The remains of the season: Los Angeles Dodgersby Tom Meagher
August 14, 2008
Starting on May 31, the Los Angeles Dodgers—with a pair of expensive offseason transactions in hand that suggested playoff expectations following their fourth place finish in 2007—floundered under .500 for nearly two months straight. In the week before the trade deadline, facing arguably the league’s two least-talented squads, the Dodgers managed four shutout victories in five games, the fifth of which brought them one game above .500 and one game behind Arizona for the NL West lead. The morning before the 4-of-5 string began, the Dodgers traded for Casey Blake; the afternoon after it ended, they traded for Manny Ramirez.
In August so far, after splitting a series against Arizona, the Dodgers have dropped two of three each in St. Louis and San Francisco before taking the first three of four against Philadelphia, leaving them at 61-59 on the season, tied with the Diamondbacks.
The trades for Blake and Ramirez make clear that the Dodgers’ objective is to win immediately, exchanging several strong prospects with successful careers to date for a combined 4-6 months of veteran play. While these moves may have strengthened the Dodgers’ chances, they are far from a sure thing to make the playoffs or even stay in the race. Let’s take a look at what they’ve done, what to expect over the remains of the season, and how the Dodgers can give themselves the best shot at a postseason berth and playoff success.
2008 To Date
Though the trend is subsiding, the media coverage surrounding the Dodgers has overwhelmingly tended toward grouping the team’s players into broad categories of young and old. To this point, it is clear that the Dodgers’ success has relied upon its younger players and its mediocrity has been imposed by the pricier veterans brought in by General Manager Ned Colletti.
Thus far, the team’s three best regulars—Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, and James Loney—as well as its three best pitchers outside of injured closer Takashi Saito—Chad Billingsley, Jonathon Broxton, and Hong-Chih Kuo—all came up through the Dodgers’ system, and all but Kuo are 25 and under and were drafted by current Assistant GM Logan White.
Martin is relying on solid plate discipline and has mostly matched his excellent 2007 season while continuing to log an astounding number of innings behind the plate. His lack of power has kept him from truly sparkling (.352 wOBA), but he’s really upped his plate discipline and has more walks than strikeouts.
Kemp and Loney have wOBA’s of .351 and .346, respectively, and although each had high expectations due to playing a bit over their heads when given playing time in 2006 and 2007, given their age and minor league records, it was reasonable to expect average production for their respective positions and they have delivered just that and a little more.
Loney’s hitting is dragged down a bit by starting against southpaws, but his plus range makes him a solid asset overall; if his power develops further, though, he’ll be good enough that L.A. won’t have to worry about platooning. Kemp, splitting his time between CF and RF, has earned plaudits for improved defense and is hitting well enough for either position. He has made the occasional over-publicized baserunning gaffe, but his 28 stolen bases in 36 attempts have made up for it.
Billingsley has come through with a dominant season, posting an ERA of 3.07, FIP of 3.05, and R/9 of 3.37. He’s improved his strikeout, walk, and groundball rates, and is just an out-and-out ace at this point. The Dodgers also have two young bullpen aces in Broxton and Kuo. Broxton has pitched quite well but has had some rough outings leaving him with a lousy strand rate (67.6%) that’s sure to increase; he’s pitched better than his 4.01 R/9, as his FIP is a career low 2.44.
Kuo has mostly baffled hitters, allowing two runs per 9 with a 1.93 FIP and a nice groundball rate across 10.2 innings as a starter and 56 innings in relief. While some hope the Dodgers might try out Kuo as a starter, his dominance in the pen and injury history will probably keep him in relief, but he is finally being used in high-leverage situations. Unfortunately, both converted one-run leads into walk-off losses this weekend in consecutive games in San Francisco, but tough moments in fielding were a bigger culprit than either’s pitching.
Beyond that core, the Dodgers have had solid performances from the youngsters who’ve gotten a fair amount of playing time. 26-year-old Andre Ethier, acquired from Oakland for Milton Bradley in one of Colletti’s first moves with L.A., has put up good numbers (.341 wOBA) and continues to demonstrate that he’s about an average corner outfielder.
