This is going to shock almost none of you, but there are plenty of fans out there who are not convinced that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to win their fourth straight division title.
In a poll done by Houston Mitchell of the Los Angeles Times, 55.3 percent of voters said that the Dodgers would not finish in first place in the NL West in the 2016 season.
That wasn’t all, though. Mitchell received some comments from Dodgers fans who were not exactly sold on the team’s upcoming campaign.
Bryan Denny: Let’s not forget when comparing where last year’s team finished in the standings to what this year’s team might do, to take into consideration what Arizona and San Francisco did to upgrade their lineups and pitching. I see the Dodgers either third or fourth place. Fans used to be able to count as many as 18 to 20 victories out of Greinke. Where are those wins going to come from now?
To be fair, Mr. Denny is not wrong. Zack Greinke averaged 17 wins per season in his three seasons with the Dodgers. However, as it always has to be noted, pitcher wins are one of the most overrated statistical commodities out there in the sport of baseball.
Pitchers can certainly help you win games, but they’re not the sole reason you win games. Essentially, teams win games. The Dodgers went 64-28 in the 92 games Greinke started as a member of the Dodgers. That’s a .696 winning percentage. While not close to as astronomical, the Dodgers had a .625 winning percentage in games Hyun-jin Ryu started in 2013 and 2014.
Basically, the Dodgers had the makings of a 113-win team in games Greinke pitched, but were a 101-win team when Ryu pitched. Obviously not all things are as cut and dry, but teams win games. And we’re not saying Ryu is equal to Greinke or anything like that. But the loss of one great starting pitcher when you have an even better one – Clayton Kershaw – on hand is not the end of the world.
Fans are certainly allowed to feel how they want to feel, though. In fact, that’s what makes them fans. If there’s one thing that we can guarantee for 2016, it’s that fans are quite unsure of what to expect. Some are certain nothing will change in the division, but a slight majority feels that the trend has shifted. We’ll just have to sit back and watch it unfold.