As a Cleveland native growing up with the 1990s Indians, I got to watch a lineup that had Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, David Justice, Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar and many other great hitters. It’s no wonder I became such a huge baseball fan. I saw something special every day. The Los Angeles Dodgers have the potential to be extremely special. They have a great chance at eliminating the asterisk talk that dominates their 2020 World Series victory. They’ll be in the playoffs for the 10th straight year but only have that one World Series in the span. Until they get one in a full season, they’ll continue to be scrutinized. So, they went out and got two of the best hitters in the world.
There are no excuses: When you spend this much money and get to the playoffs every year, it’s always World Series or bust. The regular season is just 162 games of spring training for the Dodgers. With 106 wins in each of the last two full seasons, it seems like they take it pretty seriously anyway.
I’m in awe of the lineup the Dodgers are putting out this season. Like everybody else, I looked at the lineup from last season and said, “You know what this is missing? A five-time All-Star and Gold Glover that recently won the NL MVP Award and a World Series.” The addition of Freddie Freeman just a few months after adding Trea Turner has taken this offense to new heights.
It’s actually pretty amazing that the Dodgers were only seventh in wOBA last season with all of the talent in that lineup. I thought maybe it had to do with the team’s batting average on ground balls, as their sluggers get shifted a lot, but they were right in the middle of the pack at .242. Per Statcast, their BA-xBA differential was one of the biggest on the negative side, so they could have fared better in that department.
It wasn’t their pop up rate either, as the Dodgers had the third-lowest infield fly-ball percentage. It’s hard to figure out how the Dodgers were just 24th in BABIP. I can’t help but feel that’s going to improve this season and make the offense even deadlier.