Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Hitting (Page 2 of 2)

Riddle me this, Yasiel Puig

Washington Nationals vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

If you think you’ve got a firm idea of how Yasiel Puig will perform in 2016, you’re kidding yourself.

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Dodger exit velocities, 2015

Contact and speed

With the caveat that I might be punching out of my weight class, here’s a comparison of exit velocities off the bats of Dodger hitters in 2015 (with swing-and-miss rates also noted), using data from Brooks Baseball. Players with at least 100 plate appearances as a Dodger this year are listed. Click the image above to enlarge.

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers set Los Angeles record in BABIP … what happens next year?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasiel Puig had a .356 BABIP despite declining from 2013. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Were they feeling lucky?

The Dodgers had a team batting average on balls in play of .318, which was third in the Majors but the franchise’s highest in 84 seasons, since the Brooklyn Robins had a .321 BABIP in 1930.

In general, the Dodgers’ BABIP has trended upward in recent years, thanks in part no doubt to strikeouts becoming a larger percentage of outs. It was a different story, for example, in the 1960s, when the Dodgers’ BABIP bottomed out at .266 in 1967 and .268 in 1968.

The oddity is that several prominent Dodgers underperformed their recent or career BABIP marks in 2014 …

BABIP chart

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Yasiel Puig, Dee Gordon and the strike zone in the NLDS

NLDS Game 1-Los Angeles Dodgers vs St.Louis Cardinals

By Jon Weisman

The Dodger offense has been setting the table, but that table has been upside-down.

Thanks to A.J. Ellis, Clayton Kershaw, Andre Ethier and Zack Greinke, the bottom two slots in the Dodger batting order have combined to go 8 for 13 with a walk, two doubles and a home run in the National League Division Series. Overall, Dodger hitters have a .388 on-base percentage and .493 slugging percentage through the first two games.

The top of the order has been less consistent. Dee Gordon is 1 for 9 with a walk and four strikeouts. Yasiel Puig started off 2 for 3 with a walk and that pitch that hit him, but since then he has struck out five consecutive times, immediately re-launching the easy narrative that he has become too emotional and undisciplined.

While Puig’s swing zone has become too wide, he hasn’t been going down easy.

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Don Mattingly on Matt Kemp’s improved mechanics

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

Giants at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Justin Turner, 2B
Yasiel Puig, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Matt Kemp, RF
Hanley Ramirez, SS
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Zack Greinke, P

By Jon Weisman

Matt Kemp turned 30 today, and his birthday comes at a happy time in his career. With a .363 on-base percentage and .580 slugging percentage, Kemp is among other things the No. 5 hitter in the big leagues in the second half of 2014, according to wRC+ (weighted runs created plus).

Much of this has been attributed to Kemp’s improved health, but as Don Mattingly discussed today (audio above), an adjustment to Kemp’s mechanics has also been a factor.

“I think the biggest change Matt’s made is to straighten up,” Mattingly said. “I think you see him taller, you see his feet a little bit more straight. A guy that dives or is striding into the plate, he limits himself what he can do.”

Mattingly drew a comparison between this and the mechanics of Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, an earlier topic of discussion today, noting the effect of unusual angles Bumgarner uses.

“As a hitter, when you cross into the plate and you dive, you block yourself off certain parts of the plate you can’t handle and you can’t get to,” Mattingly continued. “Certain areas and even certain areas on both sides, you get cut off, and you don’t have the same leverage. So to me, with Matt straightening up, he was able to get through the ball a lot better and really create more bat speed and then backspin.”

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