"Yeah, well I had the Dodgers' second-best Spring Training OPS in 2010" (via) "Yeah, well I had the Dodgers' second-best Spring Training OPS in 2010" (via)

The Recent History of Dodgers Spring Hitting

"Yeah, well I had the Dodgers' second-best Spring Training OPS in 2010" (via)

Really, I had to use this picture. (via)

With spring training games fast approaching, we’ll undoubtedly start seeing some interesting stat lines among the Dodgers’ hitters. While everybody remembers Yasiel Puig‘s amazing spring training performance from last season, who else has stuck out in the last few years? The following leaderboards are the top three spring training OPSs among Dodger position players with at least 30 plate appearances. I’ve also included each player’s major league batting line, so we can see how their spring training lines compared to their regular season performance.

2013

Spring trainingRegular season
PABAOBPSLGPABAOBPSLG
Yasiel Puig58.517.500.828432.319.391.534
Brian Barden32.517.576.621N/AN/AN/AN/A
Andre Ethier60.302.387.585553.272.360.423

Everybody remembers Puig’s amazing spring training performance last year. Nobody remembers that Brian Barden nearly matched it. After that spring performance, Barden hit .277/.350/.381 in Albuquerque, which isn’t great after adjusting for the inflated run environment there. Ethier had the third-highest OPS, which isn’t too surprising.

2012

Spring trainingRegular season
PABAOBPSLGPABAOBPSLG
Andre Ethier55.385.431.846618.284.351.460
Juan Rivera65.349.382.619339.244.286.375
Dee Gordon73.379.446.485330.228.280.281

Ethier makes another appearance, this time at the top of a list. He had a decent regular season, but he wasn’t able to match the power that he displayed during spring training. The names after Ethier combined for -2.3 WAR during the regular season. Juan Rivera was the typical terrible veteran and Dee Gordon had a complete disaster of a season which derailed his career.

2011

Spring trainingRegular season
PABAOBPSLGPABAOBPSLG
Jerry Sands37.313.405.594227.253.338.389
Juan Castro36.375.444.531 15.286.333.286
Trent Oeltjen31.357.419.536 91.197.322.324

This list is an indicator of how depressing the 2011 season was more than anything else. The top three spring training OPSs barely made an impact at the major league level during the regular season. Juan Castro retired after the Dodgers DFAd him, and this was the last time Trent Oeltjen saw major league playing time. Jerry Sands didn’t live up to his promise during the 2011 season. He hasn’t managed to much since he was traded to Boston in 2012.

The list continues to be both funny and sad below the third spot. Matt Kemp was fourth, but Hector Gimenez and Aaron Miles were right behind him.

2010

Spring trainingRegular season
PABAOBPSLGPABAOBPSLG
Blake DeWitt74.349.461.556496.261.336.373
Jamey Carroll38.382.436.471414.291.379.339
Andre Ethier69.292.329.569585.292.364.493

Blake Dewitt’s spring training line brought us hope that he was going to finally live up to the potential that he displayed as a prospect. However, his batting line during the regular season was below league average, and he was traded to the Cubs for Ted Lilly during the regular season. Jamey Carroll  was able to maintain an above-average hitting line during the regular season, though without the power he displayed during the spring. In third, Ethier shows up on yet another list. 2010 was one of Ethier’s best hitting seasons, so no surprise there.

2009

Spring trainingRegular season
PABAOBPSLGPABAOBPSLG
Manny Ramirez35.458.639.625431.290.418.531
Russell Martin47.326.383.698588.250.352.329
Juan Castro62.383.397.617121.277.311.339

Remember how fun Manny Ramirez was? And look at that OBP from spring training. That hitting line was especially nice because it came almost immediately after the difficult process of re-signing him. Despite being suspended for nearly 1/3 of the 2009 season, Manny still managed to add significant value to the Dodgers’ offense. Russell Martin had great power during spring training, but he wasn’t able to carry it through to the regular season, which was the worst offensive season of his career. In third is Juan Castro. Again.

Really, it should be obvious. Hitters are going to have highly variable statistics in spring training’s tiny samples. While there are plenty of hitters who had great seasons on these lists, they’re matched by plenty who were awful. If Chone Figgins hits .450/.550/.600 during spring training, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the Dodgers should put him on the roster over Justin Turner.

If anything, this post doubled as a fun reminder of the team’s past and helps us to look forward to the start of the games this week.


About

Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area and remains a Dodger fan despite currently residing in Salem, MA. As an engineer, he’s fascinated by the math and science behind the game of baseball, which probably explains a lot. He started “Blog To The Score” in late 2013 to dig deeper into the numbers behind the Dodgers. In its brief lifespan, it gained attention from local and national media. You can find him spending too much time in the comments section or on Twitter.