Which Dodgers Made The Shredder Rankings For 2022 Season?

The Los Angeles Dodgers were heavily represented on the MLB Top-10 Right Now lists for the 2022 season that is produced by MLB Network. Since its inception in 2014, MLB Network’s The Shredder has compiled rankings at each position entering the new season.

For the 2022 campaign, The Shredder focused on a three-year sample, with the 2021 season weighing more heavily for its latest list. It factored in notable statistics such as WAR, wRC+, ERA+, and FIP, in addition to Statcast metrics.

Defense was weighed more heavily at premium defensive positions, such as shortstop, catcher and center field, in comparison to others.

Starting Pitcher: Walker Buehler, No. 4

Walker Buehler was ranked by The Shredder as the No. 4 starting pitcher in baseball, marking the third consecutive season he has been on the list.

Ranked ahead of Buehler are a trio of New York starters, Mets ace Jacob deGrom (No. 1), the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole (No. 2), and former Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer (No. 3).

Buehler’s rankings among pitchers with at least 120 innings last season: first in RA9-WAR (7.4), second in innings (207.2), fifth in ERA+ (165) and opponents’ batting average (.199), tied for sixth in opponent on-base plus slugging percentage (.586), and tied for seventh in xwOBA (.272).

Other Dodgers starters, Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw, were mentioned in the “just missed” group for The Shredder.

Relief Pitcher: Craig Kimbrel, No. 8

The Dodgers have one of the most dynamic bullpens in all of baseball and features pitchers with electric stuff, which now includes Craig Kimbrel after their trade with the Chicago White Sox, along with Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson.

Kimbrel was ranked No. 8 by the Shredder while Treinen was among those who “just missed” making the list.

Kimbrel had some of the best pure stuff in baseball with fastball velocity that was still in the 90th percentile of pitchers and curveball and fastball spin rates that were also both above league average.

The eight-time All-Star posted a near 60% swing and miss rate on his curveball, which led to him being ranked in the top percentile of whiff%, the 99th percentile of K% and the 81st percentile of chase rate.

The 33-year-old was also at the top of the league last season in expected metrics for ERA (2.32), batting average (.158), slugging percentage (.268) and wOBA (.230).

Catcher: Will Smith, No. 3

After being snubbed from the All-Star Game last season, Will Smith was ranked No. 3 by the Shredder heading into 2022. He was also ranked No. 1 by MLB Network’s analysts Mike Petriello and Vince Gennaro.

Among catchers with at least 600 plate appearances since 2019, Smith ranks first in wRC+ (135) and wOBA (.373), second in on-base percentage (.365), third in slugging percentage (.527) and FanGraphs’ WAR (7.5), fourth in xwOBA (.361), sixth in home runs (48) and seventh in batting average (.262).

Smith hit .258/.365/.495 over 130 games last season, posting career highs in doubles (19), triples (two), home runs (25) and RBI (76). On the defensive side, Smith threw out 25% of would-be base stealers and committed just six errors in 1,004.2 innings behind the plate. He additionally ranked in the 66th percentile in pitch framing.

First base: Freddie Freeman, No. 1; Max Muncy, No. 4

The Dodgers find themselves with two of the top-five first basemen in baseball with Freddie Freeman (No. 1) and Max Muncy (No. 4).

Muncy is now expected to play second base, but the ranks were released prior to the Freeman signing.

Freeman hit .300/.393/.503 with 25 doubles, 31 home runs and 83 RBI in 159 games, and should have an opportunity to improve his numbers going forward in the Dodgers lineup.

In 144 games last year, Muncy batted .249/.368/.527 with career-highs 22 doubles and 36 home runs. Muncy also posted his lowest strikeout rate and best hard hit percentage of his career at 46.3%.

Among first basemen with at least 400 plate appearances last year he tied for second in defensive runs saved (six), tied for third in xwOBA (.406), tied for fourth in home runs (36), and ranked fourth in wRC+ (140) and WAR (4.9).