20-year-old Clayton Kershaw pitched quite well in Jacksonville this season, and for the big club has now made 12 starts spanning 60.2 innings and 265 batters faced. His 3.71 R/9 has been a pretty nice addition, and while he’s walked almost five batters per game his good strikeout rate and groundball-inducing abilities have kept opponents from doing much damage (only four homers allowed). The scouting reports on Kershaw are so enthusiastic that it looks like he can keep up with his current pace, but how many innings and pitches the Dodgers are willing to put on his young arm this season will be a pretty big factor.
In the bullpen, two 25-year-olds with success in their 2007 AA debuts have made effective jumps to the majors. Cory Wade has a nice 2.56 ERA (3.25 R/9), but it’s the result of a .249 BABIP that figures to regress; he’s stingy on the walks but not striking out many batters for a reliever, resulting in a 4.11 FIP. Ramon Troncoso’s 4.32 R/9 isn’t so impressive, but it’s the result of a .346 BABIP; he’s got 27 K against 9 BB in 25 IP, and his extreme groundball rate (59.4%) has left him with no home runs allowed (2.23 FIP).
Another group of youthful players up from the L.A. system had less success this season. Blake DeWitt’s early success caused Manager Joe Torre to express some undue faith in the 22-year-old, and though he is a fine prospect he proved to be in over his head in his first stint above AA, hitting .257/.324/.364 in 309 PA for a .302 wOBA.
Meanwhile, 26-year-old Delwyn Young and 24-year-olds Chin-Lung Hu and Andy LaRoche combined for nearly the same number of plate appearances (314) with a .254 wOBA (.204/.282/.283), though the entire difference between DeWitt and this trio amounted to fifty points of BABIP and two home runs.
Young, who is out of options, has served as the team’s go-to pinch hitter and fifth outfielder, making starts when Juan Pierre andAndruw Jones were both out. Once Pierre and Jones were shoe-horned back onto the active roster, Young went on the DL with a minor injury. Hu’s struggles replacing Rafael Furcal were so bad that the Dodgers handed the position to Angel Berroa and optioned Hu to Vegas to make room for LaRoche. A month and a half later, the Blake trade sent DeWitt and LaRoche to the bench, and the Ramirez trade sent LaRoche to Pittsburgh and put Young’s return from injury on indefinite hiatus.
All in all, the Dodgers have had performances meeting reasonable expectations from all of their young players, and the disappointing fractional seasons of LaRoche and Hu have been balanced out by the sublime performances of Billingsley and Kuo.
Meanwhile, the large investments of money and playing time into free agent signings have had returns that are disappointing at best. The best production from veteran position players has come from two shortstop free agents originally signed prior to the 2006 season, Rafael Furcal (three years, $39 million) and Nomar Garciaparra (a two-year, $18.5mm deal after his initial one-year $8.5mm after incentives deal).
Furcal’s game is predicated on defense, control of the strike zone, and enough power to be ahead of the curve for his position. When the singles fell in for him in 2006 (.333 BABIP), it was enough to make him a legit down-ballot MVP candidate. In 2007, with Furcal playing hurt for much of the season, the singles rate fell off a bit and the power disappeared, one of the bigger disappointments in a mediocre season.
This season, he had rebounded with an outstanding start in April and part of May—a .449 wOBA with a .386 BABIP, .231 ISO, and more walks than strikeouts, all figures well above his career levels—before being sidelined by the back that sapped his 2007. While hopes are for a September return, Furcal’s back has dashed hopes with regularity. Furcal’s DL stint provided an opportunity for Garciaparra, who has missed most of the season to injury, to return to shortstop this summer. Nomar’s put up a nice .357 wOBA in his 95 PA, but he is presently back on the DL and whether his body (and Dodger pitchers) can tolerate more innings at shortstop is an open question. While Furcal and Garciaparra have both done enough to validate their 2006 deals, 2007-2008 could end up looking like write-offs.
While the veteran shortstops have played well when healthy, the other half of the double play combination has stayed healthy but relatively unproductive. Jeff Kent’s batting (.323 wOBA) has fallen off substantially from his production over the last few seasons, though certainly not enough to make an argument that he is “done” as a hitter. While he’s controlling the strike zone as well as he has in recent years, he has had a power shortage (not outage) and a paucity of singles though his distribution of batted balls has not differed much from previous seasons. His fielding at second base is bad enough that going forward he may no longer be an average player overall. Then again, visual reports on his fielding this season have been mildly encouraging after his much-maligned 2007 with the glove, and he has been pretty consistently productive over the past few months after an atrocious start to the season at the plate.
