Dodgers Shift Focus On Basepaths To Smarter Baserunning
The Los Angeles Dodgers offense in 2015 is just as, if not more, productive as the offense in 2014, but this year they are doing it in a different way.
Last year, with Dee Gordon on the team, the Dodgers stole 138 bases which ranked second in the Majors, and hit 134 home runs, which ranked 16th. A lot has changed this year, as the team has only stolen nine bases which ranks 29th out of 30 teams. But they have hit 54 homers, which is second to only the Houston Astros.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, first base and baserunning coach Davey Lopes is not concerned that they haven’t stolen many bases yet because the team has a different dynamic:
We do have team speed. We’re just not going to be prototypical. Last year, when we needed a stolen base, boom, here it is. We’ve just got to be a little more realistic. You still can be a good baserunning team. I believe we have been.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has a different opinion on baserunning though, as he believes that the team needs to play to its strengths:
The way we’re swinging the bats, I feel we’re running into way too many outs,” said Mattingly, whose team leads the NL with 54 home runs.
Dodgers president of baseball operation Andrew Friedman, who is responsible for making all the moves they made in the offseason to make the team dynamic what it is now, agrees with Mattingly that base stealing is not one of this team’s strengths:
For us, we don’t have as many pure base-stealing threats, but we have a lot of depth up and down the lineup, so it’s even more important for us not to run into outs. We have eight guys that can really handle the bat, so the risk-reward isn’t there.”
When Carl Crawford comes back and Joc Pederson gains more experience it is inevitable that this team will steal more bases. But the lack of stolen bases does not seem to be affecting them, as the Dodgers 24-13 record is good enough to give them a 4.5 game division lead on the San Francisco Giants.
Dodgers Foundation Blue Gala Event
I wouldn’t know. I can’t watch their games.