Dodgers: Baseball Insider is Beside Himself Over How Good This LA Team Is
The Athletic‘s Jayson Stark has been writing about baseball for over 30 years and has been honored by the Hall of Fame for his BBWAA Career Excellence Award. Safe to say he knows a thing or two about baseball.
So we don’t take it lightly when Stark asks:
Has it dawned on you that we’re watching one of the greatest baseball teams of all time? No, not the Orioles. We’re talking about the 2022 Chavez Ravine Dodgers.
Stark lays out several tidbits describing the 2022 Dodgers’ greatness. Let’s look at a few of them.
112 wins? That’s the pace they’re on. They won 106 last year. And did you know no team has ever won 106 (or more) one year and then won more games the next?
It’s true, we looked it up. Last year’s Dodgers and Giants made 23 106-win teams in history, and while three of them — the 1969-70 Orioles, 1942-43 Cardinals, and 1904-05 Giants — came within one game of matching their 106+ win season the next year, no team has matched or beat a record like that. Two teams have won 106+ in consecutive seasons: the Cubs won 116 games in 1906 and 107 in 1907, and the Orioles won 109 in 1969 and 108 in 1970.
Of course, the 2019 Dodgers won 106 games, and then the 2020 Dodgers won at a 116-win pace in the shortened 2020 season, so the Dodgers could have been working on their fourth straight 106+ season if not for that pesky global pandemic.
A plus-355 run differential? Speaking of run differential, only two teams since 1900 have ever made it to plus-350 or above: the legendary 1939 Yankees (plus-411) and 1927 Yankees (plus-376). The “modern” National League record? Plus-335, by the 1902 Pirates. The NL record in the 162-game-season era? Guess what? These Dodgers have already set it, at plus-298, through Wednesday — which puts them on pace to finish at plus-355. Unreal.
That’s right — the Dodgers already have the best run differential since the National League went to the 162-game schedule over 60 years ago. Of course, run differential can always go down, so the Dodgers could theoretically end up like a running back who celebrates a rushing record only to get tackled for a loss on the next play. But realistically, they have a very good chance to pass the 1902 Pirates for the best run differential in NL history.
And that run differential leads to …
An Expected W-L record of 117-45? Ever heard of a team on pace to win 112 games that’s actually underperforming its expected won-lost record? That’s because there has never been one. Until now. Based on run differential, the Dodgers should be on pace for — what??? — 117 wins. And yep, that would be a record. According to Baseball-Reference, the most Expected Wins in a season by any team since 1900 is 115, by the 1906 Cubs (who actually won 116).
The Dodgers are currently 94-42, but their expected record is 98-38, which puts them on pace for an expected record of 117-45. As it turns out, scoring a bunch of runs and allowing far fewer is a pretty good recipe for success.
Stark ends by quoting a rival executive about the Dodgers.
“We get bored with greatness sometimes,” one rival executive said. “But that team is really awesome. I don’t know if they’re going to be ‘win-117-games awesome.’ But I think if they had to, they probably would, if that makes any sense. That’s how good they are.”
Hopefully, we as Dodger fans haven’t gotten bored with greatness. Only time will tell what happens in October, but the 2022 Dodgers have had one of the most entertaining regular seasons most of us have ever seen.
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I see a team with a confusing underperforming pitching staff and hitting order
I see only a few good batters and pitching very inconsistent
I see a manager who consistently mis-manages costing them games and several underachieving guys
I think the Mets, braves, especially Houston has a good change to dethrone these guys with gutsy performances. Who wants the series the most?
It’s a lot closer than you think