Los Angeles Dodgers: Can Mookie Betts be the greatest Dodger ever?

Jason Reed
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 23: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants in the Opening Day game at Dodger Stadium on July 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 23: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants in the Opening Day game at Dodger Stadium on July 23, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The 2020 season had been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Dodgers
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Dodgers /

Greatest players in Los Angeles Dodgers history: 1. Mookie Betts, 71.1 WAR (projected)

This is not really a surprise at this point as we already said that number one is a projected total and Betts has not appeared on this list so far. And while there is a long way to go until Betts calls it a career, if he plays out his entire contract in LA, with our reasonable projections, then he will go down as the greatest Dodger of all-time.

That is, unless Kershaw spends another 2+ seasons in LA, which would likely be enough to take him over the projected 71.1 WAR for Betts in LA.

To do this projection we took Mookie’s average WAR from the last five seasons (not counting his 52-game rookie season). The average was 7.9 WAR per season. We adjusted that to a 60-game season at the same pace, which would account for 2.9 WAR.

We then assumed that Betts will continue this level of play for another three seasons. That means from 2021 to 2023 he will accumulate 23.7 WAR. That is being favorable, as well, as Betts could easily get better or have a longer “peak” prime. He turns 31 after the 2023 season.

We then assumed that over the following five seasons he would be worth about 80% of what he has been thus far in his career. Still an all-star and maybe even still in his prime. Again, these are reasonable projections. Those five seasons would be worth 31.6 WAR.

Then, we assumed he would be worth half of what he is now in the last four years of his deal, accounting for 15.8 WAR. Put it all together and we have 71.1 career WAR.

If we do assume Bellinger is a lifetime Dodger and is worth the same WAR during his prime as Betts (he had a 9.1 WAR last season) then he will finish with a 102.7 WAR.

But again, that is assuming that he continues at a 7.9 WAR pace through his age 31 season (another seven seasons) and then has the same kind of drop off as Betts. This year will be telling if he can continue an MVP-level of play of if 2019 was an anomaly.

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Of course, he would have to stay healthy, but that is why these projections are overly reasonable. Regardless, Mookie Betts could wind up being the best player in Los Angeles Dodgers history.

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