Los Angeles Dodgers 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the NL West?

The Dodgers have won more games than any other team since the start of the 2015 season. Their run of dominance over the NL West is at seven years and counting (one of the longest in the division era). They have won two National League pennants in that time. Their players have won two of the past six NL MVPs (Clayton Kershaw in 2014 and Cody Bellinger in 2019), two of the past seven NL Cy Young Awards (Kershaw in 2013 and 2014) and two of the past four NL Rookie of the Year awards (Corey Seager in 2016 and Bellinger in 2017).

 

But it hasn’t been enough. The longest title drought in franchise history is now entering its 32nd year, and the pressure to put an end to it has only increased after their first-round exit from last year’s postseason. Even after that shocking failure on the heels of a franchise-record 106-win regular season, the Dodgers enter the 2020 season as the by far best team in the National League and once again a contender to win it all.

 

The depth on their roster and one of the most productive minor league systems in baseball have long made the Dodgers elite. But the team made another big trade ⁠— perhaps baseball's most impactful one in decades ⁠— by landing 2017 AL MVP Mookie Betts to improve an already stacked lineup. Not only that, but they landed five-time All-Star and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price and got the Red Sox to pay for half of his contract.

 

As the magic of 1988 fades further into history, though, anything less than a successful championship run in October will be considered yet another flashy failure. And this team has the highest expectations yet.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers logo“They have everything, which puts them in such a great position because they never have to trade their high-upside prospects, and they just keep coming. Look at Will Smith; I’ve seen him since A-ball and he’s the real deal offensively and behind the plate. He’s got a chance to be an upper-tier catcher in the game. Cody Bellinger can do anything in the field, on the bases or at the plate; Justin Turner’s an offensive artist; Max Muncy always takes good at-bats; and you never know when Joc Pederson will crush one 500 feet. Walker Buehler is one of the top 10 or 12 pitchers in the game, and if Clayton Kershaw’s fallen out of that category, he’s still pretty close. His fastball and slider have gotten closer in velocity, and I think he should go to the curveball more. The one I worry about is Kenley Jansen, and you know they do, too, because they passed over him with the NLDS on the line. A lot of nights he’s throwing 89-91, and he’s not very good unless he’s throwing harder than that and making that cutter more dynamic.”[Note: This scouting report was submitted before trading for Mookie Betts and David Price in early February.]

 

Beyond the Box Score

 

Face Lift With the 2020 All-Star Game set for Dodger Stadium, the park underwent $100 million in renovations over the winter. The project’s main feature will be the creation of a center field plaza with food and beverage areas, a children’s play area and a space for entertainment. The plaza is being billed as a new “front door” for fans.

 

2020 Athlon Sports Baseball PreviewWant more? Our new baseball magazine delivers full MLB team previews, fantasy insight, schedules, and predictions. Click to order your copy today or visit your local newsstand!
Stepping Aside After 14 seasons as the Dodgers’ pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt will move into a special assistant role in 2020. Mark Prior has moved from bullpen coach to replace Honeycutt. Since Honeycutt joined the major league staff in 2006, the Dodgers have led the National League in staff ERA five times and have the best ERA, WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio in the majors.

 

Mr. Clutch Veteran infielder David Freese announced his retirement following the 2019 season. Best known for his clutch performances during the St. Louis Cardinals’ run to the 2011 World Series title, Freese spent 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Cardinals, Angels, Pirates and Dodgers. He was a better hitter during the postseason (.299/.370/.549 in 69 games) than regular season (.277/.351/.423) and still holds the record for total bases in one postseason (50 in 2011).

 

Walk It Off Rook The Dodgers got contributions from rookies throughout the 2019 season. But those rookies took it to a historic level during a late June series against the Colorado Rockies. On Friday, June 21, rookie outfielder Matt Beaty hit a walk-off two-run home run. The next night, rookie Alex Verdugo hit a solo home run in the 11th inning for a second consecutive walk-off win. And finally on Sunday, rookie catcher Will Smith came in as a pinch-hitter and hit a three-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning. According to Elias Sports, no MLB team had ever gotten walk-off home runs from rookies in consecutive games before the Dodgers got three in a row during what came to be known among L.A. fans as “Rookie Walk-off Weekend.”

 

Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

RF     Mookie Betts (R)

1B     Max Muncy (L)

3B     Justin Turner (R)

CF     Cody Bellinger (L)

LF     A.J. Pollock (R)

SS      Corey Seager (L)

C       Will Smith (R)

2B     Gavin Lux (L)

 

BENCH

OF     Joc Pederson (L)

C      Austin Barnes (R)

UT    Chris Taylor (R)

UT    Enrique Hernandez (R)

OF    Matt Beaty (L)

 

ROTATION

RHP     Walker Buehler

LHP     Clayton Kershaw

LHP     David Price

LHP     Julio Urias

LHP     Alex Wood

 

BULLPEN

RHP     Kenley Jansen (C)

LHP     Pedro Baez
RHP     Joe Kelly

RHP     Blake Treinen

LHP     Scott Alexander

LHP     Adam Kolarek

RHP     Ross Stripling

RHP     Dustin May

 

2020 Prediction: 1st in NL West

Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: