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Dodgers Dugout: A mid-season look

Max Muncy
(Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and just think: The Dodgers went 5-15 at one point this season, which makes their 53-31 all the more remarkable.

Here we are, three games past the exact midpoint of the season. What better time to look at how the players are doing?

For pitchers, we will look at their slash numbers (batting average/on-base %/slugging %) and their OPS+ (an OPS+ of 110 means they are 10% better than a league average hitter, 100 is league average, 90 is 10% below average, etc.).

For starting pitchers we will look at their ERA and ERA+ (just like OPS+, only using ERA).

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For relievers, we will looking at their inherited runners who scored percentage (IRS%), compared to the league average (35%). The IRS% shows how effective a relief pitcher is when coming in with runners on base. Come in with two out and the bases loaded and give up a triple, then get out of the inning, your ERA is 0.00, but you didn’t really do your job. Your IRS% though would be 100%, really bad.

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Hitters

Above average in OPS+
Max Muncy, .264/.416/.558, 160 OPS+
Justin Turner, .295/.388/.484, 143
Chris Taylor, .268/.379/.449, 134
Will Smith, .261/.,363/.469, 132
Mookie Betts, .247/.358/.452, 128
Zach McKinstry, .259/.313/.448, 113
AJ Pollock, .256/.314/.449, 112
Albert Pujols, .255/.290/.468, 106
Steven Souza Jr., .182/.280/.409, 100

Below average in OPS+
Matt Beaty, .252/.342/.382, 98
Gavin Lux, .237/.315/.367, 87
Austin Barnes, .216/.331/.336, 87
Cody Bellinger, .189/.310/.316, 84

Players not on active roster

Above average in OPS+
Andy Burns, .273/.467/.364, 139
Corey Seager, .265/.361/.422, 120
DJ Peters, .192/.382/.385, 117

Below average in OPS+
Keibert Ruiz, .143/.143/.571, 88
Luke Raley, .180/.268/.260, 50
Sheldon Neuse, /172/.186/.345, 45
Yoshi Tsutsugo, .120/.290/.120, 22
Edwin Rios, .078/.217/.137, 3
Zach Reks, .000/.000/.000, -100

Of course, Reks has had only two at-bats, so don’t judge him too harshly

Starting pitchers

Above average ERA+

For an explanation of FIP, click here

Above average ERA+
Walker Buehler, 8-1, 2.35 ERA, 3.56 FIP, 0.900 WHIP, 159 ERA+
Trevor Bauer, 8-5, 2.59 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 1.003 WHIP, 144 ERA+
Dustin May, 1-1, 2.74 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 0.957 WHIP, 139 ERA+
Tony Gonsolin, 1-0, 2.81 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.563 WHIP, 136 ERA+
Clayton Kershaw, 9-7, 3.39 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 0.978 WHIP, 111 ERA+

Below average ERA+
Julio Urías, 10-3, 3.81 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 1.067 WHIP, 98 ERA+

May isn’t on the active roster, but it’s easier to list him here than separate him out later.

Relief pitchers

Better than 35% IRS%
Phil Bickford, 0% (0 of 7 inherited runners have scored)
Kenley Jansen, 8% (1 of 12)
Joe Kelly, 18% (2 of 11)
Blake Treinen, 18% (2 of 11)
David Price, 25% (1 of 4)
Victor Gonzalez, 29% (8 of 28)
Jimmy Nelson, 33% (1 of 3)

Worse than 35% IRS%
Garrett Cleavinger, 50% (2 of 4)
Edwin Uceta, 50% (1 of 2)

Not on active roster

Better than 35% IRS%
Brusdar Graterol, 0% (0 of 4)
Corey Knebel, 0% (0 of 3)
Scott Alexander, 20% (1 of 5)

Worse than 35% IRS%
Nate Jones, 0% (0 of 3)
Dennis Santana, 40% (2 of 5)
Alex Vesia, 50% (2 of 4)
Mitch White, 86% (6 of 7)

When the Dodgers went through their 5-15 skid, they gave important innings to guys like Vesia, White, Uceta and Cleavinger, pitchers who weren’t ready for that role and weren’t expected to get important innings when the season started. Now, with the bullpen relatively healthy, everything has stabilized, making the entire pitching staff better. Gonzalez, by the way, has had more inherited runners this season than any reliever in the NL, except Genesis Cabrera of St. Louis, who has also had 28 inherited runners. Cabrera has allowed 10 to score.

All-Stars

No Dodgers were voted as All-Star game starters, but the All-Star reserves were announced on Sunday, and three Dodgers made the team: Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts. That means no Justin Turner, and no pitchers made the team. Also, how did Betts make it when he’s having a down year by his standards? The players voted him in. The players voted Muncy in too, while Taylor was a commissioner’s office selection.

