Dodgers 25-Man Roster: Ranking the Primary Players by WAR


With the 2019 MLB trade deadline right around the six-week mark, I was recently looking at a few numbers while attempting to get an idea where the conceivable weaknesses lied on the Dodgers‘ roster. Unquestionably, the Los Angeles management crew will make every attempt possible to upgrade an extremely vulnerable bullpen, but the question lingers as to whether or not the team might try to upgrade an otherwise capable offense.

Ultimately, WAR is one of the best tools to measure a players’ overall production. It’s not just based on offense, but also takes into consideration how a player plays defensively.

For all intents and purposes, WAR calculates a player’s value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he’s worth than a replacement-level player at his same position.

The interesting thing about the Dodgers is that the team consists of a very solid group, but there aren’t an overwhelming number of standouts as far as elite-level players go. it’s the exact premise that many have been saying for years—the team is very, very deep; yet, the depth consists of a whole bunch of mediocre or average players.

Using the fWAR formula (the Fangraphs version), here’s how the key players on the team stack up as far as Wins Above Replacement go:

Cody Bellinger leads the team with a 4.9 WAR. While he’s no longer on a pace to hit .400, his numbers are still monstrous. Entering Saturday’s game, Bellinger is hitting .360 with 22 homers and 57 RBI. More importantly, his .453 OBP is monumental, as a big part of his on-base success is the fact that he has garnered more walks (43) than the number of times he has struck out this year (just 41).

Next in line among the position players is Max Muncy with a 2.6 WAR. He’s following up his 2018 campaign nicely, and depending on his second-half production, may even exceed the fantastic numbers he put up last year.

Consequently, Corey Seager is third on the team with a 2.2 WAR, but here’s where it gets very interesting. Bellinger, Muncy and Seager are the only position players on the team with WARs over 2.0. Chances are pretty good that Seager will come back strong sometime in August—but we ask again—will the Dodgers pursue some type of potent offensive upgrade before the trade deadline?

Just to give you a reference point as to where these three players rank in reference to the entire MLB (in the Fangraphs version), Bellinger is first, Muncy is 25th and Seager is 52nd.

Following the list downward, we have all the position players between a 2.0 and a 1.0 WAR. Here we see Joc Pederson (1.8), Justin Turner (1.6), Alex Verdugo (1.4) and David Freese (1.4).

Continuing along the leaderboard are the catchers. Coincidentally, both Austin Barnes and Russell Martin each have a 0.7 WAR.

We still haven’t mentioned Enrique Hernandez or Chris Taylor, both of the club’s proclaimed super-utility men. Hernandez’s WAR is just 0.4, while Taylor is sitting at 0.1. In terms of wOBA (probably one of the best stats to measure a hitter’s overall offensive value), Hernadez is at a .281 mark while Taylor is at .279. For another reference point, Bellinger is at .463 and Muncy is at .381. Even Martin is at .333.

From a traditional perspective, Hernandez is slashing .210/.279/374 with 10 home runs over 244 PA, while Taylor is hitting .215/.281/.381 with five long balls over 201 PA.

As far as the starting rotation goes (obviously pitching is measured differently with runs allowed an innings being the main factors), Hyun-Jin Ryu leads the way at 2.7, followed by Walker Buehler at 1.9, Clayton Kershaw at 1.5, Kenta Maeda at 0.9 and Rich Hill, who joined the rotation much later than the other four, at 0.7.

For points of reference, Ryu has the 15th best overall WAR in the MLB and sixth-best among all pitchers. Relating to a team standpoint, Max Scherzer (3.8), Stephen Strasburg (2.9), Patrick Corbin (1.5) and Anibal Sanchez (0.7) have one of the better groups in the National League.

Obviously, there are many, many other numbers that the management crew of the Dodgers will consider when evaluating the club’s weaknesses, but this little exercise in WAR shows us that while Los Angeles is an extremely solid club, there aren’t as many superstars as fans may perceive.

Whether or not the lack of elite-level talent will again make a difference during the 2019 postseason remains to be seen.


