Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger Fall From Previous Year But Among 6 Dodgers Ranked In ESPN Top 100 MLB Players List For 2019 Season
Wally Skalig-Los Angeles Times

Six members of the Los Angeles Dodgers made ESPN’s list of the top 100 Major League Baseball players for the 2019 season. However, several Dodgers ranked significantly lower than their spots on ESPN’s 2018 list.

Clayton Kershaw was the most notable case, dropping from No. 2 in 2018 to No. 41 for this season, after dealing with arm and back injuries last year. Kershaw remained the highest-ranking Dodger on the list, though only by one spot.

Walker Buehler placed right behind him at No. 42, marking the young right-hander’s first appearance on the top 100. The inclusion is hardly a surprise given Buehler’s stellar rookie season that carried over into postseason dominance.

Corey Seager made a steep drop of his own, falling from No. 20 in last year’s rankings to No. 49 in 2019. Though, Seager’s fall is understandable as he was forced to undergo Tommy John Surgery in May 2018 and missed the rest of the season.

Justin Turner checked in at No. 53 after landing at No. 50 last season. Turner started the 2018 campaign on the disabled list after breaking his wrist in Spring Training, and struggled through lingering effects of the injury for much of the season’s first half.

However, Turner’s monster second half helped power the Dodgers to a sixth straight National League West title, and he remains one of the most dangerous and dependable bats in the lineup.

The last two Dodgers to make ESPN’s list fell from their 2018 spots mainly due to regression rather than injury trouble.

Kenley Jansen suffered one of the biggest ranking drops of any player on both lists, falling 32 spots from No. 28 to No. 60. Jansen’s 3.01 ERA and 4.03 FIP last season were both the highest of his nine-year career, though he did make his third straight All-Star team.

Additionally, the 13 home runs Jansen allowed more than doubled the total he had given up in any previous full season. Jansen lost weight and ramped up his Spring Training workload in preparation for this season, publicly determined to avoid a repeat of his 2018.

Cody Bellinger’s 38-spot drop from 23rd to 61st between the two lists surpasses even that of Jansen. Bellinger, the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year, endured an inconsistent sophomore season.

Bellinger’s on-base plus slugging percentage fell by over 100 points in 2018, going from a superb .933 in 2017 to a still-solid .817 last year. Bellinger recorded the same 4.2 wins above replacement as he did in 2017.

He played in all 162 games in 2018 spent the majority of the season in center field, where his defense proved much more valuable than at first base.

Kershaw, Seager, Jansen and Bellinger represented four of the seven biggest drops from 2018 across all 100 players on ESPN’s list.

Even with that, only three MLB teams had more players ranked than the Dodgers did. The New York Yankees got the most of any team with nine, while the Red Sox and Houston Astros tied for second with seven players each.

The Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals and New York Mets also had six players each make the rankings.