For those fans of the Dodgers who are huge on projections and predictions, you’ll be happy to know that Dan Szymborski—for the ninth year—released his 2021 ZiPS projections last week. While a full outline of the projections can be seen in detail on Fangraphs, I felt it was worth a few minutes to make note of several highlights.
Unquestionably, I think the biggest surprise was the numbers associated with infielder Gavin Lux. After barely having any traction to the team’s active roster in 2020, Szymborski has Lux having a breakout season in 2021, tallying 23 doubles, seven triples, a whopping 24 homers, and 89 RBI over 556 plate appearances, albeit alongside a mere .249/.311/.464 slash line.
Lux’s projected 556 PA are 21 more than Max Muncy’s, who is predicted to rack up 29 homers and 99 RBI while hitting .242.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is the prospective emergence of Edwin Rios. ZiPS has Rios blasting 24 homers next season, as he’s conceivably one of the favorites to see the bulk of the time at third base. Right behind Rios’ 24 HRs are 23 from catcher Will Smith and 22 from outfielder AJ Pollock.
In all, Szymborski has nine total players from the Dodgers hitting more than 20 bombs next season, including Joc Pederson, should he find a way to return to Los Angeles.
Betts’ personal-best fWAR came during his MVP 2018 season when he finished the year with a ridiculous 10.3 mark.
On the pitching front, one important note to make is that several other relievers are projected to fare better than closer Kenley Jansen, specifically Brusdar Graterol, who is projected to register a 3.35 ERA and a 3.55 FIP over 60 appearances and 53-2/3 innings of work.
The charts show Josiah Gray making his MLB debut in 2021, tallying 28 appearances and an even 125 innings pitched in the process.
Additionally, veteran lefty David Price is projected to make his Dodger debut, collecting 16 starts while putting up a 4.04 ERA and a 4.40 FIP over 89 innings.
Szymborski projects that Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw will remain the stalwarts of the starting rotation, making 27 and 26 starts, respectively. Buehler is predicted to post a 3.11 ERA with a whopping 11.3 K/9, while Kershaw is marked down for a 3.35 ERA and a 9.7 K/9.
The tables also show Dustin May tallying 28 starts and producing an 8.6 K/9.
Curiously, the numbers show Julio Urias making 45 appearances next year, 25 of them in relief.