Dodger Thoughts

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

Category: Outfield

With or without Matt Kemp, Dodgers stacked in left field

If the Dodgers had nothing more than a platoon of Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson entering the season, I’d be fine with the Dodgers in left field.

In a typical Dodger batting order, left field might basically be the No. 7 spot. If Logan Forsythe bounced back from his 2017 struggles at the plate, the left fielder could bat as low as eighth.

Chris Taylor, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Austin Barnes/Yasmani Grandal, C
Logan Forsythe, 2B

You don’t want left field to be a black hole in the lineup — certainly, by the time the postseason race heats up, you don’t want any black holes in the lineup. But entering the season, the Dodgers are in fine shape with Hernández, who in his career has an .883 OPS with 19 homers in 382 at-bats against left-handed pitching, and Pederson, who has OPSed .823 against righties with 54 homers in 953 at-bats (23 homers per 400 at-bats).

Each player has gone through an extended slump in his career, but both recalibrated by last October — in the glare of the postseason, no less. And, both Hernández and Pederson will be 26 years old for most of the season. It might seem like they’ve been around for a while, but they’re just entering prime time.

In particular, Pederson is a buy-low candidate. His contact rate has improved each of the past three years. His on-base percentage was a career-worst .331 in 2017, but his batting average on balls in play (.241) was the unluckiest of his three full seasons in the majors. In his poorest year, Pederson’s OBP was only .023 behind Chris Taylor in Taylor’s best year.

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Live-blog: Farhan Zaidi talks post-deadline Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Farhan Zaidi is speaking to reporters today about the state of the Dodgers after today’s three trades that yielded Rich Hill and Josh Reddick, Jesse Chavez and Josh Fields, at the cost of Jharel Cotton, Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas, Mike Bolsinger and Yordan Alvarez. We’ll live-blog his comments as they come, beginning shortly after 3:30 p.m. …

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Kendrick, Thompson start in OF corners, Puig rests

Cincinnati Reds vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Reds at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Trayce Thompson, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasiel Puig isn’t in tonight’s Dodger starting lineup, which isn’t a surprise — least of all to Dave Roberts, who planned to give Puig a night off even before Tuesday’s mid-game benching.

Howie Kendrick is in left field, with Trayce Thompson moving to right. Puig was on the field this afternoon for early batting practice, but not in preparation to start.

“I let all the players know when they’re gonna play, when they’re not gonna play,” Roberts said. “I told Howie (Tuesday afternoon) he was going to be in there with Trayce and Joc. So, tonight is not punitive at all. It was already set.”

Roberts said he had an “extended conversation” with Puig after Tuesday’s game, and now they are moving forward.

“We talked about expectations and a vision and accountability,” Roberts said. “For me, you’ve got to be responsible for your actions.

“He understands, and he wants to be a better teammate. I’m not going to say a mistake like that’s not going to happen with him or any other player, but I think he wants to get better.”

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Yasiel Puig’s 96 mph fastball — from right field

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Just how strong is Yasiel Puig’s arm?

This week at, MLB Statcast analyst Mike Petriello wrote about the top outfield arms in baseball. His methodology in brief appears at the end of this post. I followed up by asking Statcast for some numbers specific to the Dodgers, and here’s what I got:

  • 96.0 mph — Yasiel Puig
  • 90.8 mph — Joc Pederson
  • 90.5 mph — Scott Van Slyke
  • 88.5 mph — Alex Guerrero
  • 88.2 mph — Kiké Hernandez
  • 87.7 mph — Andre Ethier
  • 79.7 mph — Carl Crawford

Puig was 2.6 mph behind Houston’s Jake Marsinick, the top outfield arm in the Majors. Here’s a 99.4 mph throw that Puig made at Houston in August:

[mlbvideo id=”404268183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

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