For some baseball fans, the concept of a record-breaking season seems unfulfilling unless it’s accompanied by a World Championship, especially if they’re fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s crazy to think that a season that begins with preparations in February and often lasting into November can be forgotten so easily if the team fails to bring home the top prize.
However, the 2022 Dodgers are a lot different, particularly when considering many of the obstacles they needed to overcome to reach this point. Skipper Dave Roberts might not be the most strategic in-game technician at times, but he definitely has a diplomatic talent that keeps players motivated and resilient despite the many potential distractions in the clubhouse. Sure, these guys are professionals, but not many teams around the league would have handled some of the setbacks as well as this club.
The bottom line is that the 2022 Los Angeles Dodgers were designed for success with the league’s second-highest payroll, and all the dividends paid off brilliantly at the end of the regular season.
The whole Trevor Bauer saga feels like it occurred years ago. Regardless of your own personal thoughts on Bauer, the way the team handled the daily exposure and balanced out the starting rotation was admirable. Credit also goes to the front office and management team for taking an effective PR approach when dealing with the national media.
Although Bauer continues to fight his case(s) in court, most of the baseball world seems to have him tuned out at this point. It’s still hard to predict exactly what will happen for the righty next year, but it’s safe to say that his ongoing public shenanigans will not affect the performance of his Los Angeles teammates in the 2022 postseason.
When Walker Buehler took the bump on Opening Day for the Dodgers this year, the general consensus that the changing of the team’s starting pitching ace became official. However, Buehler fell victim to injury just 12 starts into the year, seemingly creating another chink in the starting rotation’s armor. It started out as a potential eight-week stay on the injured list with a right flexor strain, eventually necessitating season-ending UCL surgery.
At the time of the injury, Andrew Heaney was still on the shelf, so the Dodgers dug deep into their resources and awarded Michael Grove his first-career major league start. The team would go on to deal with multiple other injuries to players like veteran ace Clayton Kershaw and Tony Gonsolin, but the starting pitchers remained resilient enough to lead the entire league in combined ERA for nearly the whole season.
And to think that Tyler Anderson wasn’t even a part of the Opening Day rotation…
Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy
Although Max Muncy made a dramatic recovery from a season-low .130 batting average on May 3, his current .200 mark at the Mendoza Line may appear disappointing to outsiders who didn’t follow along with his season’s progress. Thanks to Muncy’s talent of drawing walks, his season OPS is a little more respectable at .723, light years ahead of his lefty-hitting teammate Cody Bellinger’s OPS mark of .642.
We could probably sit here for hours and guess what would have happened if both of these players produced according to their potential, but their respective slumps probably opened the door for a few emerging players like Gavin Lux and Trayce Thompson.
Each year, it seems like there are dozens of obstacles the Dodgers overcome with their incredible organizational depth, but this year just stands out as something extra-special.