Dodgers’ 2022 FanGraphs projections show rotation worries and 1 big hole
By Adam Weinrib
Offseason projections are usually an early-January highlight for all Dodgers fans who love to answer the question, “Just how high can these theoretical win totals go?”
After all, these projection systems come with plenty of baked-in skepticism, and often try to skew conservative, no matter how theoretically deep a given team is supposed to be.
These past few years, the Dodgers have challenged that notion, though, blowing the formula away so spectacularly before 2021 that Bill Plaschke decided to spend an entire column arguing whether we were about to watch the greatest MLB team of all time take the field.
But for 2022? Hey, still good! Still positive. Still not a dramatic disaster or a cratering effect. The formulas believe the ’22 Dodgers will, by and large, be a good team. A contender. One of many good MLB squads, but not the tippy-top of the mountain like last season.
In fact, the Dodgers’ 2022 FanGraphs projections made clear the two biggest theoretical problems with this roster: a rotation issue, coupled with a below-expectations prediction for Cody Bellinger.
Dodgers’ 2022 FanGraphs Predictions aren’t quite so bullish.
Yes, that’s just a 3.1 WAR projection for Cody Bellinger after his $900K raise, which is … good, but isn’t quite the superstar level of play we were hoping for from a peaking former MVP. Some believe in a full bounce back to reality next year. FanGraphs does not.
3.1 is, of course, nothing to sneeze at. It’s essentially what FanGraphs is anticipating from a rehabbing Max Muncy (which, hey, that’s its own problem) and more than they project from a Chris Taylor/Gavin Lux second base platoon (OK, also not great). But Bellinger at his best was worth 8.6 WAR (!) just two years ago, and hit the 4.2 mark in his sophomore season the year prior. Following up a mind-blowing -1.5 WAR season (!!!) with a positive mark is theoretically an improvement, but not to the level this team requires.
And also … folks, that rotation. Beyond Walker Buehler and Julio Urías, things look just as dark as we anticipated — and there’s really no reason to believe in Andrew Heaney meeting those rosy projections after so many years of missing them. It’s not like we weren’t all aware that rotation depth would be an issue, but this calcifies it.
Compare the projections’ wild pre-2021 ideas about the Dodgers’ baseline roster, which envisioned 96 wins as the lower limit, and you can see a clear difference.
Will the Dodgers be good in 2022? Of course. The numbers agree objectively, and analysts know better than to doubt Andrew Friedman at this point.
But, robotically looking at what FanGraphs spit out, it’s clear that with a few more dominoes falling, Los Angeles could struggle when their depth is tested.