In a shortened 2020 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series for the first time since 1988. Their new goal will have to be trying to remain supreme across Major League Baseball.
The Dodgers will be retaining most of their players from last year’s squad. But, Los Angeles is destined to add more depth. The team is badly trying to prevent a World Series hangover like the one the Washington Nationals had.
2020 Los Angeles Dodgers Recap
The Dodgers finished last year’s 60 game season with a 43-17 record. Total that record to a normal regular season, Los Angeles ties the 2001 Seattle Mariners for the most team wins in a `162 game regular season.
Mookie Betts Acquisition
Prior to the season, the Dodgers acquired star outfielder Mookie Betts from the Boston Red Sox. Shortly after, the team signed Betts to a monster 12-year/$365 million deal, the richest contract in Dodger history and the third-richest contract in the history of American sports.
Betts’ stellar play in 2020 made him a finalist for MVP. He hit .292 while slugging 16 home runs and 39 runs batted in. His stellar glove and baserunning made him more of a factor in the postseason.
Stellar Offensive Play
The Dodgers’ lineup was arguably the most dangerous in the league, scoring 5.82 runs per game to earn top honors in the MLB. The stellar lineup also led the MLB in home runs and finished second in OPS. In August, Los Angeles set a record for home runs in a single month with 57.
One of the bigger bright spots was the resurrection of shortstop Corey Seager. For nearly his entire career, Seager has dealt with numerous injuries, almost making him useless. In his first healthy season in four years, he slugged 15 home runs and hitting for a batting average of .307, leading the team. He also had the highest fielding percentage among shortstops, standing at .952. Signing Seager to an extension is a clear priority for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers’ rotation in 2020 was led by Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Kershaw finished 2020 strong with a 6-2 record with a 2.19 earned run average and his K/9 ratio averaged at 9.6, his best stats since 2015. He capped off a brilliant 2020 with two great World Series performances, striking out 14 batters in 11.2 innings and only surrendering three runs.
Due to minor injuries, Buehler started off the 2020 season slow. However, he rebounded in October by pitching in three starts in the NLCS and World Series and pitching great. Buehler went 17 innings, allowing only two earned runs while striking out 23.
The three youngsters in Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Julio Urias stepped big time for the Dodgers. May reached further development as he was second in innings pitched on the team rotation with 56. Gonsolin recorded a 1.94 earned run average in just eight regular-season starts. Urias became a hero as he closed out both the NLCS and World Series in relief.
Even scarier, the Dodgers’ bullpen was one of the most effective in the regular season. Team relievers combined for an ERA of 2.74 in the regular season. Veteran relievers Blake Treinen and Jake McGee had rebound seasons. Kenley Jansen remained a stable closing pitcher. Plus, rookies Brusdar Graterol and Victor Gonzalez were put into high-leverage roles and succeeded greatly.
Who Are Possible Threats to The Los Angeles Dodgers?
The National League contains little to no competition for the Dodgers when it comes to how many teams are playoff-ready.
In the National League East, the Atlanta Braves will likely take another division crown home but will need some more starting pitching. The New York Mets are a team to be feared after trading for star shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco. No one knows if the Washington Nationals will rebound. Plus, the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins still have to figure things out.
The National League Central holds no true answers or contenders. The Chicago Cubs are likely hitting the reset button as Kris Bryant and Javier Baez trade talks emerge. The Cardinals are a fringe playoff team. The Milwaukee Brewers had a down season. The Cincinnati Reds don’t seem true blue and the Pittsburgh Pirates can’t get out of their own way.
There’s no true threat in the NL. Nor is there in the AL.
The Yankees have been slow in the offseason. The Twins are the Indiana Pacers of the MLB. No one else is a serious threat.
The Dodgers will remain champs. Mark my words.