It seems like a story as old as time at this point, but the Los Angeles Dodgers enter the 2017 MLB season as one of the most talented rosters in the sport. However, you can’t mention that stacked roster without immediately following it up by how the Dodgers have continuously disappointed in the postseason.
The Dodgers have won the NL West for four consecutive seasons but have never made it past the NLCS. In fact, the last time the Dodgers made it to the World Series was 1988. So maybe it’s hard to believe this LA squad has the fourth-best odds to win the Fall Classic.
A stacked starting rotation features the best pitcher in baseball in Clayton Kershaw. Kenley Jansen is one of the best closers in all of baseball. Plus the lineup features one of the best young players in the MLB in Corey Seager who finished third in MVP voting during his rookie season.
Again, you can’t deny the talent on the roster – tt’s sort of sickening if you’re not a fan of the club. However, should you really be banking on a team that just can’t seem to get over that World Series hump?
World Series +1000
Just how long has it been since the Dodgers won the World Series? To put it into context; Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins was topping the Billboard Music Charts, Matthew Broderick vehicle Biloxi Blues was dominating in the box office and Clayton Kershaw was seven months old.
So…it’s been a long time.
There are two major obstacles standing in the Dodgers’ path to a World Series victory; the Chicago Cubs and offense. Let’s face it; the Cubs are likely going to be a dynasty. They are young and stacked in pretty much every conceivable way play they enter this year with World Series experience. We will touch on this later in the article.
The Dodgers were not a bad team offensively last season, but you can largely define them as average. They ranked 14th in runs, 17th in home runs and 18th in OBP. Of the past 10 World Series winners, eight ended the season within the top 10 in total offense – the San Francisco Giants in 2014 and 2012 were the exceptions. LA needs to get better at the plate and they did little to make strides in this category in the offseason.
Seager will still be one of the best hitters in baseball, Justin Turner is criminally underrated at the plate and Logan Forsythe should help. But Adrian Gonzalez saw his home runs and slugging percentage drop off a cliff last season and Howie Kendrick is gone.
National League Pennant +500
Now we face the elephant in the room. Can the Dodgers (or anyone) beat the Cubs in a seven-game series? LA did their best to push Chicago in the NLCS last season but ultimately dropped the series in six games. The Dodgers two wins in that series were thanks to masterful pitching performances from Kershaw and Rich Hill. Can you expect that sort of pitching dominance in seven consecutive games?
The Dodgers faced the Cubs 13 times last season, including the playoffs, and went just 5-8 while being outscored 48-33. That’s a mere 2.5 runs per game against the Cubs last year. I know Chicago has stellar pitching but you need more runs to beat the best offense in baseball.
National League West -210
The NL West is likely a two-horse race between the Dodgers and the Giants. In the past nine years, the division crown has gone to either LA or San Fran on eight occasions. The biggest way the Dodgers can ensure an NL West crown is picking up the odd win at AT&T Park. LA was just 2-8 in San Fran last season and was outscored a whopping 54-29 in those games.
A lot of that rides on the Dodgers’ pitching against the Giants, as LA collectively posted an 8-11 record and a 3.90 ERA against San Fran last season. With neither team making many waves during the offseason, one would assume the Dodgers can squeak out a hotly-contested NL West race once again.
OVER/UNDER Win Total 93.5
Books pretty much nailed this total on the head, as the Dodgers have finished the past four seasons with 91, 92, 94 and 92 wins respectively. LA’s consistency has basically telegraphed that they will win anywhere from 90-to-95 games per season. This number likely rests on their road record. The Dodgers were 53-28 at Dodgers Stadium last season but went an abysmal 38-43 on the road.
Corey Seager For NL MVP +600
Not gonna lie, didn’t want to be boring and pick Clayton Kershaw to win the NL CY Young, so we have the youngster Corey Seager winning the MVP.
Seager slashed .308/.365/.512 while posting the ninth-best offensive WAR in all of baseball as a 22-year-old rookie last season. The young shortstop was only the fourth player since 1969 to rank in the top 10 in the NL in batting average and slugging percentage. Almost every offensive stat from Segar’s rookie season compares favorably to what Kris Bryant did in his rookie year. That’s not to say Seager is going to match Bryant’s growth between his rookie and sophomore campaign, but it is a nice little benchmark for the optimistic.
|National League Pennant||+500|
|National League West||-210|
Odds as of March 17 at Bovada