With the second half of the 2018 season about to get underway, the Dodgers have realized holes in their team make-up that need addressing. On Wednesday, the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado. Los Angeles secured baseball’s, arguably, top hitting shortstop. Let’s take a look at the impact he will have on an already explosive lineup.
This trade comes at a convenient time for the Dodgers as their franchise shortstop, Corey Seager, went down with a sprained UCL in late April and underwent Tommy John surgery. Seeing as Manny Machado is a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, this acquisition by the Dodgers will most likely be a 3-month rental with hopes to achieve a world series this year. So, the obvious question is this: how will adding Manny Machado’s bat to the Dodger lineup affect Dodger offense the rest of the way?
As can be seen, the Dodgers’ offense a whole has not been bad by any means. They rank in the top-10 in all major
categories except hitting average. This points to two realities about the current offensive culture in the Dodger clubhouse: 1) They get on base a lot & 2) they hit a lot of home runs. These two dynamics, when paired together, actually bring about positive results in the modern-day MLB era. However, the Dodgers do struggle to hit for average when they are not slugging homers and earning walks. Additionally, the Dodgers have a healthy 15.6 team WAR. All in all, the Dodger offense has been effective. The team places among the top-10 offenses in all of baseball in the first half, all without Manny Machado.
|Dodgers SS||Runs scored||RBIs||HRs||BBs||AVG||OPS||OBP||SLG||WAR|
Shockingly enough, the Dodger shortstop platoon, consisting of Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor, has held its own. The Dodgers’ shortstop position has recorded top-10 numbers in the following categories: Runs, RBI, HR, BB, OPS, and SLG. So, why do the Dodger’s need Machado? If the combination of Taylor and Hernandez is getting the job done, do the Dodgers really need Machado? The answer is yes because of the ripple effect acquiring Machado will have on the rest of the positional infrastructure. Let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ second base stats in the first half.
|Dodgers 2B||Runs scored||RBIs||HRs||BBs||AVG||OPS||OBP||SLG||WAR|
You could say with integrity that the Dodgers have had the worst offensive production from the second base position in all of baseball. The first half of 2018 has consisted of a combination of Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley manning second base with a few appearances here and there from Kike Hernandez and Max Muncy.
Both Forsythe and Utley have combined to produce abysmal numbers for the Dodgers. See below:
- At Bats: 307
- HR: 3
- AVG: .224
- SLG: .318
- RBI: 26
- WAR: -0.5
These are incredibly low production numbers. Both Utley and Forsythe have failed to cash in on their collective playing time. The worst part? They are being used as a righty-lefty platoon. This means that Forsythe has seen primarily left-handed pitching and Utley has seen primarily right-handed pitching. Still, production at second base has been catastrophically low. Literally, the only stat category that has been productive has been walks. This is due to both Forsythe and Utley’s elite plate discipline. Obviously, the Dodgers will not want to simply bench these two players, but rather move them. Priority number one for the Dodgers following the Machado aquisition will be to move Forsythe and possibly Utley. Who knows, maybe Utley will get thrown back to Philly in time for a playoff run and a little nostalgia?
How will Machado remedy this void in offense at second base? Obviously, Machado will play short everyday. This will most likely move the Taylor-Hernandez platoon to second where they can continue to produce as they have been. Max Muncy will then move primarily to first base, with a few select starts in the outfield. Conversely, Cody Bellinger will then move to center field, with a few select starts on first base. Boom! There is your “Machado effect” which will optimize the lineup ensuring each position is manned by the best offense producing players possible.
Here is Machado’s first half line:
|Machado SS||Runs scored||RBIs||HRs||BBs||AVG||OPS||OBP||SLG||WAR|
Basically, you’re adding one of the best hitters in the league to an already dangerous lineup. If you add Machado’s numbers to the Dodger’s first half stats, they may very well be a prediction of the Dodgers’ second half offensive metrics. Obviously these numbers are a bit bloated as I have not adjusted for the weighted loss of the at bats that would have gone to Machado:
|Dodgers 1st half (w Machado)||Runs scored||RBIs||HRs||BBs||AVG||OPS||OBP||SLG||WAR|
Replacing Forsythe and Utley at second base and replacing them with the Dodger’s top-10 shortstop numbers is already an excellent move for the Dodgers. In fact, it is a 2.6 WAR positive move. Now, add Machado’s bat to the lineup as is and you have added 24 home runs, a .315 average, .963 OPS, and 65 RBIs to the Dodger offense. Those are game-changing numbers that propel the Dodgers into strong world series contenders that are on par with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros. Hopefully Machado can sustain his first-half rate. This shouldn’t be a problem seeing as he has remained consistent throughout his whole career. The beautiful thing? The Baltimore Orioles are dead last in offensive production this year which means Machado’s RBI opportunities were limited. Imagine what he will do with a beefed up supporting cast during the second half.
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