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Dodgers: Latest World Series Odds Less Than Promising for LA

We kind of gotten used to the Dodgers being at the top of all projection systems. The general process is, L.A. gets some unprecedented projection — “We’ve never seen a team projected to win this many games!” — and then they exceed even those historically optimistic projections.

Well, Los Angeles will have an easier time exceeding projections in 2023, because at least one system has them winning just 89.7 games. ESPN ran simulations based on the Steamer projections from FanGraphs, and that’s the number they came up with. In 10,000 simulated seasons, the Dodgers made the postseason just 72% of the time and won the World Series just 3%.



If you’re a little surprised by those results, you’re not alone — the author of the piece at ESPN, Bradford Doolittle, is right there with you.

Steamer isn’t particularly excited about the additions of J.D. Martinez and Noah Syndergaard, which plays into a rather surprising ranking for the Dodgers. Why surprising? At this point, I almost take it for granted that the Dodgers will end up ranked first in almost any kind of projection-based ranking that I do. What the forecasts can’t capture is the Dodgers’ uncanny ability to get acquired players to produce at a level a tier or two above what the numbers suggest. You know, players like Martinez and Syndergaard. And, for that matter, how will Cubs fans feel if, all of a sudden, the Dodgers turn Jason Heyward into a feared masher? Still, this doesn’t feel like it’s been a good offseason for L.A. The offseason, though, is only half over.

If you dig into the Steamer projections, there are reasons to be surprised that don’t have anything to do with Syndergaard or Martinez. Julio Urias — the guy who led the league in ERA in 2022, who has a 2.82 career ERA and a 2.61 ERA in nearly 500 innings over the past five years — is projected to have a 4.05 ERA! Across the board, nearly every L.A. pitcher has projections that make you think, “Wait, is this a typo?”

Steamer has the best ERA for the Dodgers at 3.47 for Brusdar Graterol. In 2022, the Dodgers had 17 pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched; 11 of them had ERAs better than 3.47. L.A.’s team ERA in 2022 was 2.80, and Steamer thinks their best pitcher will be at 3.47 in 2023.

I don’t know the ins and outs of Steamer’s projection system. I don’t know specifically what it is that makes it think Julio’s entire career has been a fluke. I just wonder how many times Urias will need to vastly outperform his Steamer projections before the coders behind the system just hard-code some exceptions for him.

All I know is, if you can get Vegas odds based on Steamer, you can probably make some good money in 2023.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. He's been blogging about baseball and the Dodgers 2004 and doing it professionally since 2015. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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9 Comments

  1. What about Clayton Kershaw’s projections? 172 innings (way too many, unfortunately) and a 3.53 ERA (way too high, borderline disrespectful) don’t make sense, either. I wonder how they get these figures, but I know what Vin Scully would say about them: “that’s fertilizer!”

  2. Good to be the underdog with no respect. Bulletin board stuff to put a chip on the shoulders for the guys to show the world. Now go ahead and prove it.

  3. Dodgers team era was well below 3.00 last year and should get better this year cause May is way much more talented than Tyler Anderson and Gonso should have another good year Kershaw will have another good year his era should be around same well below 3.00 and Julio who keeps getting better will be below 2.00 and hopefully Roberts let’s him pitch that extra inning to have a better chance at the Cy Young award. But I know even if Julio has a 20-4 and 1.7 era the racist writers will still ditch him.

    1. I agree, the racist writers will give the CY to a Dominican over a Mexican every time.

  4. Surprised??? hell no… waht they do beside lose good players and keep a manger who chokes in every big game.. how can you be surprised.. to me be lucky if the do that good

    1. Well, Robert’s made a bold GUARANTEED WS win in 2021. Article I read awhile back. U know what…I chuckled. Don’t ever do that again u bloody mate. If u can’t come thru for the Dodgers fanbase, stop runnin’ ur soup coolers an deliver the goods mane.

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