Believe it or not, the 2019 Cactus League season has come and gone for the Dodgers, signalling that Opening Day is just another step closer.
Some pundits don’t put any stock at all in how a team as a whole or even specific players perform during the spring, especially in the batters box. Come to think of it, there are plenty of people who aren’t even concerned about how a team performs over the first month or two of the regular season—just look at how the Dodgers turned their year around last season.
So what’s the actual verdict? Are players simply fine tuning rusty swing mechanics or experimenting with new approaches? Or are they legitimately mired in slumps that could carry over to the beginning of the regular season?
Oftentimes, batters use their AB to see pitches better, work on their long or short swings, or maybe even as an effort to hit the ball to one spot in the park or another. For all we know, their may be a new technological breakthrough in launch-angle science that could conceivably result in the Dodgers hitting more long balls than they did last season.
Anyway, if you are a believer in stats, the Dodgers finished 11th out of 15 Cactus League squads as far as run production goes. Their pitching was much better, though, as there were only three clubs—Oakland, Seattle and Arizona—who surrendered less runs. The overall record of the Dodgers in the desert was 12-14-3, but they hadn’t won a game over the final seven contests.
Individually, there were just a few outstanding, consistent performers. Only three players with a decent number of AB—Justin Turner, Enrique Hernandez and A.J. Pollock—hit over .300 for the entire Cactus League schedule. Brad Miller actually had the second-best average among all the regular players at .385, but as it turned out, he opted for free agency and later signed with the Indians when he was told he wouldn’t make the Los Angeles Opening Day roster.
Among the notable regulars who were in the cellar of the batting statistics were Joc Pederson with a .167 average, Max Muncy with a .178 average and Chris Taylor with a .192 average. Taylor led the club with 20 punchouts during Cactus League play, while Pederson and Muncy were tied for second with 16 strikeouts apiece.
Whatever the case may be, a sort of dress rehearsal, if you will, starts Sunday evening with the three-game Freeway Series against the Angels. Two contests will be played at Angel Stadium and the finale will take place at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. First pitch for Monday’s contest is slated for 7:07 PM Pacific time.
After a day off on Wednesday, the Dodgers’ home opener against the Diamondbacks will begin at 1:10 PM Pacific time on Thursday.