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Who Were The Top 6 Los Angeles Dodgers by WAR in 2023?

Wins above replacement (WAR) seeks to boil down a player’s value on the field to a single number. For position players, it takes into account production at the plate, defensive metrics, and also position – certain defensive positions, such as shortstop, have a higher inherent value than others, such as first base. As for pitchers, WAR uses stats like runs given up, innings pitched, and field-independent-pitching (FIP) to calculate a pitcher’s value.

A WAR of 0 indicates an average player or a replacement-level player. Players with a WAR greater than zero are above-average players, and players with a WAR lower than zero are below-average players. For example, in 2023 Shohei Ohtani led MLB in WAR with an astounding 10.0.

There are two main models for WAR, bWAR and fWAR. While they are generally pretty similar, both models use slightly different stats to generate WAR, so they do vary. For this list I used bWAR, but to show the difference in numbers I placed the player’s fWAR next to it in parenthesis.

That should cover the basics, and so on with the list.

1. Mookie Betts – RF – 8.4 bWAR (8.3 fWAR)
This should come as no surprise to anyone who watched the Dodgers this year. Mookie put up incredible numbers this season at the plate slashing .307 / .408 / .987. He hit a career-high 39 home runs this year and played in 152 games. Betts did all this while showing off his positional versatility playing above-average right field, 2B, and SS. He also had arguably the single best month any player has ever had during the month of August. Only Shohei Ohtani accumulated more bWAR (10.0) this year.

2. Freddie Freeman – 1B – 6.6 bWAR (7.9 fWAR)
First base tends not to grade out well when it comes to WAR. This makes Freeman’s 6.6 bWAR all the more impressive this year. The 33-year-old put up career numbers for the boys in blue hitting .331 / .410 / .976. He led the league in doubles (59!), and other teams showed their respect for his hitting prowess by intentionally walking him an NL-leading 12 times. His consistent, professional approach to each at bat is not only a marvel to watch but keeps him among the elite at the plate.

3. Will Smith – C – 4.1 bWAR (4.4 fWAR)
The Dodgers backstop had a torrid start to the season. Through June and into July Smith had a .911 OPS which earned him his first All-Star appearance. He ended the year slashing .261 / .359 / .797 and led all MLB in sacrifice flyouts with 12. Smith ranked either first or second among catchers this year depending on the WAR model.

4. Clayton Kershaw – SP – 3.7 bWAR (2.3 fWAR)
Clayton Kershaw continued to be the model of consistency in his 16th year. Even though a shoulder injury sidelined him for all of July, he still pitched 131.2 innings – the most he’s pitched since 2019. He finished the season with a 13-2 record and a 2.46 ERA. Kershaw added another incredible year to his resume on his way to Cooperstown.

5. James Outman – CF – 3.3 bWAR (4.4 fWAR)
James Outman thoroughly impressed the Dodgers and fans this year with his rookie campaign. After taking over for CF mainstay Cody Bellinger, Outman quelled all fears of a dropoff in production at that position. The 26-year-old rookie hit .248 / .353 / .790. Those numbers do not tell the incredible story Outman had this year. After breaking out onto the stage in the biggest way, he struggled mightily in the early summer. He eventually overcame those struggles at the plate, became much more comfortable defensively, and put together a remarkable rookie season – a season that has Dodgers’ fans very excited for his future.

6. Max Muncy – 3b – 2.6 bWAR (2.9 fWAR)
Max Muncy does two things very well – take his walks and crush baseballs with impunity. In four of the last five full seasons, Muncy has hit at least 30 home runs and walked 80 times. He tied his career mark this year with 36 dingers while taking 85 walks. His defense at the hot corner leaves a little bit to be desired, but hitting home runs at the rate he does more than makes up for some shaky defense.

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Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Skinner

Graduated from Creighton University with a degree in Biology and Philosophy. Despite growing up in San Diego, loves all thing Los Angeles sports


  1. Heyward and Martinez were above-average performers, too, but due to fewer at-bats (Heyward) and position (Martinez) they don’t have high WAR numbers. They have higher OPS numbers than Outman. Add them to the top performers list. How much of Ohtani’s 10.0 is as DH, how much as pitcher?

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