The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the final stretch of their Spring Training schedule and are just over a week away from beginning the regular season against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on March 28.
As we head into the final seven games of Spring Training, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will look to give the established players on the roster more rest as they get set to grind out another long year.
With that in mind, it’s time to look back on some of the standout performers from Cactus League play and those who have struggled.
As a whole, the Dodgers got off to a slow start at the plate this month. The offense currently sits 13th in the MLB with 132 total runs scored, an average of 5.5 per game. Their team slash line (.243/.316/.421) ranks 27th, 24th and 19th, respectively.
The Dodgers have hit 28 home runs and entering play Wednesday, rank seventh-highest with 222 strikeouts. The offense certainly could have performed much better compared to the rest of the league, but there are a few everyday players who have found individual success.
Kiké Hernandez and Justin Turner are currently tied for the team lead with 14 hits. The duo has also combined for four home runs and 16 RBI in 70 at-bats.
Hernandez: (14-for-41), .341/.404/.634, three home runs, 11 RBI, nine runs scored
Turner: (14-for-29), .483/.579/.759, one Home Run, five RBI, 12 runs scored
Another potential starter that has stood out this spring has been Austin Barnes. He seems to have rejuvenated confidence and looked like the Barnes that the Dodgers relied on heavily on during the 2017 postseason.
Barnes’ showing may just be enough to hold off veteran Russell Martin for a starting role.
Barnes: (10-for-34), .294/.385/.559, two home runs, four RBI, seven runs scored
Meanwhile, newcomer A.J. Pollock added to his decent spring on Tuesday night by hitting his second home run of the Cactus League. Pollock has a modest slash line of .269/.375/.488 through 41 at-bats.
Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger are among the Dodgers expected to be on the Opening Day roster but who have largely struggled.
Taylor: (9-for-44), .205/.239/.364, one home run, seven RBI, six runs scored
Pederson: (7-for-40), .175/.261/.500, three home runs, seven RBI, eight runs scored
Muncy: (5-for-25), .143/.268/.200, zeron home runs, four RBI, five runs scored
Bellinger: (9-for-40), .225/.273/.400, three home runs, nine RBI, six runs scored
At first glance, the statistics aren’t too terrible. These four key hitters have combined for seven home runs, 27 RBI and 42 runs scored. However, the concern lies with their ability to put the ball in play.
They have combined for 55 strikeouts to only 14 walks. Taylor led the National League in strikeouts last season, and Pederson and Bellinger have a reputation of being “all or nothing” hitters, so their strikeout numbers are too staggering.
Muncy, however, may be another concern. He led the team in walks and was fourth on the team in on-base percentage last season. To see him struggling to make contact early could be an indication of a sophomore year slump.
Similar to last season, the Dodgers’ bread and butter has been their pitching staff. They have held opponents to a second-best 3.79 ERA and a league-best .229 batting average against. They currently sit in the top 10 in strikeouts (217) and are averaging just under one strikeout per inning (221 innings pitched).
The pitching staff has also done an excellent job limiting the home run ball, only allowing 18 homers in 24 games (league best). Considering Clayton Kershaw has yet to make an appearance and Walker Buehler just saw his first action, the pitching staff looks to be in midseason form a week before the season begins.
The presumed Opening Day starting rotation has been solid. Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ross Stripling and Buehler have combined to pitch 47 innings and have allowed 14 earned runs over 17 starts, good enough for a 2.68 ERA.
Hill: four starts, 3.27 ERA, 11 innings pitched, four earned runs, 11 strikeouts, .289 BAA
Maeda: four starts, 2.70 ERA, 10 innings pitched, three earned runs, 15 strikeouts, .121 BAA
Ryu: four starts, 1.80 ERA, 10 innings pitched, two earned runs, nine strikeouts, .231 BAA
Stripling: four starts, 2.70 ERA, 13.1 innings pitched, four earned runs, 11 strikeouts, .250 BAA
Buehler: one start, 3.38 ERA, 2.2 innings pitched, one earned run, two strikeouts, .273 BAA
The bullpen arms have also pitched very well, headlined by Yimi Garcia, Scott Alexander, Kenley Jansen and Julio Urias.
Garcia: eight appearances, 0.00 ERA, 7.1 innings, zero earned runs, nine strikeouts, .214 BAA
Alexander: six appearances, 1.50 ERA, six innings, one earned run, five strikeouts, .136 BAA
Jansen: five appearances, 0.00 ERA, five innings, zero earned runs, five strikeouts, .211 BAA
Urias: four appearances (starts), 1.00 ERA, nine innings, one earned run, nine strikeouts, .071 BAA
Other key relievers such as Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly and Dylan Floro have also had good showings and continue to show why the Dodgers’ front office values bullpen production.
Spring Training statistics are always meant to be taken with a grain of salt. There’s no sense in reading too much into March production because baseball has over six months of a sample size for players to return to their normal production.
But, with Opening Day one week away, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at how key members of the club have been performing.