Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are a Major League Baseball team based out of Los Angeles, CA. The Dodgers were originally based out of Brooklyn before moving to LA in 1958. They have won 24 National League Pennants over the course of their existence and have won seven World Series championships during that span as well.
Los Angeles Dodgers Last Season Performance
The Dodgers were fresh off of a 2020 World Series championship entering 2021 and were the betting favorite to once again win the Fall Classic. They became an even heavier favorite after signing starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to a three-year contract and locking up Mookie Betts to a multi-year extension.
Despite dealing with a number of injuries over the course of the season, the Dodgers were amongst the best teams in the MLB. Max Muncy led the team in home runs with 36 even though he was limited to just 136 games. Justin Turner once again had an impressive campaign with 27 home runs and a .278 batting average although he was also limited to under 140 games.
The offense was still terrific even though Mookie Betts had a bit of a down season, Corey Seager missed a significant chunk of time due to injury, and Cody Bellinger endured an extremely disappointing campaign. The fact that they could consistently win without MVP performances from any of these three stars speaks to the team’s overall depth.
Walker Buehler was Los Angeles’s ace of the rotation all year long. The star pitcher posted a 2.47 ERA and 212 strikeouts. Buehler is undeniably one of the best pitchers in the MLB right now.
But Clayton Kershaw’s season was limited due to injuries and Trevor Bauer’s season was also limited due to off-the-field issues.
The Dodgers finished with a 3.16 bullpen ERA which was good for second in the league. Their bullpen depth was arguably the best in baseball.
One of the major turning points for the Dodgers was when they acquired shortstop/second baseman Trea Turner and starting pitcher Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals prior to the July trade deadline.
Sherzer and Turner were terrific for Los Angeles, and both were considered candidates to take home Cy Young and MVP Awards. Scherzer had an ERA under 2 in 11 games for Los Angeles while Turner hit .338 and had 10 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 51 games for the Dodgers.
Despite featuring arguably the best roster in baseball, the Dodgers finished with the second-best record in baseball behind the Giants. Los Angeles had 106 wins while San Francisco had 107 wins to ultimately earn the NL West title.
This forced LA to play in the Wild Card game against the Cardinals, where they were able to narrowly escape with a victory thanks to a clutch walk-off home run by Chris Taylor.
The Giants and Dodgers then met in the National League Division Series where they looked evenly matched up until the final pitch of the series. The Dodgers once again just did escape with a series win after taking Game 5 on the road in San Francisco.
But they eventually wound up losing in the American League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves who went on to win the World Series.
Although most teams would be happy with the playoff appearance, the Dodgers expect nothing less than championships on a yearly basis. Their 2021 end result was underwhelming and they are hopeful to rebound this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers Off-Season Changes
The Dodgers entered the 2021-2022 offseason with a myriad of different questions? Who was going to be their ace? Who was going to be the 2022 starting shortstop?
Should they look within the organization for these questions? Or did they need outside help to build a roster that can win the World Series?
Some of those questions were answered for them when Corey Seager declined the qualifying offer he was given and signed in Texas with the Rangers. This immediately slid Trea Turner from the second base over to the shortstop.
As for the question, Buehler is expected to remain in the role with Scherzer headed to Queens to join the Mets, and Bauer’s status for 2022 uncertain. Kershaw is still a free agent and even if he resigns one would figure that Buehler has done enough to be deemed the best starting pitcher in the Dodger organization.
They will have competition between the Giants and Padres in 2022, but those teams both have questions of their own heading into the campaign which naturally makes Los Angeles the favorites to win the division.
Los Angeles Dodgers Key Additions
The Dodgers saw an immense amount of players hit the open market at the conclusion of the season. They had to decide if they wanted to try and resign these players or find other ways to replace them.
The versatile Chris Taylor was one of those free agents whose future was unclear during the offseason. But Taylor was an all-star last season and had a number of big moments despite some late-season struggles which led the Dodgers to offer Taylor a four-year contract which he signed. Having Taylor on the roster is important since he is able to play just about any position on the field.
Los Angeles signed Andrew Heaney to a one-year deal. The former Angel has a ton of strikeout upside but he labored throughout the 2022 campaign.
The only other major signing Los Angeles made was signing Cody Bellinger in an effort to avoid arbitration.
