Perhaps the first big surprise of our power rankings coming in at #17 the three time defending NL West Champs the LA Dodgers.
Projected Record: 85-77 Third in the NL West
Potential Lineup: 2B Kendrick #47, SS Seager #,3B Turner #10, 1B Gonzalez #23, RF Puig #66, LF Either #16, C Grandall #9, CF Pederson #31, Pitcher
Potential Rotation: 1.Kershaw #22, 2.Kazmir #29, 3.Anderson #35, 4.Maeda #18, 5.Ryu #99
Potential Bullpen: CL Jansen #74, 8th Hatcher #41, 7th Garcia #64, Mid Relief: Howell #56, Baez #52, Avilan #43, Blanton #TBD
Potential Bench: C Ellis #17, OF Crawford #3, OF Van Slyke #33, IF/OF Hernandez #14, IF Utley #26
Injuries: P McCarthy #38
The Los Angeles Dodgers took home their third straight NL West Division title in 2015 in parts to great starting pitching, and a lockdown closer. However despite winning the NL West the team failed to get passed the division series for the second straight season losing to the Mets in 5 games, and struggled throughout the year to be constant. Luckily a weak NL West helped them make it back to October but looking ahead to 2016 with improved clubs in Colorado, Arizona, and an even year for the Giants who have took home the world series trophy the past three even year seasons the Dodgers have a lot of work cut out for them. Starting with the offense that struggled in 2015 finishing 19th in runs scored. The team will be relying on a bounceback season from Yasiel Puig who was simply terrible a year ago. Puig batted just .255 with 11 homers, and 38 RBI’s and only made it on the field for 79 games due to injury. The Dodgers certainly need their outfield slugger to return to his all star self. The team will also look to youngsters Joc Pederson, and Corey Seager to be big parts of the 2016 clubs. Pederson had an amazing first half making it to the all star game as starter in his rookie season. However he dropped off in the second half of the season finishing with a batting average of .210, as for Corey Seager he is the MLB’s top prospect and he was able to help the Dodgers in September and October batting .337, with four homers, and 17 RBI’s in his first 27 big league games. If Seager can play up to his potential he can be a huge impact player for the Dodgers. If the Dodgers can’t get Pederson, and Puig going the once “over loaded Dodgers Outfield and starting lineup may be in trouble. If they can bounce back the Dodgers offense can improve despite having almost the exact same lineup as a year ago. As for the starting rotation the team still has the best pitcher on the planet Clayton Kershaw a three time Cy Young award winner that struck out 301 batters a year ago. However the team lost their second ace Zack Greinke who had ERA under 2 a season ago to the division rival Diamondbacks which is a huge loss for a Dodgers rotation that finished second in starters ERA. In attempt to try to replace Greinke the Dodgers signed veteran pitcher Scott Kazmir who pitched to a 3.10 ERA in Oakland and Houston in 2015, and brought in Japanese Phenom Kenta Maeda who in Japan last season had an ERA of 2.09. The Dodgers hope that these two signings will make up for the loss of Grinike but losing a pitcher like Zack is going to tough for this Dodgers team. As for the bullpen the Dodgers finished 19th in relief ERA. The team does however have a lockdown closer in Kenley Jansen but other than Jansen there really isn’t any lockdown reliever which may lead to struggles for LA in 2016. The Dodgers still have a roster capable of making it to October. Yet with a loaded division, the loss of Zack Greinke to a division rival, and some questions in the bullpen, and starting lineup the Dodgers three year division title streak sure is in jeopardy.