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.
That’s not mentioning the resiliency of the bullpen when compensating for a lengthy injury to Blake Treinen and a season-ending injury to ironman Daniel Hudson.
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.
5 thoughts on “More Thoughts on Dodgers’ Record-Breaking 2022 Season”
I’ve been high on Lux all along and if not for his season being interrupted by the neck injury he may have hit .300 with an .800+ OPS. Trayvon has had some big hits and played good D but he is another high K rate guy. I would like to see them trend away from the 30-40% strikeout guys in the future.
I read an article today that was talking about Kim Ng and the Marlins. It said she was going after bat to ball guys this winter plus speed and defense. Old school! Now she has enough say so in the front office that she can do things the way she wants, instead of having Jeter and friends looking over her shoulder. It should be interesting to see what she does on a fairly limited budget, but with lots of possible pitching to use in trades.
Tampa Bay gets in every year with a sub-100 million payroll, it seems. Cleveland made it this year with a payroll less than $70 million.
That extra $150/200 million doesn’t really buy you much except a few extra wins during the season and the same broken hearts at the end of the season.
The valuable guys in the playoffs are ones that can make contact. Speed and defense are appreciated also. Elite pitching against the same means generating runs can be the difference in winning a series.