While Furcal and Garciaparra would inspire confidence if only they could make it back to the lineup, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre can’t exactly say the same thing. Jones was an excellent hitter through 2006, and received the Colletti specialty (a short-term, high average annual value contract) after having a bad season in 2007.
Thus far, he has been atrocious (.241 wOBA), striking out in nearly a third of his plate appearances and scarcely displaying any ability to drive the ball. His vaunted defense has also failed to impress, although there has been talk that he has positively influenced Kemp in that regard. Pierre was signed to a five-year contract prior to last season (the only contract of over three seasons in length handed out by Colletti, though thankfully at half the yearly salary of Jones).
While Jones’ contract came on the heels of one season of bad hitting, Pierre’s came on the heels of two: Pierre’s wOBAs by season since 2005 have been .305, .318, .307, and now .291. While Pierre keeps himself in the very general vicinity of offensive productivity by making contact and being an excellent base thief, his token power seems to have all but disappeared in Dodger Stadium (which is an extremely stingy park for doubles and triples) and his batting average on balls in play—never much of a strength outside of 2004—isn’t straying north of the league average.
While perhaps we can expect production mildly better than what he’s done thus far in 2008, Pierre’s offense still figures to cost a team at least 10-15 runs or so over the course of a full season, and his weak arm tacks on another five runs. To be an average player, Pierre would need to be one of the best CF in the game range-wise or many leagues above the average LF; while he’s got good speed, complaints of his route-running and the fielding data don’t support the notion that he’s among the best.
On the pitching side, the Dodgers have gotten fine performances from Derek Lowe and Hiroki Kuroda. Lowe, the groundball artist whose free agent signing following an awful 2004 season was not particularly well-received, has quietly made his contract look quite good.
This season, he’s maintained his nice strikeout rate from 2007 and has the lowest walk rate since his amazing 2002. That hasn’t shown up in the runs column (4.58 R/9), though, as his opponents are hitting .228 on ground balls, a career high; if the defense behind him doesn’t tighten up, it figures to go down as the least of his four seasons with the team despite him currently posting his nicest FIP (3.42) since 2002. Kuroda, signed by Colletti this past offseason, has put up numbers similar to Lowe’s with a 3.77 FIP and 4.50 R/9. The signing is looking like a good one, but the jury is still out.
Meanwhile, two veteran starters have not worked out nearly as well. Brad Penny, who had some pretty nice overall success from 2005-2007, has been ineffective and missed time to injury. In 2005-2006, Penny had nice peripherals but allowed a lot of hits on balls in play to allow 4.25 R/9. In 2007, he cut a run off—down to 3.25—by yielding a home run to only 1% of his batters faced, but the strikeouts were down and the walks were up. This season, his strikeout and walk rates have further deteriorated and the HR and BABIP numbers have returned to their 05-06 levels. He returned from two months on the DL on Friday and gave up only one hit in five innings, but the velocity on his fastball wasn’t there, he gave up 3 walks and no strikeouts, and he was only on the mound long enough to run through the Giant’s weak lineup twice. Perhaps Penny can finish off the season strong, but it’s not evident that he’s going to be healthy and it’s not clear that he can still be an above average major league starter.
And then there’s the injured Jason Schmidt, who was ineffective in the six starts he made in 2007 and hasn’t managed any more than abortive rehab sessions in 2008; Torre admitted last week that he doesn’t figure to make it back to the bigs this year. The logic behind his 3 year, $47 million contract was that a short deal couldn’t be too much of an albatross, but so far it’s done little but make Colletti seem a truly ancient mariner.
Colletti’s best free agent signing has unquestionably been Takashi Saito, who has been one of the best closers in baseball since unexpectedly taking over for Eric Gagne in 2006. Unfortunately, Saito is out with an elbow injury and won’t be back before September. If he comes back healthy, the Dodgers have a pretty top notch shutdown bullpen, but even though they’ve still got a nice pen his absence would be a major loss in the playoffs.
