The MLB trade deadline has come and gone, and teams have now settled their rosters in for the long haul as the race to October. On a deadline day that saw more All-Stars change teams than ever before (10 in total), the Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the teams who made the most of their assets. In an effort to repeat as World Series winners, LA brought in yet another Cy Young winner in Max Scherzer, as well as Danny Duffy and Trea Turner.
While Scherzer may be the more household name, Turner could end up being the bigger addition, adding yet another deadly bat to an already loaded Dodgers offense. He’s also completely captured the Twitterverse with his sliding technique.
Turner is currently batting a .322 average, as well as a .370 OBP. That’s good enough to make him one of the best bats in baseball at the moment.
Turner joins an already loaded Dodgers lineup that includes AJ Pollock (.309 Batting AVG), Justin Turner (.289), Chris Taylor (.285), Mookie Betts (.277), Cory Seager (.276), and Max Muncy (.274). Add all of that together with future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols as a pinch hitter, and the Dodgers have a murderer’s row of offensive weapons in their lineup. Even catcher Will Smith is batting a .261.
So with three former league MVPs on offense, five players hitting above .275 (and a sixth hovering right on it), a top 10 catcher, and Albert Pujols as a pinch hitter, do the Dodgers have a lineup that you could begin to call the best offensive lineup of all time?
Not quite. Amazingly, the Dodgers don’t even have the best offense in baseball right now. That title goes to the Houston Astros, who currently boast six players of their own hitting above .270, and have not one but two players currently hitting above .320 – Michael Brantley (.332) and Yuli Guerriel (.324). As a result, the Astros lead the league this season in runs scored with 614, though the Dodgers are right behind them with 596.
While the Dodgers may not lead the league in offense, the addition of Max Scherzer makes their pitching corps even more deadly, and that already is the league’s best at the moment, allowing only 414 runs, compared to the Astros 456.
This combination of incredible batting and league leading pitching together is why they sit as favorites at +155 to win the NL Pennant, and +315 to win the World Series (odds via Circa). They are currently four games back from the Giants in the NL West, but almost everyone simply seems to be waiting for the floor to fall out from underneath San Francisco, who began the season in the neighborhood of 100/1 to win the World Series, and were certainly not expected to be the best team in baseball all the way into August.
So has this deadly tandem made the Dodgers a good team to bet on a game-to-game basis this season? It has not. A $100 bet on every Dodger game this season would currently have you sitting down $755.
They still look like a team that can win a World Series this season – they are tied for the second-best record in baseball, and the defending champs after all – the offense is still incredibly good, and combined with the best pitching in baseball right now. But to exalt the current lineup as one of the best of all time, would be a check that at their current level, this star-studded lineup can’t quite cash.
– Thomas Viola