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Down With OPD

Chris Dial released the first half numbers of his metric, offense plus defense, or OPD. Reading through them gives us a pretty good idea of why the Dodgers aren't that great of a team this year. While it's no surprise that Andruw Jones is our worst player (though not the worst centerfielder in baseball, that title belongs to Michael Bourn. Our second worst player is James Loney. Loney clocks in as average defensively, and one of the worst hitting first basemen in baseball. While I though that this had to be a miscalculation at first, I realized that the offensive metric is linear weights based. This means that Loney's 18 double plays count against him and double plays effectively cancel out one of your hits (plus a bit more in the system. If you took 18 singles away from Loney, his line drops to an anemic .240/.304/.394 which does look like one of the worst hitters in the league. Lesson: double plays matter, and they should be looked at when evaluating hitters.

Not too many surprises elsewhere on the list. Martin, Ethier and Kemp are our only position players that are above average right now clocking in at 16, 9.2 and 6.2 runs above average respectively. Blake DeWitt and Juan Pierre surprisingly come close to average thanks to their defense. Juan Pierre is the number two left fielder defensively and DeWitt is number four. Jeff Kent is also right in averageville thanks to a surprisingly high rated defense. While the defensive numbers might reflect how much a guy has contributed so far, they've caught a lot of balls in their zone, they aren't an indication of future performance. It likely means that the person has had an inordinate amount of balls hit right at them. Case in point, left fielder ahead of Juan Pierre is Pat Burrell, who's quite possibly the worst defensive player in baseball.

The Dodgers are a below .500 team right now since we simply don't have that many players that are playing at an above average level. Loney really is my big concern here. If he keeps hitting into double plays like this, he goes from being an average first baseman to someone that's killing the team. We previously thought that Loney was going to develop power or he was going to be just an average player. His combination of solid contact and no speed means that if he doesn't start hitting things over the fence soon, he's a drain on our team.