Dodgers: Why Mookie Betts is more valuable over a shortened season

Mookie Betts with a Los Angeles Dodgers teammate. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Mookie Betts with a Los Angeles Dodgers teammate. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

1) Dodgers need Mookie Betts in regular season more than ever

After winning 106 games last season, and their seventh consecutive title, the last team in the National League West that needed to make a major improvement over the offseason was the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, the rich got richer by adding a former American League MVP to a lineup that already includes the reigning National League MVP in Cody Bellinger. The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches entering the 2020 season. In fact, FanGraphs projected they would win the NL West by 14 games over the Padres.

But a shortened season changes everything. While the Dodgers might be the clear front-runners to win the division over a 162-game marathon, the odds fall in the underdogs favor as more games are knocked off the schedule, and the season turns into a sprint.

FanGraphs ran their season projections over an 81-game schedule – the current length being proposed by Major League Baseball to the players – and the Dodgers odds of winning the West shrink considerably. Once a 91% lock, they would suddenly find themselves with only 56% odds to win the division. The projected standings put the Padres within six games.

What does this all mean? It means the addition of Mookie Betts suddenly carries added value over a shortened season. Playing 162 games, the Dodgers don’t need Betts in their lineup to win the West. By cutting the season in half, the added value of Betts could be the difference maker in winning the division, or not.