Kemp, and the only free agent of note that they signed was Koehler, who did not throw a single pitch for them during the year. Let that sink in. McCarthy was in 5 games before his arm went out his first year of his contract. Andy has been proclaimed a genius by many. I have no such lofty praise for him.

    1. And yet they’ve won two pennants in a row.

      Everything you said was true. The part about Roberts being one of the worst strategist you’ve ever seen is of course subjective, but I’ve heard that from other people. His strategies are stat driven, which is common everywhere in the game so that won’t change. He’s going to be here a while so buckle up.

      I still think something big is on the way but I accept that that might just be wishful thinking. Something small is also no doubt coming because with Friedman something small is always coming. I don’t have a clue when of course but I don’t think it will be this week.

      1. Yes they have won 2 pennants in a row, but they did that before. And had the same result. 2 WS losses…..77-78…in 55-56 they of course won their first. They had a 3 year stretch where they won 2 63-65. And as we all know they have won 6 division titles in a row. Which is still 5 short of the Braves run from 1995 to 2005. And the Braves won 14 of 15 division titles during that reign they had. From 1991 to 1996 they went to 4 WS. Lost 3 and won 1. But at least they got there. If winning the division and getting to the series is the goal, well, they have done that….BRAVO!!! Unfortunately for Andy, the fans have a loftier goal in mind and that thus far has not been achieved. End of argument. But you know all the facts. You are as I a die hard fan. We have just seen more than most. I for one am not a company line guy. Do what you need to do to get over the line and finish the job and worry about the money later. Hell, they are making HUGE profits. I could live 100 years on the money they make in 1 year.

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