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A look at Dodger designated hitters

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No Dodger DH has hit more than one home run in a season

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers begin their inter-league schedule tomorrow when they begin a two-game at Tampa. As the visitor, the Dodgers will also have a designated hitter in their lineup.

This will be first time this season the Dodgers will be using a designated hitter.

Inter-league games began in 1997 and the Dodgers have had varying degrees of success using a designated hitter.

Overall Dodger DH Batting Statistics

Year G BA OBP SLG OPS PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO
Year G BA OBP SLG OPS PA AB R H HR RBI BB SO
2018 10 .378 .489 .541 1.029 45 37 5 14 2 12 7 9
2017 10 .205 .273 .231 .503 44 39 2 8 0 5 2 10
2016 10 .175 .227 .200 .427 44 40 3 7 0 2 3 7
2015 10 .056 .146 .056 .202 41 36 3 2 0 2 4 15
2014 10 .325 .391 .525 .916 46 40 4 13 1 8 5 8
2013 10 .364 .404 .659 1.063 47 44 11 16 2 4 3 9
2012 9 .061 .162 .152 .314 37 33 2 2 1 4 4 9
2011 9 .235 .282 .353 .635 39 34 5 8 1 6 3 10
2010 6 .360 .407 .480 .887 27 25 5 9 1 3 2 5
2009 9 .267 .436 .300 .736 39 30 5 8 0 1 7 5
2008 6 .190 .227 .190 .418 22 21 2 4 0 1 1 4
2007 9 .200 .263 .371 .635 38 35 3 7 1 5 3 5
2006 9 .162 .244 .216 .460 41 37 3 6 0 2 4 10
2005 9 .257 .316 .343 .659 38 35 3 9 0 3 2 12
2004 9 .242 .324 .364 .688 37 33 3 8 1 5 2 12
2003 9 .219 .297 .344 .641 37 32 2 7 1 3 4 6
2002 9 .235 .297 .353 .650 37 34 6 8 0 2 3 11
2001 6 .273 .346 .455 .801 26 22 2 6 1 2 3 0
2000 9 .233 .425 .300 .725 40 30 4 7 0 3 10 6
1999 6 .143 .308 .143 .451 26 21 4 3 0 0 4 3
1998 8 .143 .286 .179 .464 35 28 6 4 0 6 6 8
1997 8 .441 .444 .588 1.033 37 34 4 15 0 7 1 3

In 2018, as a team, Dodger designated hitters had a 1.029 OPS. In 2017, it was 0.503 and in 2016 it was 0.427. And yes, that is their OPS.

2015 was remarkable year for Dodger designated hitters, in 41 plate appearances, they had a 0.202 OPS. They had two singles and two walks.

Of course, those numbers only reflect the players who been a designated hitter for the Dodgers and there have been some good ones over the years.

Best individual Dodger seasons as a designated hitter

Mike Piazza still holds the Dodger record for the best OPS (minimum 10 PA) for one season. In 1997, he had an 1.114 OPS in 32 plate appearances. Piazza did not home run but that was not unusual for Dodger designated hitters. However, he did have 15 hits for a .484 batting average.

Dodger DH - Best Season OPS (min. 10 PA)

Player Year G OPS PA R H HR RBI BA OBP SLG
Player Year G OPS PA R H HR RBI BA OBP SLG
Mike Piazza 1997 7 1.114 32 4 15 0 6 .484 .469 .645
Justin Turner 2018 4 1.100 18 2 6 1 7 .400 .500 .600
Matt Kemp 2018 5 1.056 22 3 7 1 5 .389 .500 .556
Hanley Ramirez 2014 5 1.005 23 1 7 0 4 .368 .478 .526
Manny Ramirez 2010 6 .887 27 5 9 1 3 .360 .407 .480
Dave Hansen 2000 5 .850 20 2 4 0 2 .267 .450 .400
Olmedo Saenz 2004 4 .837 16 2 3 1 4 .231 .375 .462
Justin Turner 2017 5 .835 23 2 7 0 2 .350 .435 .400
Gary Sheffield 2001 2 .775 10 0 2 0 0 .250 .400 .375
Dave Hansen 2002 4 .769 13 1 4 0 2 .308 .308 .462
Mark Loretta 2009 5 .697 17 3 4 0 1 .286 .412 .286
Shawn Green 2004 3 .692 13 0 4 0 1 .308 .308 .385
Russell Martin 2009 3 .667 15 1 2 0 0 .200 .467 .200
Olmedo Saenz 2005 8 .601 31 1 7 0 1 .241 .290 .310
Andre Ethier 2013 2 .600 10 3 2 0 0 .200 .200 .400
Brian Jordan 2002 3 .580 13 2 2 0 0 .182 .308 .273
J.D. Drew 2006 4 .561 17 2 3 0 1 .200 .294 .267
Paul Konerko 1998 3 .550 12 3 2 0 4 .200 .250 .300
Carl Crawford 2013 3 .533 15 1 3 0 0 .200 .200 .333
Bobby Abreu 2012 4 .489 17 1 2 1 4 .125 .176 .313
Gary Sheffield 1999 3 .452 14 3 2 0 0 .167 .286 .167
Olmedo Saenz 2007 5 .435 17 0 2 0 1 .133 .235 .200
Carl Crawford 2016 4 .321 13 1 2 0 1 .167 .154 .167
Adrian Gonzalez 2016 2 .311 10 0 1 0 1 .111 .200 .111
Alex Guerrero 2015 4 .282 11 1 1 0 0 .100 .182 .100
Ron Coomer 2003 4 .250 16 0 2 0 0 .125 .125 .125
Adrian Gonzalez 2015 3 .214 14 0 0 0 1 .000 .214 .000
Olmedo Saenz 2006 3 .182 11 0 1 0 1 .091 .091 .091