As for no pitchers, well, that’s bizarre. The players voted in eight pitchers: Corbin Burnes (Milwaukee), Yu Darvish (San Diego), Jacob deGrom (New York), Kevin Gausman (San Francisco), Josh Hader (Milwaukee), Craig Kimbrel (Chicago), Mark Melancon (San Diego) and Brandon Woodruff (Milwaukee). The Commissioner’s office added German Marquez (Colorado), Alex Reyes (St. Louis), Trevor Rogers (Miami) and Zach Wheeler (Philadelphia).

And here is where we see what happened. The rules state that every team must have one representative. By the time the fan ballots and player ballots were counted there were two teams without a player on the team: Colorado and Miami. The commissioner filled those two spots by naming Marquez and Rogers, probably bumping any combination of Walker Buehler, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urías off the team. Which is not to say either Rogers or Marquez aren’t deserving, just that it impacts the debate when you realize “Marlins don’t have anyone? Rogers it is then.”

But don’t worry too much. The odds are that a player or two will be injured and replaced. And some of the pitchers will start the Sunday before the All-Star game and have to be replaced, opening the door for more Dodgers to be named. And even if they aren’t, the whole pitching staff getting extra rest isn’t a bad thing at all.

Trevor Bauer

I’ll assume by now that you have heard or read about the allegations against Trevor Bauer. This being a family newsletter, the allegations will not be printed here, but you can read all about them here. And you can read Dylan Hernández‘s commentary on it here. MLB put Bauer on paid administrative leave for seven days, during which he will still be paid and accrue service time. This was done under MLB’s domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. The league can extend the leave only with the consent of the players’ union. We will just have to wait and see what happens. This newsletter is not the place to litigate the case. And it seems inappropriate, to me, to discuss right now how this will impact the Dodgers going forward. All we can do is hope that the truth and justice prevails here. At some point, especially if further penalties ensue, we will have to discuss what happens with the rotation. But not today.

Carl Erskine

Friend of newsletter Ross Porter recently conducted a lengthy interview with former Dodger Carl Erskine. You can watch it here.

Your first Dodger memory

Since I still have a lot of these, “Your first Dodgers memory” returns this season. If you haven’t already, I’d still love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it might run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout. Include your name and where you live. And don’t send only a sentence. Tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Thanks.

Michael Grienauer: No doubt about it, my first love was baseball and I’m a lifelong Dodger fan. Grew up five miles from Dodger Stadium and spent most nights during the season listening to Vin, Jerry Doggett, and Ross Porter. I started playing Little League in 1974 and was lucky enough to have a team coach who happened to be cousins with Tom Seaver. That year, when the Mets came to town in April, our coach organized a team outing to Dodger Stadium. My first game ever at Chavez Ravine.

We arrived at the stadium a few hours before game time, got to go on the field, watch batting practice and shake hands with Seaver. Despite the incredible experience getting to meet the future Hall of Famer, the true highlight was watching the Toy Cannon, Jimmy Wynn, in BP. The way he hit a ball seemed superhuman. Especially to an 8-year-old. At the end of his turn in the cage, he came over to our group to say hello and handed me his bat which he had cracked on the last pitch he hit. It literally felt like holding a giant redwood tree. As I recall the Dodgers won the game, but it really didn’t matter. I was in heaven. And now, as a transplant in Seattle, I continue to cherish the too few opportunities I get to go back to L.A. and get in a Dodger game.

JB Baik of Sunland, CA: My first Dodger game was in August 1983 when I was 10. Our family sat in the top deck section behind home plate and tickets were $3.50 each. It was a Sunday afternoon game against the Philadelphia Phillies and I remember that one of my favorite players, Mike Marshall, hit a home run to put the Dodgers ahead for good. It was also Rick Honeycutt‘s first game as a Dodger after being traded from the Texas Rangers a couple of days earlier. Rick pitched really well and the Dodgers beat the Phillies 6-0. Many years later, when I would see Honeycutt visit the mound as a pitching coach for the Dodgers, it would always bring back fond memories of the first Dodger game that I attended.

Michael Hurst: I’d been a fan since they arrived a few years earlier, but my first real memory was the “63 World Series. I was in sixth grade, and the first two games were day games during school. So I wore long sleeve shirts and ran the earpiece cord for my transistor radio up through the sleeve, and listened with my elbow propped up on my desk. It was all I could do to keep from getting caught as Sandy Koufax and Johnny Podres knocked off the Yankees on the way to a sweep.

In case you missed it

Dodgers celebrate World Series title at White House, then extend winning streak

Kenley Jansen is on an inspiring comeback tear, just as I failed to predict

Up next

Tonight: Dodgers (Walker Buehler, 8-1, 2.35 ERA) at Miami (*Trevor Rogers, 7-5, 2.14 ERA), 3:30 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Tuesday: Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin, 1-0, 2.81 ERA) at Miami (Pablo Lopez, 4-5, 2.97 ERA), 4 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Wednesday: Dodgers (*Julio Urías, 10-3, 3.81 ERA) at Miami (TBD), 4 p.m., Sportsnet LA, AM 570

*-left-handed

And finally

Vin Scully gives his Hall of Fame speech. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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