20 thoughts on “Dodgers 25-Man Roster: Ranking the Primary Players by WAR

  1. Interesting, thought provoking post Dennis.

    I just spent a few minutes perusing defensive stats and found something I thought was worth noting. I’m a firm believer in “up the middle” defense, so I was checking our rankings at all 4 of those positions. For the most part we are ok, basically middle of the pack statistically. But the most interesting thing to me was looking at the “total chances” of these positions. At SS we rank 24th, at 2B we rank 25th, in center field we rank 29th. It would appear our staff is keeping the ball out of the middle, which I find odd. As a former coach, the strategy was to try to get them to hit the ball away from the lines, toward the larger area of the park, and have your best fielders up the middle to make the plays. Our strength appears to be in right field and at third base. Only Bellinger is outstanding but they’re all pretty good.


  2. Great article Dennis! Just to clarify I believe that a war of 1 to 2 is considered league average have I got that right?


  3. How does our bullpen rank in all of this? Don’t look now but it looks like Kenley is back on track! We are one Brad Hand signing away from winning a WS. Come on AF, make it happen!


    1. They cannot sign Hand, they have to trade for him. Only free agents can be signed. That being said, they need to see if they can pry him away from the Tribe. Cody Allen DFA’ d by the Angels. Would be an interesting arm to add if he would go to AAA to work on his kinks.


  4. Some take-aways regarding the WAR numbers, keeping in mind that WAR is cumulative (figured like home run totals and not like batting average). Bellinger on pace to be 5 times as valuable as the average player. Freese in half as many at bats as JT has almost the same WAR total. Muncy (whom many of us thought would regress this year) is on pace to be about 2.5 times as valuable as the average player. The only real weaknesses seem to be Kike and CT3 and hopefully they’ll get back on track. They’ve both shown they can be better than this. I’ve been very happy to see that although we’ve fallen behind in both games to a very good Cubs team we have come from behind to win both games. Now it’s up to AF to get the last couple of pieces in place before the playoffs.


    1. The pieces needed now may not be what is needed then. With a suspect pen, and slow starts from Turner and Taynandez we’ve built a double digit lead. It’s mid June so a long way to go, but with over 40% of the year played we have an idea how good this team is.

      The average WAR doesn’t really tell the whole story as it is position dependent. Right now the top 5, overall and defensively, all play in the same spots – CF, RF, and SS. Those positions up the average.


  5. We really may be just a good lefty 8th inning reliever from ending the championship drought. I feel better about this team than many more talented ones in the past. This team just seems to keep grinding out wins never having long stretches of bad play. I guess that comes from such great depth and time playing together as the core of this team has been together now for a few years. We don’t need more bats or big time starting pitchers, Andy just has to get a truly reliable arm other than Kenley. Two would be great but one will do if they are good. This is a squad overdue and I really think we can take anything the Astros or Yankees will be able to throw at us in October.


    1. Yankees got a little better. Encarnacion is a solid power bat. They get both Judge and Stanton back, and look out world. They are a pretty good power hitting team as it is, but they will be better. They get an arm or two for their rotation and they will be very dangerous to anyone they play.


  6. Alex Verdugo, you know, the guy who doesn’t have a whole lot of power, hit a 459 foot homer tonight. It was the second longest at Dodger Stadium in the Statcast era (since 2015). The only longer one was a Stanton homer that left the stadium entirely.


  7. That sucked.

    Bullpen. But the closer won’t change. We live with that imperfection. The way I look at this one is 1. Buehler deserved better and 2. deserve’s got nothing to do with it. You only score one do you deserve to win?


  8. Right now we have 5 automatic outs in the lineup. Kiki, Taylor, Barnes , Joc and the pitcher. Tough to win with that group. Is anybody in baseball more streaky than Joc. It’s maddening!


    1. Kiké gets picked costing a run, Turner, Bellinger and Beaty were 0 for 11 with 7 strikeouts. And yet we were still in a position to win it with our $80 million closer on the mound. All. Nothing. That one was a team gag. On to the next one.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Heading back home today. Still puking over the choke job Jansen did last night. No apologizing for that. Tired of Kike and tired of Taylor. Like their gloves, hate their bats. Glad Seager’s injury is not as bad as was first thought. The sooner he is back, the sooner we no longer have to see the Kike-Taylor circus act.


  10. Lakers go big. Now it’s AF’s turn! Hand or Smith and also Greene. Merrifield anyone. This is the year AF. Put on your big boy pants and go big or go home!


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