Filling out the roster this season have been a number of castoffs acquired by Colletti. Angel Berroa leads the team in games started at shortstop; living off of his award-winning 2003 season and Allard Baird’s past optimism, Berroa has awful career defensive numbers and hitting that’s well below average even for his position (his .236 wOBA in 142 PA this season is worse than Andruw Jones’). Mark Sweeney, the veteran pinch-hitter and bench player, has hurt the team plenty in a small sample, and it’s difficult to accept the reasons for L.A. to stay the course with him. Luis Maza’s play has arguably been the most impressive of the middle infield scrub cavalcade, but he was DFA’d for Pablo Ozuna, whose abilities don’t substantially differ. Danny Ardoin took over as the backup catcher for Gary Bennett, and Ardoin is a bit of an upgrade both with the bat and behind the plate.
In the quest for a fifth starter, the Dodgers have turned to a few castoffs. 2007 waiver claim Esteban Loaiza was ineffective and then cut. Eric Stults—actually a home-grown 28-year-old—has had some very nice starts and has pitched well in Vegas, and at this point he’s probably legitimate fourth or fifth starter caliber.
Journeyman Jason Johnson has had similar success in Vegas and seems the favorite to fill-in for Penny should he go down again. Chan Ho Park has had surprising success, especially in his (brief) outings as a starter (30/8 K/BB in 25 innings). His velocity is up 3-4 mph over recent seasons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a top option either for high-leverage bullpen innings or starts because his strikeout rate just isn’t there (4.36 FIP on the season).
In the bullpen, Scott Proctor, acquired last summer for Wilson Betemit, wasn’t able to rack up the strikeouts without issuing too many free passes. He’s on the DL for now, but a return seems likely; Torre seems off the idea of Proctor being the 7th inning guy, so he probably won’t be pitching in many high leverage situations.
Brian Falkenborg took over his spot, gave up 8 runs in 11.2 IP, and was DFA’d, though he’s likely to stay with the organization and perhaps get a September call-up. Falkenborg hasn’t had success in any of his espresso shots with major league teams, but his solid numbers in the PCL the past three seasons suggest he’s about an average major league reliever. Joe Beimel has been the Dodgers’ LOOGy, and while he’s put up a disconcerting 20/15 K/BB and .339 BABIP in 32.2 IP, he’s surrendered zero home runs and somehow allowed only 1.93 R/9.
What To Expect over the Remains of the Season
The biggest change to the team is the addition of the two deadline sluggers. Both Ramirez and Blake are coming over from the AL, so their numbers get a five-run bump because of the competition level. Blake’s numbers suggest he’d be about a .340 wOBA hitter in Cleveland, so let’s put him down for .350. Ramirez was about a .400 wOBA hitter in Boston, and the park and league adjustments about cancel out.
Offensively, the Dodgers seem to be in pretty good shape, with projections of roughly .400 for Ramirez, .350-.355 for Martin, Kemp, Loney, and Blake, and .340-.345 for Ethier and Kent. Berroa is a .290ish hitter, but Furcal or Garciaparra would be in the .335-.340 neighborhood if healthy. The bench is not much help, though, with Sweeney, Pierre, and Jones the best available hitters. As a rough estimate, if the Dodgers’ hitters stay healthy and Berroa doesn’t log much more time, we can expect the team (outside of pitchers) to put up close to a .345 wOBA. Over 43 games, that’s about 15-20 runs above average.
In terms of pitching (as distinct from defense, which is pitching + fielding), if we assume Billingsley to be at 3.6 R/9, Lowe, Kuroda, and Kershaw at 4.1, and the fifth starter at 4.8 (it’s hard to say Penny figures to improve on that) and that they make all of their starts (I’ll give Kershaw and the fifth starter 5.5 IP per start and the rest 6.5), that’s about a 4.12 run average over 29 games; if we give the other 14 games to the bullpen at 3.5 R/9 and round up a bit, that’s a total run average of 3.9-4.0 runs per game.
In terms of defense, Blake is maybe -5 and Loney +5, Kent and Berroa/Garciaparra are likely in the -10 to -15 range, Ethier and Kemp are maybe average or +5 or so, and Ramirez is -15 to -20. Let’s call that a total of -35, or -.2 R/9. So the Dodgers’ overall defense (pitching + fielding) figures to be about .3 to .4 runs per game better than average. Combined with the offense, a healthy Dodgers team figures to be in the .550-.580 range, suggesting 24-25 wins over the remaining 43 games.
