But even with all those questions, the Dodgers — as they stand right now — are projected to win the National League West again in 2023. Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs put out his first ZiPS projections, and while he acknowledges that the projections are extremely premature and “guaranteed to be awful,” L.A.’s ranking underscores the strength of their farm system and their ability to fill their holes on the big-league roster with internal options if they so choose.
Szymborski’s projections have the Dodgers with 91 wins, followed by the Padres (87), Giants (83), Diamondbacks (83), and Rockies (68).
The Dodgers have a lot of work to do this offseason, but they started off as an absurdly good team, leaving them at the top of the projected division. I doubt they’ll enter the season with Ryan Pepiot in the rotation.
For purposes of these projections, Pepiot is penciled in as L.A.’s fifth starter behind Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. (I did confirm with Szymborski that these projections include Kershaw even though his contract hasn’t been officially announced yet.) The Dodgers are in the market for a starting pitcher, and replacing Pepiot with, say, Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander would presumably bump these projections up a bit. A starting shortstop and a starting center-fielder would also give the team another bump.
Starting with a baseline of 91 wins is pretty promising, though, and it highlights the fact that Los Angeles could go with somewhat of a youth movement if they choose and still have a very good chance to win the division.
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