Well the Dodgers are certainly winning lately. They swept the Giants last week, they swept the Braves, while they lost today, they’ve still won 7/9 games which is excellent. Despite the pitching issues, they have performed just fine thus far, and look like a sure contender going into September. And despite the select horrible, horrible pitching (CHRIS PEREZ ANYBODY?) that the Dodgers have gotten from a few players recently, that’s probably not even the biggest concern going down the stretch.
If you noticed today, for some odd reason, Andre Ethier was starting in LF ahead of Carl Crawford. Which is odd because Ethier hasn’t started a game since July 22nd. The 7/9 winning stretch started on the 23rd, so Andre Ethier isn’t the entire the Dodgers don’t win, but it’s close. And granted, Ethier has been putrid lately. I mean so bad that he’s halfway to Sandy Koufax‘s club record in 12 consecutive strikeouts, it’s really really bad. Yet somehow, Andre Ethier is a better start, because Carl Crawford overall this season has been horrendous.
Lets look at the raw stats: .233/.270/.342 4.7% walk percentage, 15.8% strikeout percentage. If we take into account the offensive state of the league, take into account Crawford’s speed, and park factor, he’s essentially hitting 28% below average this season. For reference Ethier is only 9% below average, Kemp is 35% above average, Puig is 72% above average. Now lets be fair, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are platoon type outfielders who can’t hit lefties. Thanks to Scott Van Slyke being the perfect complement, Dre and CC are relegated to work versus right handed hitters, so lets look at how well they do versus RHP.
Crawford has a .629 OPS and 22% below average versus right handed pitchers, Ethier has a .712 OPS versus right handed pitching which equates to 1% above average.
However, Crawford has been worse than usual since coming off of the disabled list, .135/.207/.173 is just not cutting it as a major league player. And this is a really sad development because Crawford now is essentially a platoon outfielder who was never able to hit left handed pitching, now cannot hit right handed pitching, is an outfielder limited to left field who has no ability to throw out runners by any stretch of the imagination, and to top it off, he’s guaranteed to miss a month and a half each season with an assortment of chronic leg and back injuries.
I realize the arguments against this, BABIP, unlucky, he literally ripped a ball today as hard as he could. But his power is down, his BB% is down (SOMEHOW), his K% is up a percentage point, BABIP and luck aren’t smiling on him, however his peripherals are declining and that says something about the state of the player regardless of luck.
At this point, Crawford isn’t even the 5th best OF in the organization, and honestly, with a potential platoon of SVS and Ethier existing, Mattingly needs to start the platoon with a chance at being well above average, as opposed to the one who houses one of the worst regular hitters in the major leagues this season. Carl Crawford is a 5th OF at this point.