In terms of the schedule, the Dodgers have a fairly favorable one the rest of the way. The only teams still in the race they play are Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Arizona, and they’re done facing those teams after Sept. 7; over the last three weeks they only play San Diego, San Francisco, Colorado, and Pittsburgh. Then again, what really matters is the difference between the Dodgers’ schedule and the Diamondbacks’ schedule. Crossing out all of the games they have in common after Aug. 12 leaves 19 games apiece. L.A. has 8 home games (Phi-2, Mil-3, SD-3) and 11 road games (Phi-4, Was-3, Pit-4); Arizona has 10 at home (Fla-3, StL-3, Cin-3, SF-1) and 9 away (Col-2, Hou-3, StL-4).
Speaking in wins/game, if we were to assume that both Arizona and LA were .540 at home and .460 on the road and further assume that Philadelphia and Milwaukee are .540, St. Louis is .520, Florida .510, Colorado, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati .470, San Diego .450, and San Francisco and Washington .430, then the schedule favors Arizona slightly, an edge of 9.68 wins against 9.5 (.509 vs. .500). It’s close enough that the bigger factor will be which individual pitchers the teams end up facing.
What Can Be Improved
It looked for a bit like this section would have to cover the overwrought Pierre affair, but Joe Torre seems to have decided to go with a regular alignment of Ramirez-Kemp-Ethier in the outfield; the major playing time issues have basically been resolved, especially with Kuo pitching in high-leverage situations.
As far as upgrades to the roster go, it seems unlikely that the Dodgers will acquire a player through waivers this season. Notably, the Dodgers’ two July acquisitions have the entire balance of their contracts paid for by Cleveland and Boston, respectively, and Angel Berroa likewise has his salary on K.C.’s tab. Last Wednesday, Peter Gammons reported on Baseball Tonight that the Dodgers stalled recent Greg Maddux talks by insisting the Padres pay nearly all of Maddux’s remaining salary and refusing to offer a solid prospect.
Although it’s fair to be dubious about the truthfulness or significance of this report—perhaps the Dodgers were simply trying to lowball the Padres or just don’t want to spend until they know what Brad Penny will bring to the table—it suggests that McCourt has indicated to Colletti that no significant payroll can be added. Between the number of dollars invested in the DL and the complete failure of last season’s waiver wire salary dump pickup, Esteban Loaiza, it is a somewhat understandable stance for McCourt to take. The frivolity of the Loaiza acquisition was apparent at the time, and Colletti’s more recent partial defense of it only heightened that perception (“I had at least one of our scouts tell me that Esteban Loaiza was healthy and would help,” Colletti explained).
Oh yes, and the Dodgers’ decided (whether deliberately or otherwise) not to put in a claim on Adam Dunn. Simply putting in a claim on Dunn would have blocked him from the Diamondbacks and the "worst-case scenario" meant they’d have to pay him $4 million to (if L.A. truly believes Ethier and Loney are better than Dunn) be a huge upgrade over Mark Sweeney off the bench. $4 million doesn’t even buy an average win on the free agent market anymore, and it would seem a reasonable expense to prevent the competition from improving.
To be fair, the counter-argument is that Dunn doesn’t help the Diamondbacks all that much, but it’s not as if L.A. would have been likely to have to take on Dunn’s contract and even in the event that they did, they would benefit from the draft picks they’d get for offering him arbitration. L.A.’s apparent refusal to add any payroll is remarkable, as the team is making win-now moves ostensibly to boost their 2008 income but is unwilling to invest monetarily in the endeavor; the franchise is trading tomorrow’s talent (almost exclusively) for today’s dollars (almost exclusively), not exactly an encouraging development.
Barring a major injury, it’s likely that the only plausible waiver wire upgrade of significance for the squad would be a shortstop of some sort or, if Brad Penny does not inspire confidence, a fifth starter who would have to be an improvement over Jason Johnson or Eric Stults. The former seems unlikely, as Colletti seems fond of his two former Rookies of the Year despite neither really offering enough defensively, and presumably he will not feel the need to displace the recently acquired Pablo Ozuna. A healthy and offensively productive return from the DL for Garciaparra would probably ensure the Dodgers wouldn’t make an effort to overhaul the position.
If Nomar doesn’t hang on after coming back, chances are Colletti still won’t to try to improve upon Berroa, perhaps motivated by the Dodgers owing him no money. When there was speculation that Minnesota would try to unload the very cost-effective Adam Everett, reports indicated the Dodgers had no interest; given their equally poor hitting and Everett’s astounding advantage with the glove, the Dodgers are evidently so gung ho on Berroa that they are opting not to seek improvements.
