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Dodgers Dugout: Are the Dodgers a good clutch-hitting team? Look at the numbers

Dodgers Dugout: Are the Dodgers a good clutch-hitting team? Look at the numbers
Joc Pederson (Ross D. Franklin / AP)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and it seems somehow appropriate that the final KTLA game of the season gets rained out.

Clutch

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For a couple of years now, the Dodgers have had the reputation of not getting key hits in the clutch. Losing in the playoffs for four straight seasons hasn't helped that reputation at all. But is it true?

Let's take a look at two key clutch stats and see how the Dodgers fare.

First is two out with runners in scoring position. If you want to drive in the runner in that situation, you have to get a hit. So how have the Dodgers fared compared to the rest of the NL in this category since 2013?

2013

NL average: .226

Dodgers: .247 (second in NL)

Top five Dodgers (minimum 25 plate appearances):

Adrian Gonzalez, .356

Juan Uribe, .324

Carl Crawford, .321

Jerry Hairston Jr., .321

Matt Kemp, .300

Bottom five (min. 25 plate appearances):

Nick Punto, .138

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Andre Ethier, .186

A.J. Ellis, .228

Hanley Ramirez, .259

Mark Ellis, .260

2014

NL average: .222

Dodgers: .251 (third in NL)

Top five Dodgers (min. 25 plate appearances):

Hanley Ramirez, .348

Dee Gordon, .310

Miguel Rojas, .292

Matt Kemp, .282

Andre Ethier, .271

Bottom five (min. 25 plate appearances):

A.J. Ellis, .192

Carl Crawford, .194

Drew Butera, .200

Yasiel Puig, .220

Adrian Gonzalez, .229

2015

NL average: .230

Dodgers: .215 (11th in NL)

Top five Dodgers (min. 25 plate appearances):

Alex Guerrero, .321

Howie Kendrick, .267

Justin Turner, .262

Adrian Gonzalez, .245

Yasmani Grandal, .206

Bottom five (min. 25 plate appearances):

Jimmy Rollins, .131

A.J. Ellis, .143

Andre Ethier, .163

Yasiel Puig, .167

Joc Pederson, .196

2016

NL average: .228

Dodgers: .206 (14th in NL)

Top five Dodgers (min. 25 plate appearances):

Justin Turner, .289

Chase Utley, .268

Adrian Gonzalez, .255

Corey Seager, .207

Joc Pederson, .191

Bottom five (min. 25 plate appearances):

Trayce Thompson, .107

Howie Kendrick, .167

Enrique Hernandez, .167

Yasiel Puig, .182

Yasmani Grandal, .190

2017

NL average: .249

Dodgers: .256 (seventh in NL)

Top five Dodgers (min. 5 plate appearances):

Chris Taylor, .667

Joc Pederson, .429

Cody Bellinger, .400

Yasiel Puig, .375

Adrian Gonzalez, .350

Bottom five (min. 5 plate appearances):

Chase Utley, .000

Yasmani Grandal, .125

Enrique Hernandez, .167

Andrew Toles, .222

Corey Seager, .222

Next, for you non-traditionalists out there, let's look at a relatively new clutch stat, WPA Clutch, or on some sites just Clutch. This stat gives a player a rating on how much better or worse he does in high-leverage situations. It also compares the player against himself, so, if a player hits .320 during the season and hits .320 in clutch situations, he doesn't get any extra credit for it. But if he hits .220 during the season and .320 in clutch situations, his clutch rating will improve. Here is a more detailed explanation. Is it a perfect stat? No, but there are no perfect stats. It is just one more tool in the drawer we can use to evaluate players.

For this stat, if you are above zero you are considered above average in clutch situations. Below zero and you are below average. Anything above 1.0 means you are one of the best clutch hitters around.

From 2014 to 2017 combined, only 18 players have a Clutch rating of 2.0 or above: Mitch Moreland, Matt Carpenter, Freddy Galvis, Matt Wieters, John Jaso, Johnny Giavotella, Omar Infante, Jose Reyes, Justin Morneau, Howie Kendrick, Angel Pagan, Daniel Descalso, Kole Calhoun, Adam Eaton, Adonis Garcia, Mike Trout, Matt Holliday and Coco Crisp.

There are 31 players with a Clutch score of -2.0 or worse. Seven are at -3.0 or worse. They are: Edwin Encarnacion, Nelson Cruz, Gerardo Parra, Adam Jones, Mike Napoli, J.D. Martinez and Mark Trumbo.

Here is the Clutch Rating for key Dodgers from 2014-now. Remember, anything above zero means you are an above average clutch hitter. Above 1.0 means you are a great clutch hitter:

Adrian Gonzalez, 1.6

Andre Ethier, 1.2

Enrique Hernandez, 0.9

Chase Utley, 0.8

Justin Turner, 0.3

Scott Van Slyke, 0.3

Andrew Toles, 0.1

Chris Taylor, 0.1

Franklin Gutierrez, 0.1

Logan Forsythe, 0.0

Yasmani Grandal, -0.5

Corey Seager, -0.5

Yasiel Puig, -2.6

Joc Pederson, -2.8

The big takeaway is just how bad Puig and Pederson have been in the clutch. And we can see why Gonzalez gets 90 RBIs every year and why Ethier has the reputation of being a great clutch hitter.

The Dodgers have indeed been a below-average clutch team the last couple of seasons, but are doing better this season. Let's hope that continues.

There are other clutch situation stats we can look at, but they would show pretty much the same thing, and I can hear some readers' eyes glazing over now. So let's stop. We'll revisit this again later this season.

Cody Bellinger

All Cody Bellinger has done in his first 11 games is hit .375 with five homers, a double and a triple. He has inserted himself into the Rookie of the Year competition, and some people have started calling him Super Cody. So why didn't I lead this newsletter with how great he is doing?

I don't want to jinx it. Will he be the next great Dodger or the next Hurricane Hazle? I don't know. But I am enjoying the ride and don't want to tempt the baseball gods by going overboard.

But gee, is he fun to watch.

The obscure Dodgers record of the week

Since they first started tracking them in 1933, which non-pitcher with at least 1,000 plate appearances has the Dodgers record for fewest double plays grounded into?

Dave Roberts, who grounded into only three. Wonder what ever happened to him?

Next on the list is Dee Gordon with nine, followed by Joc Pederson with 11. The rest of the top 10: Goody Rosen(12), Buzz Boyle (13), Carl Crawford (15), Jim Wynn (15), Juan Samuel (16), Rick Monday (16) andKirk Gibson (17).

Carl Furillo grounded into the most, with 207.

The Rich Hill blister joke of the week

He was getting ready to make a start in the minors, but got a blister when his fingers touched his uniform while putting his hand over his heart for the national anthem.

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Next series

Monday, 7 p.m., Pittsburgh (Trevor Williams) at Dodgers (Alex Wood)

Tuesday, 7 p.m., Pittsburgh (Ivan Nova) at Dodgers (Julio Urias)

Wednesday, 7 p.m., Pittsburgh (Chad Kuhl) at Dodgers (Kenta Maeda)

Note: Starters are subject to change.

KTLA games

The last KTLA game of the season was rained out Sunday. However, KTLA and Spectrum SportsNet officials are expected to meet this week and pick a replacement game. Just a thought, how about 130 replacement games?

And finally

The Dodgers will give more playing time to Chris Taylor until Logan Forsythe returns. Read all about it here.

Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.

Twitter: @latimeshouston

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