The Dodgers’ best strike and ball hitters

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By Cary Osborne

Let’s take you back to little league. Swing at strikes, good things happen. Swing at balls, bad things happen.

But how good? And how bad?

For Dodger players, we know the answer to those questions thanks to information from Brooks Baseball. And we also know the answer to if any one has success swinging at balls.

In 2015, the Dodger who had the most success on pitches thrown in the strike zone, if you go by batting average and the qualifier being 100 strikes put in play, was Kiké Hernandez. He was 41 for 113 on in-the-zone pitches put in play. But it’s close. Adrian Gonzalez had nearly triple the amount of strikes put in play and was 105 for 294.

Here’s the full list of Dodgers:

  • Kiké Hernandez — .363
  • Adrian Gonzalez — .357
  • Justin Turner — .347
  • Howie Kendrick — .343
  • Andre Ethier — .330
  • Yasiel Puig — .308
  • Scott Van Slyke — .303
  • Alex Guerrero — .302
  • A.J. Ellis — .289
  • Carl Crawford — .282
  • Joc Pederson — .267
  • Chase Utley — .261

Two obvious names are missing from this list — Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager. I can’t bring myself to putting Grandal’s full-season numbers with the rest because of his shoulder injury last year. He said it occurred when the Dodgers played Philadelphia in a series that began August 4.

Up to August 2 (August 3 was an off day), Grandal hit .363 on strikes in play and .216 on balls that were out of the strike zone.

Seager, a September callup, hit .390 (23 for 59) on strikes in play and .216 on balls he put in play that were outside the strike zone.

Gonzalez, Kendrick and Ethier have had success on strikes throughout their career. Brooks Baseball tracks this data from 2007, so we don’t have 12 percent of Gonzalez’s career plate appearances. However, since 2007, he has hit .367 when putting strikes in play. Kendrick is at .351 and Ethier is at .341.

Kendrick also had some success against balls last season, but the best Dodger was Carl Crawford, who was 19 for 76 on balls outside of the strike zone.

Here are Dodgers averages against balls:

  • Crawford — .250
  • Kendrick — .243
  • Ethier — .239
  • Hernandez — .218
  • Turner — .216
  • Puig — .183
  • Gonzalez — .191
  • Guerrero — .162
  • Pederson — .160
  • Van Slyke — .155
  • Utley — .141
  • Ellis — .121

Here’s another interesting thing that came out of all this data. We know Ellis is a patient hitter. But the numbers also tell us how smart of a hitter he is. A whopping 67.6 percent of the balls he put in play were strikes. The next closest Dodger was Van Slyke at 61.1 percent.

Brooks Baseball also tells us that since Ellis has been in the big leagues, he has swung at a ball 22.8 percent of the time.



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