Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Matt Musico
If you’ve ever wondered who the single-season Dodgers HR leaders are at each position, then you’re in the right place. Outside of pitcher and designated hitter, each player had to man their position for at least 100 games (or 75% of games played) for the season in question.
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Dodgers HR Leaders
Catcher: Roy Campanella, 41 Home Runs in 1953
Roy Campanella began playing in the Negro Leagues as a 15-year-old in 1937. He eventually joined Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn with the Dodgers in 1948 and made an immediate impact behind the plate. The Hall of Famer was selected to eight All-Star Games and won three MVP Awards during his 10 years in Brooklyn.
This 1953 performance led to his second MVP honor. His 41 home runs were a career-high mark, as were the 142 RBI he collected, which also lead the league. Campanella slugged better than .700 in three separate months throughout the regular season. This included both April and May, which padded his MVP candidacy quite nicely.
Heading into the start of June, the catcher owned a .322/.420/.725 line with 17 home runs, seven doubles, one triple, 54 RBI, and 37 runs scored.
Pitcher: Don Drysdale, 7 Home Runs in 1958 & 1965
There were also multiple pitchers at the top of the Dodgers’ home run leaderboard. However, Don Drysdale gets the nod because he’s the only one to do it more than once. A Hall of Fame hurler and one-time Cy Young Award winner, Drysdale proved he could hit a little bit, too. Out of these two performances, his 1965 season was the best when looking at both sides of the ball.
On the mound, the right-hander twirled a 23-12 record with a 2.77 ERA in a league-leading 42 (!) starts. In addition to the seven homers he slugged, Drysdale collected 19 RBI while slashing .300/.331/.508. Unsurprisingly, he finished fifth in NL MVP voting and eventually won the World Series that year with Los Angeles.
First Base: Gil Hodges, 42 Home Runs in 1954
Gil Hodges enjoyed 11 straight years of hitting 20-plus homers in a season. He surpassed the 40-homer plateau just twice, with his 42 dingers in 1954 being the high-water mark. Hodges finished 10th in MVP voting while also driving in 130 runs and hitting .304/.373/.579.
There’s a little symmetry going on in his splits, too. Hodges hit 25 homers at home and 17 on the road. He also slugged 25 in the first half and 17 after the All-Star break. The first baseman began his year with a .359/.424/.698 triple slash in April, along with five homers and 12 RBI. He didn’t finish a month with fewer than seven homers or 19 RBI the rest of the way.
Hodges was good in all scenarios, but he was lights out with the game tied. In 176 plate appearances in this situation, the right-handed hitter slashed .344/.421/.709 with 16 homers and 43 RBI. His 1.129 OPS was much better than what he produced when hitting with a lead (.873) or if he stepped into the box with the Dodgers losing (.909).
Second Base: Jeff Kent, 29 Home Runs in 2005
Jeff Kent ended his 17-year MLB career with four years in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. The 2005 campaign was his first with the club, and it ended up being his last elite performance. He was selected to the All-Star Game, finished 19th in MVP voting, and won a Silver Slugger while hitting those 29 homers with 105 RBI and a .289/.377/.512 line.
What’s most surprising to me upon looking at Kent’s split stats is he spent the majority of his plate appearances as the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter. He resided in that spot for 469 plate appearances, collecting 20 of his homers and 77 of his RBI there.
Unsurprisingly, though, was how different his performances were between L.A. wins and losses, which makes sense as the cleanup hitter. When the Dodgers won, Kent slashed .359/.460/.686 with 19 homers and 75 RBI. In LA losses, those numbers dropped to .234/.305/.373, 10, and 30, respectively.
Shortstop: Corey Seager, 26 Home Runs in 2016
It didn’t take long for Corey Seager to establish himself as one of the game’s best young shortstops. After posting a .986 OPS in 113 plate appearances in 2015, he held onto his rookie status for 2016. He not only earned a trip to the All-Star Game, but he also won NL Rookie of the Year, captured a Silver Slugger, and finished third in NL MVP voting.
That’s a pretty good first full year in the big leagues. In addition to the 26 homers he slugged, Seager collected 40 doubles, 72 RBI, and 105 runs scored while hitting .308/.365/.512.
He very much enjoyed playing at Dodger Stadium, evidenced by the .947 OPS and 18 homers he produced there. Those numbers dropped to .809 and eight, respectively, on the road. Seager only faced the Atlanta Braves six times that season, but his five homers were the most he slugged against any opponent. And although 17 of his 26 homers came against winning teams, his OPS was nearly identical when facing teams with a record over .500 (.878) and under .500 (.877).
