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World Series Preview: The formidable Dodgers offense

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These guys are pretty scary.

League Championship - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The 2020 World Series matchup is set and it will be a battle of titans as the two teams with the best records in their respective leagues will meet up in the Fall Classic, set to kick off on Tuesday night.

The Tampa Bay Rays (40-20) will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17), a meeting of the No. 1 seeds.

How they got here

You know how the Rays got to this point, through their cunning and ability to find the diamonds in the rough. However, you may not know much about how the Dodgers reached this point.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of baseball’s richest teams, sporting a payroll near $200M on their active roster. However, was cobbled together using much more than money.

When former Rays General Manager Andrew Friedman fled the tank in 2014 and joined LA, he set about transforming the team from just a bottomless bank account and into a modern age baseball team. He has made sly deals, sneaky signings, and some excellent picks in the draft.

During the National League Championship Series, their roster consisted of 14 players whom they either drafted or signed on the international market, eight players through trade, and six via free agency. Of those players, only five weren’t with the team before the season with the key marquee acquisition being outfielder Mookie Betts, who Los Angeles acquired along with left-handed pitcher David Price* prior to the season.

* - David Price chose to opt of the season in July due to the pandemic

Over the course of the 60-game regular season, Betts quickly emerged as one of the team’s best players and finished the campaign with 3.0 fWAR, the third highest in all of baseball. The rest of the regulars on the team were well above average offensively with seven players that had a minimum of 200 plate appearances, each finishing the season with a wRC+ that ranged from 114 to 163.

The best season offensively came from behind the plate, as Will Smith clobbered the ball over his 137 trips to the plate; overall he hit .289/.401/.579 with eight homeruns.

The Dodgers led all of baseball in homeruns (118), and had five players reach double digits. To put that in perspective, the Rays had only one player with a double digit homerun total (Brandon Lowe, 14).

Dodgers Offensive Leaders (min. 100 PA)

  • AVG - .307 (Justin Turner and Corey Seager)
  • OBP - .401 (Will Smith)
  • SLG - .585 (Corey Seager)
  • EV - 93.2 (Corey Seager)
  • HR - 16 (Mookie Betts and A.J. Pollock)
  • fWAR - 3.0 (Mookie Betts)

Dodgers Defensive Dynamic

  • C - Will Smith, -2 DRS
  • 1B - Max Muncy, -2 DRS
  • 2B - Ernique Hernandez, 8 DRS
  • 3B - Justin Turner, -1 DRS
  • SS - Corey Seager, -2 DRS
  • LF - A.J. Pollock, -5 DRS
  • CF - Cody Bellinger, 5 DRS
  • RF - Mookie Betts, 11 DRS

Common lineups

The Dodgers employ the same RLRL style preferred by Tampa Bay, but differ from the Rays in that they will use the approach against either handedness for the top of the order. It’s only against Southpaws that a platoon comes into play.

Against RHP

  1. Mookie Betts, RF
  2. Corey Seager, SS
  3. Justin Turner, 3B
  4. Max Muncy, 1B
  5. Will Smith, C
  6. Cody Bellinger, CF
  7. A.J. Pollock, LF
  8. Joc Pederson, DH
  9. Gavin Lux, 2B

Against LHP

  1. Mookie Betts, RF
  2. Corey Seager, SS
  3. Justin Turner, 3B
  4. Max Muncy, 1B
  5. Will Smith, C
  6. Cody Bellinger, CF
  7. A.J. Pollock, DH
  8. Enrique Hernandez, 2B
  9. Chris Taylor, LF