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Dodgers: Cody Bellinger Helps Lead Defense to Top Spot on DRS Leaderboard

Bellinger and company lead baseball in defensive runs saved.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 08: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers catches a drive by Josh Donaldson (not pictured) of the Atlanta Braves in the third inning of a MLB baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)

The Dodgers have been the most well-rounded team in all of baseball leading up to the All-Star Break. While the offense has been the strong suit, ranking top 10 in baseball in OPS, OBP, SLG, Home Runs, and Batting Average, the boys in blue have displayed much more than just the high-powered offense.

The Fangraphs definition of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) is the calculation that rates individual players as above or below average on defense. As simple as it may sound, there are other factors that play in to the calculation of DRS.

Through 92 games played, the Dodgers lead all of baseball in Defensive Runs Saved with 93. With Cody Bellinger as the ring leader, has played a huge part with both the bat and the glove as well. I guess his arm is pretty great as well. The Dodgers lead the team below them, the Astros, by 23 more defensive runs saved.

The Outfield

According to Fangraphs, Cody Bellinger has earned 18 total defensive runs saved this year alone. He leads all of baseball in DRS. Those 18 this season are more than he’s had the last two seasons combined, which was 15. Not only is his glove playing a huge part, but his arm has been displayed on more than one occasion this year.

Remember what Bellinger saved Ryu’s no-hitter against the Nats at home earlier this year? That was without definitely one of my favorites. But there’s one that tops them all for me, and it came against the hated ones up north. Joe Davis said it best, “He does it all”.

Bellinger is not alone out there with the defensive help. Verdugo, Taylor, Hernandez, Joc and others have been great all year long. Verdugo’s arm strength and ability to throw guys out have been put on display.

Verdugo has been the main center fielder for the majority of the season due to A.J. Pollock’s absence. Since the end of April, the rookie Verdugo has been the centerfield, appearing there in 55 of his 77 games played. It’ll be interesting to see how Roberts platoons these bunch of outfielders when Pollock returns in the second half.

Joc, Verdugo, Taylor, Bellinger, and Hernandez have all combined for just 3 errors in the outfield this season.

The Infield

The lack of Cores Seager has been picked up by the platoon of Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor. Both have play great shortstop not only this season, but last year as well before Machado arrived in Los Angeles.

Justin Turner continues to a wall at the hot corner for the Dodgers. His health has also been a minor issue throughout the year, but Muncy has take over for him when necessary. Turner’s four errors in 73 games is tied for second in baseball behind Maikel Franco’s 3 errors.

This is by far my favorite Kiké Hernandez stats of all-time. Dude absolutely owns Bumgarner.

With Seager returning for the Boston series on Friday, Kiké and Taylor will be forced back to the outfield when Muncy isn’t playing second base. You really can’t complain about a situation like this. It’s really a good problem to have if you’re Dave Roberts. He’s got so many reliable options off of the bench.

Final Thoughts

The Dodgers have been the most consistent team in baseball from top to bottom. Pitching, hitting, and defense have each played a major part of their winning ways. From Bellingers arm to Muncy’s diving plays at second base (yes, Muncy is a second basemen now). Guys like Hernandez and Taylor that guy play just about anywhere on the diamond is a huge factor.

As long as this defense holds true, expect the Dodgers to be back in playoff race yet again.

Written by Tyler Hawk

Currently living in Central California. Life-long Dodgers and Chargers fan.

One Comment

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  1. Great information thank you. I have been impressed with Muncy’s improved defense. Reports are that he worked hard on defense and dropping weight this winter. With Muncy at second. Seager at SS Turner at 3rd and Freese and Pederson at 1st that is a very potent offense.
    Verdugo has been very good and his DRS I believe is higher than Pollock’s. I know Roberts is a complete player’s manager guy however moving Verdugo would be crazy as Verdugo is faster and has one of the best arms in baseball.

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