The Dodgers have come so close to winning the World Series in 2017 and appeared again in 2018. One of the bigger issues in both of the series was that the offense did not come close to their regular season productivity. With one more base hit in so many situations in both games 2 and 5 in 2017 and the Dodgers are the World Champions. One of the key aspects that Andrew Friedman spoke of was “consistency”.
A big focus for us this off-season was ‘How do you achieve more consistency?’ I think the team last year was the most talented team I have ever been around. But for a host of reasons, some bad luck, some real, we weren’t as consistent. And I think a big thing for us is to avoid the games where we score zero, one or two runs. As often as we can, score three or more and we will win a lot of games doing that, especially with our pitching staff. – Friedman via Mark Townsend Yahoo Sports
To be honest I am not convinced the consistency of the offense is much different than last two years. Of course the offense has been missing Alex Verdugo and David Freese for the last few weeks. Matt Beaty seems to bring a consistency that some Dodgers have lacked in the past.
Breaking Down Matt Beaty
We’ll look at some key statistics for Matt Beaty. He’s been a surprise as Baseball America ranked him as the #25 prospect and MLB Pipeline as #30 to begin the season. The 2015 12th round draftee has never been a top prospect and he barely made the 40 man roster after the 2018 season.
In 2018 he only played in 34 games and was in danger of getting lost in the shuffle. However, the Dodgers saw something in his game and decided to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. In a surprise to many, he ended up making his Major League debut on April 30th and has been an important factor for the Dodgers, even though he has been sent down three times since his initial call up.
Let’s break down some of his statistics for this season through August 31st.
Ten Game Breakdown
These statistics from Baseball Reference look at Beaty’s stats in 10 game increments.
In five of the eight increments (last one is only 6 games) Beaty has an OPS over .800. I know RBI is not a favored statistic any more but 39 in 199 at bats is a rate of almost 120 in a season. His strikeouts would be around 75 over a full season which is a big deal in these days where striking out over 100 times is no longer a big deal.
Beaty has not had many opportunities against left-handed pitching. For completeness we will included his statistics verses left-handers and right-handers.
In the minors Beaty had much better splits but was mostly better against righties.
Pinch Hitting and “Clutch” Breakdown
In the postseason, my guess is that Beaty’s main role would be as a pitch hitter and that is where he excels. In 22 plate appearances he’s slashing .350/.409/.550 (AVG/OBP/SLG). With two outs and runners in scoring position he has slashed .304/.429/.565. In late and close situation he is slashing .286/.333/.500. The bottom line with Beaty is it seems he has a “clutch gene”.
Where Does He Fit On The Dodgers
The statistics below are from FanGraphs and have each player that has over 100 plate appearances. The sort order is be wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus). Some significant informattion in Beaty’s favor is that he has the lowest strikeout percentage and is in the upper half of wRC+. So far Beaty has had a nice year and has contributed a lot to the team.
Where Does Beaty Fit On The Post-Season Roster
The answer really could come down to how Gavin Lux performs. The Dodgers will have 13 position players on the roster and, given good health, the roster will consist of the following:
- Will Smith
- Russell Martin or Austin Barnes
- Cody Bellinger
- David Freese
- Max Muncy
- Corey Seager
- Justin Turner
- Chris Taylor
- Kiké Hernandez
- Joc Pederson
- A.J. Pollock
- Alex Verdugo
- Matt Beaty or Gavin Lux
Somehow I think Beaty’s numbers as a pinch hitter, two outs with RISP and late and close games do matter. My guess is that Beaty works his way into at least one playoff series and possibly more. If any of the above are injured (excluding catcher) then he should make it easily.
No matter what happens Matt Beaty has been a significant contributor to the Dodgers success in 2019. He has put himself in position for a playoff roster spot and quite possibly being on the roster all season in 2020. Based on what happens in the off-season he could end up becoming a regular on the team. The experts never pegged Matt Beaty as much of a prospect but he is already exceeding all of our expectations.