2022 ZiPS Projections Have Dodgers As Elite Team

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a pretty poor offseason to date as they lost Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers and Max Scherzer to the New York Mets, while Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw remained free agents heading into the MLB lockout.

They were able to re-sign Chris Taylor and bring in pitchers Andrew Heaney and Daniel Hudson, but the offseason has still been an overall negative, which caused them to receive the worst offseason grade from ESPN.

Despite their losses, the 2022 ZiPS projections, which are developed by Dan Szymborski and released every year on FanGraphs, are still optimistic about their roster and view them as one of the best teams in baseball.

Dodgers position players

The Dodgers’ lineup is the strength of their team, with two players projected to produce at superstar levels by wins above replacement in Trea Turner (5.5 WAR) and Mookie Betts (5.3). No other starter is projected to be worse than a solid regular.

ZiPS is also very high on Will Smith — for good reason — as it projects he will be the third-best position player on the team and reach an All-Star level at 4.3 WAR.

The Dodgers are projected to have five players in their lineup with 20 home runs or more. They are led by Max Muncy’s 32 and joined by Turner at 28, Betts and Smith with 27, and Bellinger rounding it out at 25.

Just missing the 20-homer mark are Justin Turner and AJ Pollock with 19, and Chris Taylor at 18. Gavin Lux is also projected for 16.

While the Dodgers would still benefit from adding another bat, such as Freddie Freeman, the lineup still has a done of talent as currently constructed.

The projection system is also high on prospect Miguel Vargas, who is projected for 2.2 WAR if he was to receive a full season of playing time at the Major League level.

Dodgers starting pitchers

The Dodgers’ pitching staff is still in good shape for the 2022 season with Walker Buehler and Julio Urias leading the rotation.

Buehler, with a 4.6 WAR and 3.23 ERA in 189.3 innings, is projected to be around a superstar level once again. He is followed by the All-Star caliber Urias with a 3.9 WAR and 3.29 ERA over 167 innings.

ZiPS projects Trevor Bauer to throw 136 innings with a 3.37 ERA and 3.1 WAR. However, Bauer’s future with the club is in question as he remains under investigation by MLB for alleged sexual assault while Pasadena Police Department has turned over their findings to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Rounding out their rotation is Heaney (1.7 WAR), David Price (1.2) and Tony Gonsolin (0.7). All three players are mostly question marks projected as back-of-the-rotation starters, so the Dodgers’ biggest need remaining is to add at least one more starter.

Ideally, that would be Kershaw, who is projected for 3 WAR in 130 innings with a 3.38 ERA.

Dustin May is also expected to come back midway through the season as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery. He is projected to throw 73 innings with a 4.03 ERA and 1.2 WAR.

Andre Jackson is pegged to throw 101 innings with a 4.81 ERA as the team’s most MLB-ready pitching prospect and likely the first man up to replace an injured starter.

Dodgers bullpen

The bullpen is projected to be a strong point for the Dodgers with Blake Treinen leading them at 63 innings pitched, a 3.14 ERA and 1.2 WAR.

They are expected to get a big boost from the returns of Tommy Kahnle (3.58 ERA, 55 innings) and Caleb Ferguson (3.68 ERA, 66 innings with four starts), who were both out this past season while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

ZiPS also projects Brusdar Graterol to rebound to a 3.31 ERA in 51 innings after a down 2020 season, but it projects a bit of a decline for Alex Vesia with a 4.04 ERA in 49 innings.

The newly-signed Hudson is projected for a 3.93 ERA in 52 innings.

All six of those relievers are projected to be above league average and they still have another four projected to be quality options in Phil Bickford, Evan Phillips, Justin Bruihl and Victor Gonzalez.

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