Almost ready

MLB rated teams which got better between the end of last year’s truncated season and Opening Day and finds several who improved (in WaR) more than the Dodgers. But:

Speaking of an already-good NL West team that somehow managed to get better: the Dodgers. Part of this, obviously, was that when the offseason began, they didn’t really have a third baseman, Turner having gone off to a surprisingly lengthy free agency. (The Los Angeles third-base group, at the time seemingly led by Edwin Ríos, ranked 27th in November’s rankings. They’re now ninth.) Otherwise, the position-player group is so deep that the departures of longtime role players like Enrique Hernández and Joc Pederson didn’t really move the needle; this club is well-equipped to handle it.

There was another big add here, of course, and this time from a new face, as reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer signed with the Dodgers in February. In addition to the value he brings — he’s projected for 4.4 WAR himself — he takes some of the workload off others. David Price, for example, was projected to need to throw 144 innings back in November. Now, it’s only 62.

This was already clearly the best team of 2020. It’s almost unfair they’ve now gotten even better.

6 thoughts on “Almost ready

  1. From The Athletic:

    Lux has put together a nice spring, posting a .333 batting average with a .360 on-base percentage and a .479 slugging percentage. His readiness to take over second base on a nearly full-time basis — plus the emergence of Zach McKinstry — is a big reason the Dodgers felt comfortable letting super sub Kiké Hernández go.

    If Lux does develop into the very good, everyday infielder the Dodgers hoped they were getting when they drafted him in the first round in 2016, they will have yet another homegrown player to add to the core of youngsters who should keep the team’s championship window open indefinitely.

  2. A bit surprised by Alexander over Santana, since Price will be available out of the pen. But since it’s the last roster spot, not going to worry about it.
    Much more excited about this season than last, and look how that worked out!

    • Thought at first that it might be an options issue, but both still have one left. Santana might have been more directly in competition with Nelson as a righthanded innings eater. For the short term Alexander more likely to be used in Coors as a groundball pitcher. In the medium term, probably want to see how Price works out in relief before having only him and Victor as lefties in the pen.