But one would figure that the team could be in line to make some more high-profile moves once the MLB lockout comes to an end.
Los Angeles Dodgers Key Subtractions
The subtraction section of this article could be a story all on its own.
Here are a list of the most notable players who entered free agency at the beginning of the offseason; Corey Seager, Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor, Kenley Jansen, Corey Knebel, Albert Pujols, Cole Hamels, Danny Duffy, Jimmy Nelson, Joe Kelly, and Steven Souza.
The only player who has been re-signed by the team up to this point is Taylor.
The addition of Trea Turner at the trade deadline made losing Seager far more tolerable for the franchise. Although Seager is an incredible talent, Turner is a player who has emerged as one of the best players in all of baseball.
It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers end up re-signing Jansen. The longtime Dodgers closer has shown signs of decline over the past couple of years but is still a very capable arm out of the ‘pen.
Nelson and Knebel are both talented relievers who the Dodgers will surely miss. They could still re-sign Nelson as the right-hander is still a free agent, but Knebel signed a contract with the Phillies early in the offseason.
If they are unable to re-sign Kershaw that would make two former Cy Young award winners lost in the same offseason since Scherzer already signed with the Mets. It would be extremely difficult to picture Kershaw in any other uniform other than the white and blue of the Dodgers, so it seems likely that Los Angeles will make an attempt to sign him.
But it is possible that Kershaw ends up leaving once the lockout comes to an end.
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Los Angeles Dodgers Head Coach Analysis
Dodgers head coach Dave Roberts‘ contract will conclude at the conclusion of the 2022 season. But there have been extension talks and Roberts recently told the Athletic that he expects that a deal will get done.
Roberts began his Dodgers coaching career in 2016. The former speed demon and quality ballplayer has led the Dodgers to a winning record ever since taking over in 2016. He has also led the team to over 100 regular-season wins on three separate occasions.
His most important accomplishment came in 2020 when Los Angeles won the World Series. But the Dodgers are hopeful that Roberts can lead them to more World Series victories down the road.
As things stand now, Roberts has become arguably the best younger manager in all of baseball. He will look for more success in 2022.
Los Angeles Dodgers Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
RHP Dustin May was a high-value prospect in the Dodgers system with an electrifying arm. May started off the 2021 campaign on a red hot stretch but injured his elbow early in the year and ultimately needed Tommy John surgery. He is expected to miss at least the first half of 2022 before possibly making a mid-season return.
Relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle is also dealing with an elbow ailment but is expected to be available for Spring Training.
Max Muncy injured his elbow late in the 2021 campaign which played a major role in the Dodgers playoff run. But Muncy has made substantial progress and is expected to be fine in time for the 2022 season.
Justin Turner has dealt with a hamstring ailment and he is listed as probable for the beginning of the season.
Bauer is questionable for the 2022 season as he could face discipline by MLB for the sexual assault accusations he was given last summer. However, Bauer will not face any criminal discipline which the Los Angeles district attorney announced in February of 2022.
Los Angeles Dodgers Prediction for 2022 Season
Even though they have a number of players on the free-agent market and have seen some of those players already sign with other teams, the Dodgers are still a favorite to win the World Series in 2022 MLB Odds.
They should be able to win the NL West this year. The Padres have a plethora of talent and the Giants displayed an incredible amount of depth in 2021, but Los Angeles is arguably the best overall team on paper entering the new season. But San Diego might give them the most trouble.
The Padres were supposed to play the role that the Giants did last year. Instead, they fell off midway through the season and ultimately finished with a record of under .500. But San Diego has plenty of potential from an offensive perspective and their starting rotation should be better than it was last year.
It may take another 100-plus win campaign, but Los Angeles has the tools to win the division, these will be reflected in their MLB lines.
I would place the Dodgers ceiling at first place in the West and their floor is second place.
Los Angeles Dodgers Final Thoughts
Can the Dodgers win the World Series in 2022? Yes, they absolutely can.
However, the National League is full of talent with teams that could be even better next season. The National League East features four teams that could realistically be contenders this year, and the Central has two or three teams that will also make postseason runs.
The path to the Fall Classic will be far from easy, but the Dodgers are the most well-rounded team in baseball. Their offense has fire-power, the starting rotation is deep and talented, and the bullpen is difficult to score runs against.
This is a fantastic Dodger team who we will see on baseball’s brightest stage next October.