Reviewing Dodgers outfield offensive production in 2019

Building off of the previous post on the Dodgers’ offensive production in the infield from 2019, here’s a look at the three outfield spots. Some of the info will be similar given the amount of players splitting time between the infield and outfield (really, there’s only two significant players in this that weren’t mentioned earlier).

As I mentioned in the first post, this is mostly just a fun look at where some players succeeded at some positions as compared to others with the small sample sizes meaning nothing should be taken too seriously (really, Chris Taylor’s splits by position the past three years have changed significantly).

Left Field
(.249/.318/.497/.815 in 692 plate appearances)

Left field was mainly manned by Joc Pederson with his team leading 270 PAs and 525 2/3 innings at the position though five players spent more than 128 innings in the spot.

Pederson’s .902 OPS/134 wRC+ played out well despite his ever present platoon split (.920 OPS vs. righties, .505 vs. lefties) though the Dodgers did well to hide the Pederson in 2019 as only 50 of his 514 plate appearances came against lefties. The possible (likely?) option to split time in left field for 2020 is the already regrettable contract of A.J. Pollock, who did manage a .830 OPS/116 wRC+ in his 73 PAs and 145 innings at the position, all coming in September.

Chris Taylor (.634 OPS/65 wRC+ in 124 PAs) and Matt Beaty (.885 OPS/128 wRC+ in 107 PAs) wound up as the other two most common options for the Dodgers in 2019. Taylor’s numbers oddly dropped while in left compared to what he did at short (the exact opposite of what happened at the two positions in 2018) while Beaty was much better in left than the .685 OPS/83 wRC+ at first.

Alex Verdugo’s limited time in left field resulted in a .698 OPS/78 wRC+ across just 60 PAs and 128 1/3 innings.

Random appearance note: Kyle Garlick homered three times (and struck out 12 times) in just 31 PAs while in left, resulting in a .978 OPS/142 wRC+.

Center Field
(.278/.338/.477/.814 in 714 PAs)

Playing exclusively in center field, albeit while in and out of the lineup, from April to August, Pollock moved to left field for the final month of the season. While in center, Pollock hit for a .792 OPS/107 wRC+ across 257 PAs and 510 innings.

With Pollock moved out of center, it was Cody Bellinger splitting time between center and first throughout September. In 86 PAs, Bellinger hit for a .906 OPS/131 wRC+ in center, the third most appearances at the position for the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, Verdugo ended up with 232 PAs in center, leading to a .834 OPS/119 wRC+. If Pollock’s move out of center is already permanent, Verdugo and Bellinger seem to be the likely options to fill out center in 2020 while Taylor and Kiké Hernández possibly fill in (the two combined for 121 PAs in center in 2019).

Random appearance note: There’s very few entertaining odd stats from center in 2019, though Pederson played just five innings in center during the season leading to a pair of walks in his only two PAs.

Right Field
(.300/.393/.616/1.009 in 704 PAs)

Saving the best for last, Bellinger’s 911 1/3 innings in right field resulted in his MVP-caliber numbers of a 1.063 OPS/168 wRC+.

And while the rest were not at the exact same level of Bellinger, for whatever reason right ended up as a potent spot for any of the four main players that played the position during 2019. Pederson (.975 OPS/147 wRC+ in 128 PAs), Verdugo (.852 OPS/126 wRC+ in 68 PAs) and even Hernández (1.115 OPS/184 wRC+ in 29 PAs) all hit incredibly well for the Dodgers while spelling Bellinger as he moved to center or first.

Random appearance note: There’s not much else to look at in right as those top four played all but about 57 innings in right during 2019, though Beaty doubled twice in 6 PAs.

LOOKING AHEAD

Since this is a bit easier to digest than the infield, it would seem like the picture for 2020 is a little clearer in an overall sense.

While the Dodgers could end up adding someone (Mookie Betts?) or subtracting (Pederson?) to the outfield, the simplest answer as it stands now is the three spots will be filled in some form by Pollock, Pederson, Bellinger and Verdugo.

How that exactly breaks down is anyone’s guess, other than Bellinger being an everyday player in either center or right. If he is still on the roster, Pederson will see plenty of playing time against righties while in a corner outfield spot and Pollock appears destined for left field going forward. Verdugo being fully healthy in 2020 would likely answer some of the questions, as he hit well in his limited time regardless of the pitcher (.807 OPS in 242 PAs vs. righties, .843 OPS in 109 PAs vs. lefties).

About Cody Bashore

Cody Bashore
Cody Bashore is a lifelong Dodger fan originally from Carpinteria, California (about 80 miles north of Dodger Stadium along the coast). He left California to attend Northern Arizona University in 2011, and has lived in Arizona full-time since he graduated in 2014 with a journalism degree. He currently works for the local newspaper, as well as writes for the university’s athletics department.