Dodgers have several players tied for the most home runs in a season as a DH

Regarding home runs, no Dodger has hit more than one home run in a season as a designated hitter.

Home Runs by Dodger DH in a season

Player Year HR
Player Year HR
Justin Turner 2018 1
Matt Kemp 2018 1
Matt Kemp 2014 1
Hanley Ramirez 2013 1
Ramon Hernandez 2013 1
Bobby Abreu 2012 1
Matt Kemp 2011 1
Manny Ramirez 2010 1
Luis Gonzalez 2007 1
Olmedo Saenz 2004 1
Mike Kinkade 2003 1
Chad Kreuter 2001 1

The Dodgers are the only team to never have a designated hitter hit two or more home runs in a season. Most of this is due to how the Dodgers have used the DH during the season.

Dodger DH used in one season

Year Total No. of DH Dodger DH in that season
Year Total No. of DH Dodger DH in that season
2011 7 Andre Ethier / Jay Gibbons / Matt Kemp / James Loney / Dioner Navarro / Trent Oeltjen / Marcus Thames
2002 6 Shawn Green / Mark Grudzielanek / Dave Hansen / Cesar Izturis / Brian Jordan / Jeff Reboulet
2003 6 Larry Barnes / Ron Coomer / Shawn Green / Brian Jordan / Mike Kinkade / Jason Romano
2005 6 Mike Edwards / Antonio Perez / Jason Repko / Oscar Robles / Olmedo Saenz / Jayson Werth
2013 6 Carl Crawford / Andre Ethier / Adrian Gonzalez / Ramon Hernandez / Hanley Ramirez / Skip Schumaker
2016 6 Carl Crawford / Andre Ethier / Adrian Gonzalez / Enrique Hernandez / Howie Kendrick / Justin Turner
2017 6 Austin Barnes / Cody Bellinger / Enrique Hernandez / Corey Seager / Justin Turner / Chase Utley
2001 5 Marquis Grissom / Dave Hansen / Chad Kreuter / Paul Lo Duca / Gary Sheffield
2007 5 Luis Gonzalez / Mike Lieberthal / Russell Martin / Olmedo Saenz / Randy Wolf
2008 5 Andruw Jones / Russell Martin / Juan Pierre / Mark Sweeney / Delwyn Young
2014 5 Andre Ethier / Adrian Gonzalez / Matt Kemp / Yasiel Puig / Hanley Ramirez
2015 5 Carl Crawford / Andre Ethier / Adrian Gonzalez / Alex Guerrero / Scott Van Slyke
2000 4 Dave Hansen / Todd Hundley / Eric Karros / Gary Sheffield
2004 4 Jason Grabowski / Shawn Green / Olmedo Saenz / Jayson Werth
2006 4 J.D. Drew / Kenny Lofton / Russell Martin / Olmedo Saenz
1998 3 Thomas Howard / Eric Karros / Eric Young Sr.
1999 3 Dave Hansen / Gary Sheffield / Devon White
2009 3 Mitch Jones / Mark Loretta / Russell Martin
2012 3 Andre Ethier / Jerry Hairston / Juan Rivera
2018 3 Matt Kemp / Max Muncy / Justin Turner
1997 2 Brett Butler / Mike Piazza
2010 1 Manny Ramirez

Until last season, during this current run of winning NL West titles, the Dodgers had used five or six players as a designated hitter from 2013-2017. Mostly, this was to give some players a rest or to rotate bench players into the lineup.

In 2018, the Dodgers used three players, Matt Kemp, Max Muncy and Justin Turner in that role. It was primarily Kemp and Turner, while Muncy started one game at DH.

Kemp and Turner did very well in 2018 in that role. Kemp hit .389/.500/.556 in 22 plate appearances with one home run. Turner hit a little better, .400/.500/.600 in 18 plate appearances. Turner also hit one home run.

Turner could be the only player that could be a candidate to start both games at Tampa as the designated hitter. It would allow him to not have to play on the artificial turf. And he has performed in that role in the past two seasons.

Writer thanks and acknowledges Baseball-Reference.com and Play Index for the statistical information provided in this article