Sunday, June 21, 2015

These are the days the Dodgers miss Hanley, Kemp, and Dee

Dee Gordon: .352 AVG, .373 OBP, 14 2B, 2 3B, 17 RBI, 23 SB
Hanley Ramirez: .273 AVG, .319 OBP, 5 2B, 14 HR, 36 RBI
Matt Kemp: .248 AVG, .287 OBP, 14 2B, 2 3B, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 7 SB

Those are the big guns the Dodgers gave up this past offseason, replaced in the batting order by guys like Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal, and Jimmy Rollins.

How's it working out?  If these last three weeks are any indication, then the answer is "Not very well."

Before the season even started, I made mention of the Dodgers' new approach to offense in that they wanted to be "deeper" and not rely on a couple of names to do all of the damage.  On May 22, they stood at 22-10 after an 11-1 shellacking of the Marlins.  Things were looking good.

Now, they're still in first place in the NL West at 38-31, but are barely holding on.  Their offense, once so vaunted up and down the order, is practically on life support.

Yes, the Dodgers definitely miss the threesome they let walk in Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Dee Gordon.

That's not to say their departures will leave a negative impact at the end of the season, but the Dodgers sure wish they had Dee's speed, Hanley's power, and Kemp's ability to put it all together when he's feeling good.  That was the risk Andrew Friedman took when he got rid of them, and right now, they miss them.

Of the three, Gordon is the one enjoying the most success.  He's first in the NL with hits at 101, a whopping 14 more than Paul Goldschmidt.  He's second in both stolen bases (23) and batting average (.352).  All he heard when he was traded was that last year was probably his peak, but so far, he's shutting everyone up.

The Dodgers have tried Rollins, Joc Pederson, and Yasiel Puig as leadoff hitters this year.  Well, Rollins terrible no matter where he hits, so that obviously hasn't worked.  Pederson and Puig are certainly impact hitters, but not in the leadoff spot.  Simply put, the Dodgers have yet to find a true leadoff hitter.  They certainly could use Gordon there.

Ramirez has only been one part of a disappointing Red Sox team, but the Dodgers could certainly use his 14 homers and 36 RBIs, which would put him second on the team to Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez, respectively.  Even in a "down" year for him, he'd still be near the top of the leaderboard in LA.

The one who's struggled the most away from LA is Kemp, who's been healthy, but has yet to bust out in San Diego.  He's been basically a singles hitter for much of the season.  If you know anything about him, however, it's that he gets hot as the season wears on.  For proof, take a peak at his splits between the first and second half of last season.  He's hit two homers in his last five games, so there's signs he's waking up.

With the way the Dodgers have been playing, there's no doubt they'd love to etch in a lineup that has Kemp in left and Hanley at short.  Dee is the only tough call, as Kendrick has played very well for the most part.  The tough part is that this team desperately needs a solid leadoff hitter, and that's what Dee has provided.  Who knows how it'll shake out in the long run, but right now, Dee at the top of the lineup looks pretty good.

When you look at the batting averages in June, you start to miss those three guys even more: Gonzalez (.211), Pederson (.234), Grandal (.232), Rollins (.200), and Ethier (.210).  Chris Heisey hit .176, but he's already been sent down, thankfully.  He was terrible.  The other guys don't look a whole lot better.  It's a lot of swings, a lot of misses, and a lot of weak little outs.  It's been that painful to watch.

Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Dee Gordon won't be walking through that door, unless their teams visit Dodger Stadium.  It's time for the guys on the team to step up and play with much more aggressiveness at the plate.  It's also time to get rid of the dead weight and bring up Hector Olivera and Corey Seager.

Or, we can all continue to watch this team be outplayed night after night because their offense is pathetic.

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