Max Muncy is the top-rated Dodger using the SABR defensive index (SDI), an amalgam of five different statistics, accounting for both batted-ball and position-based measures as well as play-by-play data.
Muncy scores a 3.2 by SDI, the 20th-best fielder in the National League and only Dodger in the top 25. He has the highest SDI score at first base, which could come in handy during awards season. The SDI accounts for 25 percent of Gold Glove Award, with votes from managers and coaches counting for 75 percent of the tally.
“He catches the baseball. He saves a lot of runs and outs. The Range has been very good. His first-step reaction time is very good,” manager Dave Roberts said of Muncy on Friday. “I look in my eyes, and I look at the metrics. He’s clearly head and shoulders above everyone.”
In 2020, with schedules regionalized, the Gold Gloves were determined solely by statistics.
Mookie Betts has won five straight Gold Gloves, including leading National League right fielders with 7.5 SDI in 2020, the second-highest NL total at any position. But this year, a season which Betts has called frustrating and bad, one in which he’s dealt with nagging injuries, Betts is below average in right field (-0.3), 11th among 16 qualified fielders at the position.
A tour of other positions tell the tale of how the Dodgers have struggled defensively this season, with the caveat that this only counts fielders with enough innings to qualify at a specific position through July 11.
Dodgers defensive rankings per SDI
|Player||Position||SDI||Rank at position|
|Player||Position||SDI||Rank at position|
|Will Smith||C||1.6||7th of 26|
|Austin Barnes||C||0.0||18th of 26|
|Max Muncy||1B||3.2||1st of 19|
|Albert Pujols||1B||-0.6||14th of 19|
|Justin Turner||3B||-3.6||18th of 19|
|Gavin Lux||SS||-1.3||15th of 20|
|Corey Seager||SS||-1.9||16th of 20|
|AJ Pollock||LF||0.7||8th of 17|
|Chris Taylor||CF||-1.4||12th of 16|
|Zach McKinstry||RF||-0.2||10th of 16|
|Mookie Betts||RF||-0.3||11th of 16|
- The Dodgers’ depleted starting rotation and inconsistent offense are among Jorge Castillo’s five observations about the team heading into the second half at the Los Angeles Times.
- Speaking of the pitching depth getting tested, here’s Andrew Friedman talking to Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register, from Thursday: “I think augmenting our pitching is something that is definitely front of mind for us. If it’s a starter, that’s ideal. But we can’t just manufacture a starter that’s available and fits. So if it’s strengthening the ’pen that’s something we’ll look at as well.”
- Former Dodgers third baseman and pinch hitter Dave Hansen, a major and minor league hitting coach for 15 years and the current hitting instructor for Olympics-bound USA Baseball, started a new online baseball academy.
- The Dodgers signed their ninth- and 10th-round draft picks for signing bonuses of $2,500, per Carlos Collazo of Baseball America. That’s a combined $287,000 below the recommended slot value of the picks for pitcher Lael Lockhart out of Arkansas and St. Mary’s College pitcher Michael Hobbs. Here’s our draft tracker.
- The Dodgers signed a few undrafted free agents, including Central Michigan catcher Griffin Lockwood-Powell and Oral Roberts left-handed pitcher Adam Scoggins, both announced by their schools. Georgia Southern right-hander Jonathan Edwards also signed with the Dodgers, per both Edwards himself and Kendall Rogers of D1 Baseball. The maximum signing bonus for undrafted free agents is $20,000.
- Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus looked at MLB ticket sales from 2012-19, and found that some pitchers can boost attendance by up to 3,000 fans per game, which brings a sizable revenue boost to team owners. Clayton Kershaw in those years, for instance, had 3,508 more fans at Dodger Stadium than other Dodgers home games, on average.
- David Schoenfield at ESPN made predictions for the second half of the season, and he projected the Dodgers to overcome their current two-game deficit to win the National League West with 103 wins, ahead of 97-win San Francisco and 96-win San Diego. “Even without Trevor Bauer,” Schoenfield wrote, “the Dodgers have the deepest roster and most talent in the majors.”
- With the Negro Leagues now recognized by MLB as a major league, Roy Campanella is now considered the youngest player in major league history, debuting at 15 years, 215 days old on June 22, 1937 for the Washington Elite Giants. That’s younger than pitcher Joe Nuxhall, who was 15 years, 316 days old when debuting with the Reds in 1944. Hat tip to the Effectively Wild podcast at FanGraphs for this news.