Dodgers: Who has the Best Offense in the NL West?
Here we are in the heart of Winter, every baseball fan’s worst enemy. The off-season has been slow, and everyone is waiting for a flurry of free agent activity.
The news about Hyun Jin Ryu’s upcoming wedding and the hiring of a new bullpen coach isn’t exactly doing it for you either, huh? Perhaps now is a good time to examine the projected offenses in the N.L. West for 2018.
When one thinks of offense in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies are a good bet to be the first thing that comes to mind. For a good reason too. With names like Galarraga, Walker, Bichette, Castilla, Helton, Holiday, and now Blackmon, LeMahieu, and Arenado, it’s easy to see why. Colorado has almost always put out a high octane, high altitude driven, power offense. They had the league’s highest team OPS and scored the most runs of any team in the N.L last year.
In recent years, the Arizona Diamondbacks have etched a place for themselves among the National League’s elite offenses. The also fielded an intimidating lineup last year with names like Goldschmidt, Martinez, and Lamb to name a few. They hit more doubles and triples than any other team in the Senior Circuit, good for the 4th most runs scored in the N.L.
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However, these traditional counting statistics could be a bit misleading. When examining the OPS+, which adjusts the OPS relative to the player’s home ballpark, its revealed that perhaps Colorado and Arizona don’t quite have the ultra-powerful offenses they are made out to possess.
Arizona had four players last year that produced an OPS + greater than 100. Two of those players played in half of Arizona’s games or less. As it stands, only two of those players are set to return next year. In comparison, the paltry offense of the San Francisco Giants had four players produce an OPS+ over 100 as well. (5 if you count Nunez’s 99 OPS+ in half a season)
The Colorado Rockies only had three players in their starting lineup to produce and OPS+ over 100. As it stands, only two are set to return next year. In comparison, the weak and inexperienced offense of the San Diego Padres produced three themselves. (If you count Hunter Renfroe 97+ OPS) They’ve seemingly put together a good bullpen, but do the Rockies have any resources left to improve their lineup?
Your Dodgers, on the other hand, had seven regulars post an OPS+ of 100 or better. Joc Pederson almost made it eight with a 95 OPS+ and Andrew Toles was on his way also, before an injury ended his season. Many of these players are also very young and have a solid amount of room for improvement.
Still, the off-season is far from over, and additions or re-signings could change these offenses a bit. Most the leagues top free agents are seemingly stuck in free agent purgatory. That should change soon with numerous trades soon to follow. Perhaps Jay Bruce goes to San Francisco or the Rockies re-sign Mark Reynolds? Maybe Arizona makes a big move or the Dodgers find another miracle in the scrap heap.
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However, it seems that Arizona and Colorado don’t quite have the juggernauts lineups they are made out to have. It might even be possible their offenses are much closer to average because their offensive numbers are so greatly skewed due to Coors Field and Chase Field. As it currently stands, is LA a safe bet to field the most efficient offense in the N.L. West in 2018? The numbers seem to say so, and I just might agree.