Third Base: Adrian Beltre, 48 Home Runs in 2004
Adrian Beltre slugged 477 home runs during what will eventually be a Hall of Fame career. Before his 2004 performance, he hadn’t hit more than 23 in a season. He’d surpass the 30-homer plateau four other times before retiring, but the third baseman never got anywhere close to what he did in his final year for the Dodgers.
Beltre won a Silver Slugger and finished second behind Barry Bonds in NL MVP voting. He produced a monthly OPS above 1.000 four times in six tries. Two of those efforts finished above 1.100, and they came in consecutive months. Between July and August (221 plate appearances), Beltre slashed .352/.421/.750 with 23 homers, 46 RBI, and 47 runs scored. The Dodgers went 35-17 during this stretch.
The teams he victimized the most during this campaign? The Colorado Rockies (seven homers) and Arizona Diamondbacks (six homers). They were likely happy to see him leave the NL West after 2004 upon signing with the Seattle Mariners.
Dodgers HR Leaders
Left Field: Gary Sheffield, 43 Home Runs in 2000
After coming over in the middle of the 1998 season, Gary Sheffield went on to spend three full seasons in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. Between 1999 and 2001, he averaged 38 homers and 103 RBI per year. This included three straight 30-homer and 100-RBI efforts, with the middle one in 2000 being the high point.
When it came to doing yardwork, Sheffield liked doing it early in the day. Between innings 1-3, he slugged 18 homers with a 1.197 OPS. Those numbers stayed steady between innings 4-6 (16 homers, 1.048 OPS). Over the final third of contests, though, Sheffield hit eight homers with a .944 OPS. Still good, but just not as good as the first two areas.
He was all about that quick strike in the first inning, too. Sheff posted a .379/.484/.767 line in the first frame. The six doubles, two triples, 10 homers, and 26 RBI he collected during that inning were his most of any that year.
Center Field: Duke Snider, 43 Home Runs in 1956
It’s not hard to see where Duke Snider‘s power peak took place. Between 1953 and 1957, the outfielder accumulated five straight seasons of 40-plus homers. Over the course of his 18-year MLB career, he surpassed the 30-homer plateau just one other time (31 in 1950).
Snider never won an MVP Award, but he finished within the top 10 of voting six times over a seven-year period between 1950 and 1956. The 43 homers he slugged in ’56 at least led the league. His .399 on-base percentage and .598 slugging percentage were also the best in baseball.
He reached this career-high number of dingers without hitting a single one in April (10 games and 42 plate appearances). Snider didn’t hit fewer than six in a month the rest of the season. Similar to Sheffield, he enjoyed hitting in the first inning — his eight doubles, 11 homers, and 30 RBI were his most of any inning that year.
Snider also tagged starting pitchers early in games. In their first trip through the Dodgers’ order, Snider slugged 11 homers with a 1.118 OPS. In his second matchup with that day’s starter, he hit another 10 homers with a 1.053 OPS.
Right Field: Shawn Green, 49 Home Runs in 2001
I know what you’re probably thinking. This performance from Shawn Green probably includes his memorable four-homer game in Milwaukee against the Brewers, right? Wrong — that happened the following year in 2002. So, it was more of a continuation of what he already accomplished to that point.
Green actually hit 30 of his 49 homers as a visiting player. He also came back from the All-Star break and slugged 29 dingers down the stretch for Los Angeles.
June, July, and August were the only three times Green posted at least nine homers per month. This powerful stretch is what really made his season special. Over the course of 361 plate appearances, the outfielder slashed .308/.371/.649 with 31 homers, 70 RBI, and 65 runs scored. That’s a terrific year for many players, but it was just a half-season for Green.
Designated Hitter: J.D. Martinez, 33 Home Runs in 2023
As usual, the Dodgers find a veteran to sign to a short-term deal and it paid off handsomely for them. In his last year with the Red Sox in 2022, J.D. Martinez slugged 16 home runs with a .448 slugging percentage across 139 games. It was his lowest homer total across a full season since 2013.
But then the 35-year-old enjoyed a resurgence as Los Angeles’ primary designated hitter. It resulted in his fifth 30-homer performance and first since 2019. Martinez had 25 homers by the end of July before getting limited to just seven games and no homers in August.
However, the right-handed slugger finished strong with eight dingers to complete his regular season. Martinez also added in 25 RBI and a .333/.371/.679 triple slash over his last 89 trips to the plate.
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