The Dodgers acquired Manny Machado the day after the All-Star Game expecting him to be the superstar the team was missing in the lineup with the loss of Corey Seager. Unfortunately, Machado has been merely pedestrian since joining LA.
We’re still in small sample size territory, but Machado’s numbers — outside of his walk rate — are trending the wrong direction.
So if you’re wondering why Machado hasn’t been producing like the guy he was in Baltimore, well, that is why. The strikeout bug has bitten Machado. Hard. If you take those rates as a Dodger, the strikeout and swinging strike rates would be the worst of his career (by far). His chase rate would be the 2nd-worst.
Machado’s still performing well against fastballs (.388 wOBA with Baltimore, .380 with LA), but it’s the slider that has been his undoing. In the first half, he was the 3rd-best hitter in baseball against the slider, according to FanGraphs’ pitch value statistic. That is backed up by a .434 wOBA against sliders (also 3rd-best in baseball) in the first half, behind Freddie Freeman and Aaron Judge. In the second half, that number has dropped by almost .300 (!) points (.142). That’s 19th-worst in baseball among players who have had plate appearances end with a slider. Fun fact, Matt Kemp is first with a jaw-dropping .035 wOBA against sliders in the second half (Yasmani Grandal is eighth).
It’s hard to pin the Dodgers’ recent offensive struggles on one guy, because outside of Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger, the rest of the hitters have been under-performing. However, so far the Dodgers certainly haven’t gotten the superstar version of Machado. Here’s hoping he can get things straightened out.