The Houston Astros have overtaken the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot in this week’s power rankings.
After a fantastic deadline for the Astros that saw them acquire the infamous Zack Greinke along with starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez, reliever Joe Biagini, and catcher Martin Maldonado, they may have the right to claim the title as baseball’s most feared team. For now.
— MNFriedlander (@MNFriedlander) August 3, 2019
When comparing the Astros to the Dodgers, they are fairly similar, with the Astros quite possibly holding a small edge.
The Dodgers currently hold the edge in starting pitching, topped by the three-headed monster of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw. Collectively, Dodgers’ starters have posted a 2.99 ERA, good for the best mark in the sport. The Astros hold the second best starter ERA in the American League at 3.68. That is a sizable difference.
Believe it or not the Dodgers have the third-best bullpen ERA in the National League at 4.11, but the Astros have the third-best bullpen ERA in the league at 3.79.
The offenses are a battle of the best in their respective leagues. The Astros hold an AL-leading 121 wRC+ as a team while the Dodgers hold a 111 wRC+ as a team to the pace the NL. Because the Astros bat a full nine hitters, that difference is expected. The Astros are currently receiving a 125 wRC+ from their designated hitters, expanding the separation. In comparison, the Dodgers, subjected to batting a pitcher, are getting a -2 wRC+ from them.
As much as you may believe the Dodgers have a bad defense, they don’t. The Dodgers pace the league in defensive runs saved with 101, while the Astros pace the American League with 73 DRS. Both marks are fantastic, but that’s a clear edge for the Dodgers. If you prefer to use Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), the Dodgers rank third in UZR/150 with a 5.9 mark while the Astros hold a subpar 0.3 UZR/150, good for 16th-best in the league.
The Astros and Dodgers are splitting hairs in every facet of the game it seems. Both teams, along with the New York Yankees, remain the class teams of the sport and all have great odds to make it to the Fall Classic.