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Dodgers Ranked Behind Diamondbacks for Best Infield Defense in NL West

The Dodgers and D’Backs are elite defensively.

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 13: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning in Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 13, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

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.

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.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

8 Comments

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  1. Given that 4 of the 10 worst teams in baseball are the NL west why are you surprised? Not even news. How do thet rate against real teams?

    • MLB has the Dbacks at 11th in the rankings currently. CBS sportsline had the Dbacks in 15th and SF in 17th at the end of last year. Dbacks had a plus 70 run differential with only the Cubs the only team not to make the postseason with better. While the Dodgers are the class of the NLW, the Dbacks are not a bottom ten team in any way shape or form.

  2. I think it makes sense thought that Diamondbacks are ranked higher when comparing in field defense. If Ketel Marte was moved back to second, I would argue it is in the top 10… But the Dodgers have some of the best outfielders of all time. Heck, one of the Diamondbacks OF is a Dodger who didn’t fit on their roster.

    At the end of the day however, the motto “Earning runs is the best defense” is clearly a big factor in the Dodger’s success. All those players can earn runs to such an extent that they could play average and still rank first in the NL West.

  3. It may be a little difficult to rank Dodger infield defense any higher than it is because of the fact that the infielders are not necessarily in there every day. With moving and shuffling players around, especially against a LHP, that IMHO kind of affects the over all defense.

    • You said what I was going to say Paul. May I add, there’s a metric for everything else so shouldn’t there be a amount of pitches one has to play at his set position before he can even be classified as a real holder of that position? And if there is a typical ground ball sinker ball pitcher with a overall spin rate of precisely 159 revelations before it strikes the bat, that should be a main factor of the defensive metric as well, not to mention the 3 rd basemen playing 2 nd and the shortstop playing center field during the shifts that take place! I mean doesn’t the square root of 33 decipher how Friedman and Roberts calculate when and what lineups match up with the formula? Well Dan?

  4. Paul, I commented to you but Dan erased it! I wonder if the 1 st amendment applies to this site?

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