Thursday, September 13, 2007

Analyzing the Dodgers' Home Run Tear

Faithful Dodger fans know that the Dodgers' lack of a power bat has been evident all year long. Sure, Jeff Kent got his 20th HR of the year last night (which leads the Dodgers). But by and large, the Dodgers have not been able to hit the long ball, which has plagued their batting with RISP. After all, Wilson frickin' Betemit ranks sixth on the team in HRs, and he hasn't worn a Dodgers uniform in over a month (and even when he did wear a Dodgers uniform, he rarely needed to wash it after the game).

The Dodgers are 10th in the league for runs scored, but only 15th of 16 teams in HRs (ahead of only the meek Nationals) for home runs. And this takes into account a relative "power surge" of the Dodgers over the last six games, in which we've hit 12 home runs (over 10% of our total for the year). Here's the breakdown of HR over the last six games:

9/6, Loney, 0 on
9/6, Kemp, 0 on
9/6, Ethier, 2 on
9/7, Loney, 0 on
9/7, Loney, 0 on
9/8, Gonzalez, 2 on
9/9, Kent, 0 on
9/9, Kent, 0 on
9/11, Loney, 0 on
9/11, Hu, 0 on
9/12, Loney, 1 on
9/12, Kent, 0 on

What can be made of this small sample size? Well, a couple of things jump out.

  • First of all, SoSG fave James Loney accounts for five of the 12 home runs. Kent also has three of his own.
  • Secondly, eight of the 12 HRs come from the Dodgers' youth movement--and don't even include Russell Martin, whose bat has showed signs of fatigue down the stretch due to overuse--rather than the veterans' bats (Garciaparra, Kent, Gonzalez, Saenz, etc.). Why Grady Little insists upon inserting veterans in the lineup is beyond me; with the exception of Kent, to paraphrase a Tatooine stormtrooper, these are not the power bats we're looking for.
  • Thirdly, nine of these home runs have come with no one on base. Where the hell are Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre, for god's sake, if not on base? And where is everyone else?
  • Finally, why does Grady insist on using Olmedo Saenz (.184 BA) and Ramon Martinez (.192) in the lineup, either for pinch-hitting situations (the former) or to start a game (the latter)? Why not insert one of the youngsters whom you've irrationally sat in the first place?

Chicks may dig the long ball, but the Dodgers need more of the long ball. Let's get the youngsters in the lineup more regularly, Grady, so we can see a home run more often.