Encouraging Signs For The Dodgers
Things are looking up for these fellows Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Everyone was worried a few weeks ago. The Dodgers were playing like crap, the offense was horrendous, the bullpen wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. Every move that Don Mattingly made seemed to backfire on the Dodgers. He’s not a good tactical manager, but there were some ridiculous moments in that nothing was going right for them.
But now, now they’re on a roll. They’ve won 9 of 13
5 of 6
Just swept the Rockies.
I know, I know, arbitrary endpoints can make anything seem okay, but the issue is the Dodgers that we’re seeing right now, is the team that they really are. Lets dive into the stats.
In pure value, the Dodgers are 3rd in the league in fWAR. They’re above notable teams such as the Rockies, Brewers, NL West leading Giants, the Nationals, the Braves, the Royals, and the Cardinals. They have been worth more than everybody aside from the Angels and the Athletics, which means they have been the most valuable team in the National League.
Sometimes fWAR takes a while to show in the results, but it has shown you that some of the individuals on this team have been stellar, Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Puig, Hanley to an extent, Kenley Jansen, and Matt Kemp of the past 2 weeks, the core is there, it’s simply getting the time to right the ship.
The wRC+ tables show something particularly optimistic. Thanks to Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Scott Van Slyke and others, that number sits 4th in all of baseball. For years we have been waiting for that great Dodgers offense that could put up 5,6,7 runs a game and instead of relying on an excellent group of Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Zack Greinke, to an extent Josh Beckett, they could just outscore teams. As frustrating as this team gets, the offense has been the best in the national league. Above regular stalwarts, the Cardinals, the Rockies, the division leading Giants, the Braves. Yeah this offense is good. If this number keeps up, I’d be willing to wager that the offense will finish above 8th in runs scored going through the rest of the season.
Unfortunately for the pitching, they rank only 8th in the National League in pitching fWAR. That’s largely because Chris Perez, Paul Maholm, and Brian Wilson have contributed -1.9 wins of negative value despite only pitching in 99.1 innings. But it’s not all lost.
Lets remember that Clayton Kershaw is now pitching, and a lot of the negative value created by Maholm was because Kershaw was injured. Now, imagine replacing Scott Elbert with Paul Maholm and Ned’s annual veteran closer (who normally doesn’t become terrible until he gets a 3 year deal the following offseason) with Chris Perez. That makes the bullpen a whole lot stronger, right?
So the pitching has been mediocre because of a select few of individuals, however, going forward, the upside of the starting pitching is huge. And for as “bad as the defense has been”, fangraphs actually grades it out positively, as it’s 6.9 runs above the league average. Even with Puig’s sporadic defense, Hanley being bad with the glove, having to start Andre Ethier in center field, and Matt Kemp sorting out his issues, they’re actually above average.
So what does this all lead to? 3rd in baseball in run differential, the 3rd best run record in the National League. And if the offense and starting pitching are to be believed, it’s easy to see this team continuing the success they’ve had these past 2 weeks.