The 2019 Dodgers are in the conversation for the best team in franchise history and for good reason. If you take a quick glance at the club’s performance not just over the course of this season, but in the third quarter of 2019, you have seen just how special this team is and figures to be heading into October baseball.
Now that we are exactly three-quarters of the way through the 2019 season, let’s give some grades out to all the areas of the club.
When a team gets production from guys like journeyman Kristopher Negrón, non top-30 prospect Matt Beaty, and gets as much production from its rookies as it does, you know the team is special. While the club has seen somewhat of an offensive downturn in recent weeks, they still have that magic. They pace the National League with a 111 wRC+, 207 home runs, and a .339 wOBA. Just taking a look at Tuesday night’s 15-1 rout of the Marlins is a good place to start if you want to know how this quarter has gone collectively. The Dodgers are second only to the Cincinnati Reds in wRC+ (113), wOBA (.343), and OPS (.824). Pretty solid.
This is where we find history. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw have been the best starting pitching trio in baseball this season and don’t let anyone tell you different. Since the All-Star Break, the Dodgers have the best ERA (3.00) in the National League from their starting rotation. In this quarter, Hyun-Jin Ryu has a 0.53 ERA, Walker Buehler’s sits at 1.89, Clayton Kershaw checks in at 1.42 (after Wednesday’s electric outing), and Dustin May has chipped in a 2.65 ERA in his three starts. Wow — some gaudy numbers to say the least.
Now…the bullpen. Not the prettiest of sights. We all know Kenley Jansen is struggling, we know Yimi Garcia doesn’t look great, and we know the Dylan Floro and Caleb Ferguson types aren’t living up to their 2018 billing. However, bright spots Joe Kelly (yes, that Joe Kelly), Julio Urías, and Casey Sadler have softened the blow of struggles of other relievers on the roster this quarter. As of late, the Dodgers’ bullpen has been basically the same as it has been all season. In the third quarter, the ERA from the ‘pen is 4.08 and on the entire season, it is 4.06. That mark puts them 13th in the majors and 6th in the NL. If you take out two innings of stinkers from Jaime Schultz and Josh Sborz, the ERA drops all the way down to 3.58, which would be good for the seventh-best in the majors and fourth-best in the NL. That’s something to keep an eye on
The Dodgers have the best record in baseball so there is not much to complain about. Lineup construction, bullpen mismanagement, and poor performance are concepts that every team deals with. Tied with the New York Yankees at 81-41 for the best record in baseball, the Dodgers seem poised for another deep postseason run in 2019.