2018 Dodgers: NL Champs' Depth a Strength That Will Be Tested

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 12:51 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018 12:51 PM UTC

Will the loss of Justin Turner for a while to a broken wrist cost the Los Angeles Dodgers the NL West in 2018? Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop finds that to be highly unlikely as he inspects their roster.

We will be breaking down each division team-by-team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today, we will take a look at the Los Angeles Dodgers out of the NL West. The Dodgers were one of my strongest Over calls last year even with a 93.5-win total, and they blew by it while leading the MLB with 104 victories. This year the bar is set even higher, with a 96.5 win futures total set at books such as Bovada.

Pitching Staff

The Dodgers got 18 of their wins from Clayton Kershaw last year in an injury-shortened season where he missed 6 starts. None of the projection models have him missing time at all in 2018, but I find that very optimistic. Still, Kershaw will be the most valuable pitcher in baseball while he is on the mound. The Dodgers' rotation is also incredibly deep past the first 4 starters, as their veterans' time in service has allowed multiple top prospects to come up the ranks, such as Brock Stewart and Wilmer Font. The Dodgers hope these two can repeat an Alex Wood performance, who filled in admirably for Rich Hill after he was injured in 2017. Anchoring the bullpen is the best closer in baseball, Kenley Jansen, who has put up two sub-1.50 FIP seasons in a row.

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Another crazy thing for Puig. Tagging up with two outs. Thanks coach 👍🏼😆🤦🏽‍♂️😛😝😜🤪🤪🤪#Dodgers #la #win #baseball #mlb pic.twitter.com/S93W4Av5xs

— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) March 21, 2018


The Dodgers were dealt a bit of a blow when third baseman Justin Turner broke his wrist in spring training, and their offense will miss the 5.5 WAR that he put up in 2016 and 2017. He's expected to miss at least 4-6 weeks but won't need surgery. Just like the pitching staff, the Dodgers have a good bench, and Logan Forsythe will be asked to pick up the slack at the hot corner. That will leave second base open to a platoon with veteran Chase Utley and youngster Enrique Hernandez, the latter who absolutely crushes lefties. The outfield for the Dodgers looks set with Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig. Taylor has made huge strides forward, while Puig will look to rebound back to his 5.4 WAR form in 2013.

Wild Cards and Betting Trends

With the huge number that the Dodgers will be facing in 2018, they will have a significant risk in regards to injuries. They could win their division easily with a 94-win season and still come under their 96.5 win total. Their pitching staff has 4 starters projected to miss some time and put in under 150 innings pitched, so the experts are saying that the 6th man in the rotation and beyond will be thrown in the mix. The next-best team in the NL West is projected to finish more than 10 games back though, so it looks like the division is the Dodgers' to lose.

Current Win Total: 96.5Best Line Offered: Bovada
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