Author Topic: The Dodgers Are Really Freaking Good  (Read 680 times)

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Offline mimontero88

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The Dodgers Are Really Freaking Good
« Topic Start: August 07, 2017, 04:44:03 PM »
Okay, I know the title is obvious.  But before you troll me, I will admit that it should really say "The Dodgers are Even Better than You Think They Are."  However, I find that title presumptuous.  I don't know how good any of you think the Dodgers are.  I just know how good I thought they were.  And I was wrong.  They're better. 

Today, I had a little free time and decided to find the point of overperformance for the Dodgers.  The logic goes that any team having a run this historic has to have a solid mix of talent and luck.  It seems logical that talent alone cannot produce results like this because baseball just isn't that easy - unless you're the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers.

The first thing I looked for was a weak strength of schedule (admittedly a stretch given their division).  I decided to approach strength of schedule by isolating their games against playoff teams (as of today) and looking at their performance in those games.  The Dodgers have played 34 such games.  They are 22-12 in those games.  The Dodgers have won one less game against playoff teams than the Nats have PLAYED.  Strength of schedule is not the chink in the Dodger armor.

Okay, well maybe they've just killed it in one-run games, right?  I mean, sure they're only overperforming their Pythagorean record by 2 games but maybe that's the result of blowouts against bad teams, right?  Right?  Nope.  The Dodgers are 18-10 in one-run games.  That's a little lucky but it's a significantly worse winning percentage than their overall winning percentage.  Even if you change that to 14-14, you get the Dodgers down to a 75-36 record, still good for the best record in baseball with four games to spare.

Okay, so what if they just have gotten really lucky with the injury bug?  Maybe they've just stayed shockingly healthy all year.  Except the Dodgers actually lead all of Major League Baseball in cumulative days spent on the DL by players (1,313) and number of players (24).  They lost Justin Turner, arguably their best hitter, for 22 days.  Joc Pederson spent 33 days on the DL.  Rich Hill and Hyun-jin Ryu also spent more than a month each.  You actually have the beginnings of a respectable pitching staff just using pitchers currently on the Dodgers' DL (Kershaw, Kazmir, McCarthy).

Here's the thing.  I've spent a lot of time over the years on this forum looking for points of overperformance or underperformance when it seems like the public is largely overrating or underrating a team/player.  Almost always, you can find a luck factor that explains a team's or player's overperformance or underperformance compared to expectations.  Last year, Anthony Rendon had a rough April and I posted that the peripherals showed he would be fine.  He ended up being fine.  It is pretty rare that a major deviation from expected performance cannot be explained away by luck (or injury in the case of individual players).  It actually gives those of us who are curious about such things an easy place to start looking for luck in the game.  But this Dodgers team can't be explained away by luck.  If anything, they've been unlucky.  And that should terrify anyone who has to stare them down come October.