With the first half of the 2016 regular season in the books, the Los Angeles Dodgers sit at 51-40 record, which is good for second place in the National League West. Los Angeles does have a 2.5-game lead in the Wild Card race.
Despite battling numerous injuries, particularly on the pitching front, the club remains in good position for another postseason berth this fall.
Let’s review the starting positional players and how they fared throughout the first three and a half months of the season.
Yasmani Grandal: It has been an up-and-down season for Grandal to say the very least. Ending the month of April with a .903 on-base plus slugging percentage in 16 games, his bat was basically nonexistent the following month, slashing a disastrous .114/.192/.271 in 78 plate appearances.
Since then, however, Grandal’s offense has slowly made a comeback, posting a .639 OPS and 1.573 OPS in June and July, respectively. After hitting just seven combined home runs during the first three months of the season, Grandal has already tallied five in the first 10 days of this month.
Howie Kendrick: Serving as the club’s primary left fielder with Andre Ethier on the disabled list and getting an occasional start in the infield, Kendrick has been the true definition of ‘versatility’ thus far.
For starters, his defense in left field has been much better than anticipated given that he hasn’t played the position since 2013. Kendrick’s ability to play first and third base, along with his natural second-base position, allows the Dodgers to rest other veterans when needed.
Kendrick struggled mightily at the plate out of the gate but has shown signs of improvement. Since batting .151/.182/.151 in 18 games during April, he has posted an .882 OPS with 12 extra-base hits over the last 28 days. For the season, however, Kendrick’s 82 OPS+ is among the worst in Major League Baseball.
Yasiel Puig: After spending most of June on the disabled list, Puig has yet to tap into his offensive potential this season. In 270 plate appearances to date, he has posted a 91 OPS+ (nine points below league average) with seven doubles and seven home runs.
To Puig’s credit, he has posted consecutive .800+ OPS’ during the months of June and July, and seems to be completely healthy heading into the second half of the season.
Not all was lost though, as Puig emerged into one of the better defensive right fielders in the Majors during the first half. His defense alone has netted him 0.6 dWAR, per Baseball-Reference’s calculations.
CONTINUE READING: Standouts From First Half Of 2016