The Dodgers and Diamondbacks boast some of the best defenses in all of baseball. While the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are neck and neck in terms of defensive output, it could really go either way. The Diamondbacks being ranked in front of the Dodgers is misleading and it is only because they are in the same division.
In a recent column by MLB.com, AJ Cassavell ranked the top middle infield duos in the National League West division, ranking the Dodgers second.
For example, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks were the only teams in baseball to have accumulated over 100 defensive runs saved (DRS) in 2019 at 136 and 117, respectively.
Can we please just get these guys on the field already and be done with winter? pic.twitter.com/6Yn051wn3W
— Clint Pasillas (FRG) (@realFRG) January 21, 2020
The Dodgers’ 2020 infield consists of four players who are so-so defensively but are all above league average. Max Muncy has made some significant strides defensively. Gavin Lux has had the case of the yips in the past, but does have some solid glove work over at second base. Corey Seager is one of the most statistically overrated defenders in the league, but still can get it done. Even Justin Turner has declined but is still solid. Add that in with Kiké Hernandez’s excellent versatility, Cody Bellinger getting some time at first base, and Chris Taylor’s output and you have a very solid infield defense.
Here’s what Cassavell had to say about the LA infield defense.
Corey Seager is the anchor at shortstop, coming off his third season with 4-plus WAR. At second, Gavin Lux is MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 overall prospect, and he’s already a Rookie of the Year favorite. Max Muncy, with back-to-back 35-homer seasons, often slides to second, too. The bench includes veterans Enrique Hernández and Chris Taylor, both postseason heroes, while Minor Leaguer Zach McKinstry will fight for a job.
In terms of infield-only defense, the Diamondbacks had a total of 24 DRS from their infield (19 coming from their shortstop, Nick Ahmed) and the Dodgers had -1 DRS. Overall, Joc Pederson’s short time spent at first base last summer did not help things.
The Dodgers’ best defensive players are their outfielders, so the ranking makes sense. However, it is safe to assume that the Dodgers defense will improve in 2020.