The 2012 Dodger Offense-How Many Runs Will be Scored?


Today I’m going to be talking about the Dodger Offense. Many fans have some kind of objections about the Dodger’s hot stove activities and transactions. Some people feel that the Dodgers are no better than they were at the end of last season, and some people tend to think they’re even worse off. This is a good question I would like to delve into today. Is the Dodger Offense better, worse, or about the same from last year? I will be taking a look using three stats: On-Base percentage, ISO, and runs created. I’m by no means an expert at advanced stats, but I will do my best. Let’s take a look at the Dodger offense……

Will the Dodgers flex their offensive muscles in 2012?

 

The starting lineup has five regulars returning from last year: Kemp, Ethier, Loney Uribe, and Rivera (Rivera was acquired mid-season). The other three of Gordon, Mark Ellis, and A.J. Ellis are new to the team as starting players. The Dodgers lost five starters from last year: Jamey Carroll, Big Rod (Rod Barajas), Marcus Thames, Rafael Furcal, and Casey Blake.

Blake and Furcal were injured and couldn’t contribute much. Marcus Thames was awful, so we’re not losing anything there. So what we really need to do is replace Jamey Carroll’s On-Base skills, and Big Rod’s power. The Dodgers real problem was a lack of power, specifically extra base hits. Looking at the number from last year, the Dodgers were about middle of the pack or slightly below in runs scored, OBP, and RBI. However their power numbers were at the bottom of the league in home runs, slugging, ISO, and OPS.

I was looking at the Dodger’s ISO’s for 2011, and their projected ISO’s for 2012. ISO is isolated power or an accurate measure of a hitter’s true power. The theory is that if you remove all of the singles from a hitter’s at-bats and only measure the amount of extra base hits, you can measure the real power of a slugger (this is more accurate than just looking at slugging percentage because slugging percentage counts singles). An extra base hit is a double, triple, or Home Run, right? Ok, so the formula has us just count the doubles, triples, and home runs. We take a player’s batting average and subtract it from their slugging percentage. Let’s use Matt Kemp as an example. Kemp’s average in 2011 was .324, and his slugging was .586. So we take his average of .324 and minus it from his slugging. We get .262, which is Kemp’s ISO for 2011. Now what does that mean? The ISO tells us how many bases the player averages per at-bat. Remember what I said earlier about the Dodgers lack of extra base hits? Kemp’s .262 ISO tells us that he averages over two bases per at-bat. The Dodgers ranked 14th in the National League last year. We need to improve on this if we expect to score more runs in 2011. Listed below are the Dodgers ISO leaders for 2011 with their 2012 projections and career averages.

ISO                2011 career 2012

Matt Kemp    .262  .203  .223

Andre Ethier .129  .188  .176

James Loney .128  .145  .136

Juan Rivera    .124  .173 .152

A.J. Ellis          .108   .068 .088

Mark Ellis      .098   .131 .114

Juan Uribe    .089   .171  .154

Dee Gordon .058   .058   .050

 

Here above lies the crux of the Dodgers problems: lack of extra base hits. As you can see other than Kemp, everyone else doesn’t get extra base hits very often. Ethier should improve with a healthy knee, but the rest are concerning. How many runs will this lineup score in 2012 is the question. Let’s first take a look at their on-base skills.

 

OBP                2011 career 2012

Matt Kemp    .399  .350  .362

Andre Ethier .368  .368  .366

James Loney .339  .346  .345

Juan Rivera    .319  .327 .319

A.J. Ellis          .392  .360 .361

Mark Ellis      .288   .331 .314

Juan Uribe    .264   .298  .298

Dee Gordon .325   .325  .301

 

Looking at the OBP numbers, Kemp is wonderfulness and the best in the game. After Bison, Ethier is the third best Dodger at getting on base, but take a look at who ranks number two. Yep it’s A.J. Ellis. He is quite adept at getting on base. Which means he should be hitting at the top of the order. If Dee Gordon is to continue his development into the lead-off hitter, then he needs to improve his plate discipline, and get on base more. Loney is adequate, and the rest are just…….GLUG.

Now let’s take a look at a stat called runs created. This is an old stat. There is a more formulaic version called weighted runs created, which is more accurate, but I’m going to look at runs created. This stat estimates the number of runs a hitter truly contributes to his team. The theory behind this stat is that hitters are supposed to generate runs, but how many runs their at-bats actually generated. So this formula attempts to answer the question of how many runs scored came as a result of the hitter’s at-bats?

The basic formula is A x B=C. Where A equals OBP, B equals advancement factor, and C equals the opportunities each batter has to generate runs.

That’s the actual formula, but it can be shortened to be OBP multiplied by slugging, multiplied again by at-bats. Or just OBP multiplied by total bases. Let’s take a look at the Dodgers runs created from last year and their averages over a full 162 game season.  

 

RC                 2011 162 average

Matt Kemp     141  103

Andre Ethier     77   99

James Loney    76     83

Juan Rivera      55     74

A.J. Ellis            13     48  

Mark Ellis         48     79   

Juan Uribe       19      69 

Dee Gordon    28      81

Jerry Sands      26     69

Tony Gwynn    37    46

Jerry Hairston  45   64

Adam Kennedy 39  69

Matt Treanor   23    47

 

Projected 2012 Lineup

1.Gordon

2. A. Ellis

3.Kemp

4.Ethier

5.Rivera

6.Loney

7.M. Ellis

8.Uribe

9.Pitcher

 

I added the bench players on this list just to be thorough.  Numbers will vary from player to player, as will amount of games played. We know Kemp is good for at least 100 runs himself. Ethier should come close. No one else is even close to 100 runs. We better hope, nay I say pray, that Uribe’s numbers return to his career norms. So how many runs are the Dodgers projected to score in 2012? Let’s add up the totals of the starting eight.

The Dodgers scored 644 runs in 2011, ranking  them 9th in the National League. If we total up the projected runs for the 2012 starting eight we get 636 runs scored. That’s actually not terrible, and right on par with how many runs they scored last year. I’m not even counting the bench guys, and I could easily add another 100 runs from them. After all the signings this winter, the Dodgers are about the same offensively. Mark Ellis, A.J. Ellis, and Rivera should be able to replace Carroll’s OBP and Big Rod’s power. I would suggest batting A.J. Ellis at the top of the lineup, probably in the two spot to take advantage of his plate discipline. Will the Dodgers flex their offensive muscles in 2012? If the Dodgers want to be competitive in 2012, they’re going to have to score more runs. In order to score more runs they’re going to need to get more extra base hits and get on base more often.  Of course hitting a few more balls out of the park wouldn’t hurt either. The Dodgers only hit 117 home runs last year, ranking 12th in the National League.

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Tags: A.J. Ellis Adam Kennedy Andre Ethier Dee Gordon Dodgers James Loney Jamey Carroll Jerry Hairston Jr. Jerry Sands Juan Rivera Juan Uribe Marcus Thames Mark Ellis Matt Kemp Matt Treanor Rod Barajas Tony Gwynn Jr.