Picking up Adam Everett or the equivalent could be unnecessary, though. Chin-lung Hu, whose hitting across three levels in 2008 was major league caliber, has a supreme defensive reputation and it appears he could help out immediately. Put on the opening day roster to serve as a bench player with half of the Dodgers’ infield ailing, Hu later became the primary shortstop when Rafael Furcal went down and didn’t come through with the bat. After being sent down to Triple-A, Hu revealed he’d been having eye problems, which likely factored into his near inability to hit. Since receiving treatment, he’s returned to Vegas and hit .307/.342/.400 in 79 PA, which is mildly encouraging but unimpressive in that run environment. Still, Hu is likely no worse with the bat going forward than Berroa and is probably a 2-3 win defensive improvement over a full season.
The Dodgers are more or less fielding the best team they’re going to field, but shortstop will be an open question the rest of the season.
The Dodgers are a team fairly well set up for playoff success, which is not to say that they are a team likely to have playoff success. But they don’t look to be too inferior relative to the Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Phillies, Mets, or Marlins (sorry, Drayton McLane). They have an ace, if not a top ace, in Chad Billingsley, and between Lowe, Kuroda, and Kershaw figure to have solid No. 2 types getting the remaining starts. Kuo and Broxton are high-K and arguably among the league’s 10 or 15 best relievers; Saito, if healthy, would make three. Those three—especially with Kuo being very strong in 2-3 inning stints—could really go places in October and no NL team has a better triad. If shortstop is fortified, the Dodgers offense will be competent at each position
All in all, it is not difficult to imagine the Dodgers reaching the playoffs and winning a series or even two or three. To Ned Colletti’s credit, he has put together a team that certainly can win in the playoffs; it’s just that the resources at hand as well as the resources already expended suggest standards that Colletti has not met.
Further, it is far from a foregone conclusion that the Dodgers will be healthy come the postseason given the advanced ages of Ramirez, Blake, and Kent as well as the advanced innings count for Russell Martin. Kershaw’s pitch/inning count on the season may get too high for the Dodgers to be willing to go to him, and if Kuroda or Lowe go down that could mean L.A. will have to rely on Brad Penny or even Stults, Johnson, or Park in the playoffs. If anything, the Dodgers can expect to have one or two or three major players taken off the table, and the depth behind them is adequate but not strong.
The Dodgers might be a hair ahead of the Diamondbacks, talent-wise, with Orlando Hudson out, so they are about an even bet to advance. And if they roll into October healthy, they’re an even bet or maybe even slightly better to advance in a series against an NL opponent. As frustrating as the team has been to watch play thus far and as frustrating as it has been to watch management give playing time to lesser veterans and fritter away intriguing prospects, it is hard to argue that they aren’t in their best shape in ages in terms of ability to succeed in the postseason.
It is even harder to argue that the Dodgers’ chances are not primarily the result of the excellence of the organization’s amateur scouting since Logan White took over in 2001, as it has been the source of the team’s best incumbents and the engine behind the dollar-free Blake and Ramirez trades. The Dodgers have finally converted Logan’s run into a solid shot a postseason glory, but with the cost in current dollars spent and future prospects dealt, and with the team a few not-improbable injuries away from being in only lukewarm shape, the team’s fans will be right to be angry if the cards don’t all fall into place.
References and Resources
All statistics, other than the Dodgers record and place in the standings, are through the games of August 11, 2008.
wOBA is a statistic developed for use in The Book that scales linear weights to on-base percentage. This article used the formula (.72*(BB-IBB+HBP)+.9*1B+1.24*2B+1.56*3B+1.95*HR)/(PA-SH-IBB). Over the course of a full season (~650 PA), a player who is ten runs above average will have a wOBA eighteen points above average. The average wOBA for non-pitchers in the NL this season is .331, so a +1 win hitter will be .349, a -1 hitter will be .313, and so forth.
I considered discussing park factors, but I will leave conclusions in that realm to the reader. Dodger Stadium was clearly a pitcher’s stadium before changes to the stadium prior to the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Since 2005, the Dodgers and their opponents have hit .263/.327/.406 in Dodger Stadium and .266/.326/.414 away from it.
Tom Meagher jots occasional thoughts on baseball and the Dodgers at The Fifth Outfielder and can be reached via email.
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