Dodgers’ lineup depth shows early in the season

When the Dodgers didn’t re-sign Hanley Ramirez and traded Matt Kemp, some wondered where the offense was going to come from. After eight games (#sss), the offense is plenty healthy.

Ramirez (150 wRC+) and Kemp (176 wRC+) are off to fantastic starts with their new clubs, but so are some of the new Dodgers, contributing to a league-best offense (in many categories).

The Dodgers lead the National League in on-base percentage, slugging percentage (and, naturally, OPS), wRC+, home runs and walks. They’re second in total bases and third in both runs and batting average (‘tevs). Last year, they finished first, second, second, first, sixth and second, respectively in those categories. They also finished second in both total bases and runs scored. It, obviously, helps to have really good hitters as the Dodgers do.

It’s also hard to go too far in-depth with just an 8-game sample size (admittedly skewed because of Adrian Gonzalez hitting all of the home runs), but it seems the offense is going to be just fine.

The lineup may not have as much power potential as recent years, but it’s the longest and deepest lineup the Dodgers have possessed in quite some time. There isn’t a really weak hitter in the lineup when the first-string is in there. Juan Uribe is probably the weakest link among the starters, which actually says a lot about the lineup’s depth (considering Uribe’s last two seasons). A.J. Ellis is clearly the weakest link when he plays, but the rest of the bench could absolutely be starters on other teams (now that Darwin Barney is in Triple-A).

The additions of Yasmani Grandal (109 wRC+), Howie Kendrick (161 wRC+) and Jimmy Rollins (131 wRC+) have improved the potential of the lineup. Grandal could maintain or improve on his number, while Kendrick (career-best 123 wRC+) and Rollins (119 wRC+) are likely to come back down from those numbers.

And let’s not forget demigod Alex Guerrero, who is clearly the on his way to the Hall of Fame after an impressive 3-game stretch. But seriously, Guerrero has been great so far.

While there are questions about the Dodgers’ rotation depth (although, I don’t suspect we’ll see David Huff again anytime soon), the offense — provided everyone stays healthy — shouldn’t be in question. Despite not having a “true” cleanup hitter (and like I said in the recap last night), there was no one on the team I wanted at the plate rather than Kendrick. And he came through. And the offense has come through so far.

It’s reassuring, because instead of looking for a bat come July 31, the Dodgers can invest their time and resources into trying to land a guy like David Price or Johnny Cueto.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.