Through five games, the Los Angeles Dodgers have looked significantly different year-over-year, but in the best of ways.
Unlike your typical Dodgers team, they're not getting production only from the flashy veterans signed in an offseason frenzy. They're not playing like a regular-season juggernaut with shaky fundamentals under the hood. They're even underperforming their peripherals -- Pythagoras says they should be 4-1.
And, most importantly, the kids are beyond alright. James Outman and Miguel Vargas have emerged as bonafide stars, mentored by Jason Heyward and his new swing (and oh, by the way, the new swing also works).
Vargas received a masterclass in patience this spring when his bum pinky required he sit tight at the plate and stare at pitches. Somehow, he still managed to take his walks, a talent that has translated to the regular season; the second baseman has nine walks this season, more than the Philadelphia Phillies ... as a team (eight).
Unfortunately, Monday's comeback win against the Rockies wasn't all fun and games. After nursing a hairline fracture in a different digit all spring, Vargas was hit on the right thumb and toughed it out in early-season weather.
After the victory had been secured, Dave Roberts told the media that Vargas' range of motion was good, and that the injury didn't merit immediate examination. Still, there's an x-ray coming on Tuesday.
Dodgers need Miguel Vargas healthy (though James Outman, Jason Heyward still beasting)
Why not do it right away? Not sure. Not our call, but not sure.
At least most involved seem to believe Vargas escaped harm here. If he's got to miss a game or two, the Dodgers likely have full faith that Outman and Heyward can continue to bang the drum without him.
Monday night was the trio's best performance yet, helping to lead the Dodgers to the NL's best run differential (and where have we heard that before?).
Add in Noah Syndergaard throwing well with only moderate fire, and it seems the Dodgers' reload has gone according to plan -- even if nobody outside the building could read that plan as clearly as Andrew Friedman this offseason.