A lot has been made about the depth of the Los Angeles Dodgers both on this site and elsewhere. Everyone believes in it, and everyone thinks it’s going to be what helps keep them in the hunt all season long. So, where does the team’s bench rank in the National League West?
Well, Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times has been doing a feature nearly every week that profiles the rankings of the division’s infield, outfield, starting rotation, closer, and bullpen. Now we’re onto the bench. The Dodgers, according to Mitchell, rank second in the division.
One of the keys to the Dodgers winning the West the last three seasons has been a solid bench, and it should be solid again in 2016. A lot of people were down on Van Slyke, but he is still a good player and has a better WAR than Carl Crawford. And while Hernandez may not repeat his 2015 breakout year (then again, he might), he still figures to be one of the most valuable utility players in baseball.
Also mentioned, but not listed here, was Chase Utley. The Dodgers do have a good bench again, though, and it should be relied upon to relieve the regulars when needed. From A.J. Ellis to Austin Barnes, neither of whom were mentioned, to Scott Van Slyke to Kike Hernandez. The talent, and depth, is there.
After all the points for the rankings were tabulated, the San Francisco Giants came out on top of all the NL West teams. They finished with 78 points. The Dodgers, on the other hand, finished just one point behind them, with 77. The next closest competitor, Arizona, had 58.
In the grand scheme of things, that’s exactly how the National League West should play out. Los Angeles and San Francisco are a cut above the rest of the division, and they will be fighting tooth and nail for that division crown all season long. The winner could come down to the bench.