James Loney gets a lot of criticism by Dodger fans because of the lack of the home run bat, but what may got lost in the translation is that he still does his job which is to drive in runs. Now RBI's is not the stat of note anymore but at the end of a game the team with the most runs scored still wins the game, and the guy who drove in those runs has value no matter how he gets the job done, via the walk, single, double, triple, or home run.
No one in the last two years comes up bigger with the bases loaded then our own James Loney. When it comes to bag em and blast em, James Loney is the king of the hill. Over the last two years Loney has now driven in 42 runs with the bases loaded, tops in all of baseball. However before we think James can only deliver when the bases are loaded, how about when a runner is on 3rd with less then two out. His eyes must get big as saucers because in that situation he's got a tidy 1.417 OPS in 2009, which helps explain why a man with only two home runs leads the team with 41 rbi's and is on a pace to drive in 123 on the season.
Of course none of us can forget his biggest hit with the bases loaded when he jump started our sweep of the Cubs with his fifth inning grand slam in game one. He's done more then just hit a grand slam, in 9 postseason games, James has driven in eleven runs.
It is easy to get caught up in what a player doesn't do well, but next time you want to whine about the fact James Loney doesn't have home run power for a 1st baseman, take a look at the first baseman in baseball and notice who drives in the runs. In that area, Mr. Loney is doing just fine.
I'd love for James to continue on this pace because as I've noted before, driving in runs without hitting home runs is not easy to do. Since integration, only seven hitters have been able to drive in 100 runs while hitting less then 10 home runs. The most RBI's was 113 by HOF Paul Molitor. At Loney's current pace he can top this interesting list of players. Take note that Wes Parker is number two on this list when he accomplished the task in 1970. Loney is very much like Wes Parker as a hitter so it is not suprising to see him chasing Wes in this endeavor.