Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Although the Los Angeles Dodgers have had an offseason to forget so far and it earned them the worst ranking from ESPN as the least improved team, they are still in a good spot.
The Dodgers were ranked among the top-10 teams for the 2022 season by ESPN’s Buster Olney, coming in at the No. 2 spot on the list. The only team ahead of the Dodgers are the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.
Rounding out the top 10 are the Chicago White Sox (No.3), Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.
The Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Miami Marlins and L.A. Angels all received an honorable mention.
Coming off a 106-win season and trip to the National League Championship Series for the fifth time in six years, the Dodgers lost superstars Corey Seager and Max Scherzer early in the free agency process.
They were able to re-sign Chris Taylor and agree to deals with pitchers Andrew Heaney and Daniel Hudson, but still have work to do.
Once the lockout ends, L.A. needs to add at least one more starting pitcher and find a way to replace Seager’s production. Among the top players left on the market are Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Rodon, Freddie Freeman and Carlos Correa.
Despite their needs, the Dodgers still have an incredibly deep and talented roster with multiple top prospects who should be ready to debut soon.
They were represented at every position on Olney’s player rankings lists by Will Smith (No. 4, catcher), Max Muncy (No. 7, first base), Chris Taylor (No. 8, second base), Justin Turner (No. 7, third base), Trea Turner (No. 3, shortstop), AJ Pollock (No. 7, left field), Cody Bellinger (No. 7, center field), Mookie Betts (No. 5, right field), Blake Treinen (No. 4, relief pitcher) and Walker Buehler (No. 6, starting pitcher).
Olney’s rankings seem to be giving the Braves the top spot purely because they are the reigning champs. Although they are an incredibly talented team, Atlanta still won 18 fewer games than the Dodgers and could possibly lose Freeman this offseason.
It’s also fair to bet the Dodgers would take the No. 1 spot once the lockout ends and they are able fill out their roster.
Dodgers remain the World Series favorites
Although they were ESPN’s least improved team, the Dodgers are still the extreme favorites to return to and win the 2022 World Series by the same system. It saw them return to the Fall Classic in roughly 40% of simulations.
L.A. also had a wins baseline of 104.7 that was based on “player projections from Steamer, projection-based WAR calculations from FanGraphs and the betting markets.”
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