Second base: Chris Taylor, No. 10

Although it remains to be seen how much infield Chris Taylor will play this season, he was still ranked by The Shredder as the No. 10 second baseman in baseball.

Last season Taylor hit .254/.344/.438 with 20 home runs, a 113 wRC+ and 3.1 WAR. His overall line was a step back from the 2020, but through the first 102 games of the season Taylor had a career-high 139 wRC+ and he was named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.

After that, the star utilityman dealt with a nagging neck injury that he continued to play through. In his final 46 games, Taylor only posted a 46 wRC+. Once the playoffs came around, Taylor finally appeared to be healthy and hit .351/.419/.784/1.203 while appearing in 11 of the Dodgers’ 12 games.

Third base: Justin Turner, No. 4

Aging like fine wine, the 37-year-old Justin Turner was ranked as the No. 4 third baseman in MLB by the Shredder for the 2022 season.

Turner got off to a hot start last year for the Dodgers and slugged six home runs in April, which set a career high for the first month of a regular season. He finished the year batting .278/.361/.471 with 22 doubles, 27 home runs and 87 RBI over 151 games.

Among current third basemen with at least 400 plate appearances since 2020, Turner ranks third in on-base percentage (.370) and wRC+ (129), fifth in xwOBA (.368), seventh in slugging percentage (.469), and is tied for seventh in WAR (5.2).

Shortstop: Trea Turner, No. 2

The Dodgers lost Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers this offseason but replaced him with one of the best players in baseball in Trea Turner, who The Shredder ranked as the No. 2 shortstop.

In 148 games between the Washington Nationals and Dodgers, Turner hit a combined .328/.375/.536 with 34 doubles, three triples, 28 home runs, 77 RBI and 107 runs scored across 646 plate appearances.

Among current shortstops with at least 700 plate appearances since 2019, Turner’s 137 OPS+ is second behind only Fernando Tatis Jr. (160). Turner’s 135 wRC+ is also good for second during that same span (minimum 600 plate appearances).

Turner is tied for third among position players with 9.2 WAR over the past two seasons. His .330 batting average from 2020-21 is the highest in baseball (minimum 500 plate appearances), and Turner also had a .380 on-base percentage, .551 slugging percentage and 147 wRC+ during that stretch.

Center field: Cody Bellinger, No. 8

Despite a career worst season, Cody Bellinger was still ranked as the No. 8 center fielder by The Shredder.

Last season, the 2019 National League MVP dealt with a fractured left fibula, hamstring trouble and non-displaced fracture in his left ribs. All of which contributed to Bellinger hitting just .165/.240/.302 over 95 games.

Bellinger did show some hope in October when he batted .353/.436/.471 with one double, one home run and seven RBI in 12 games as one of the Dodgers most productive postseason hitters.

In his career, the 26-year-old has batted .257/.346/.511 with 133 home runs, a 124 wRC+, .355 wOBA and 15.7 WAR in 601 games played.

Right field: Mookie Betts, No. 5

Like Bellinger, Mookie Betts also struggled with injuries throughout the season which affected his production, but nevertheless he was still ranked as the No. 5 right fielder by The Shredder.

Betts has been one of the best all-around right fielders in the game since being traded to the Dodgers in 2020. He posted an excellent 147 wRC+ in the shortened season while leading the Dodgers to a World Series title. In 2021, he still managed to hit 23 home runs and accrue 3.9 WAR in 122 games.

Since the 2019 season, Betts ranks 12th with a .378 on-base percentage among all players with at least 800 plate appearances. Betts also has accrued the most WAR of any player since 2018 at 25.7, topping Trout (21.5), Marcus Semien (20.3), Alex Bregman (20.1), Matt Chapman (19.9), and Trevor Story (19.9).

Dodgers unranked in left field

Left field was the only position the Dodgers do not have a player ranked after their trade of AJ Pollock for Kimbrel.

Pollock was ranked No. 8 coming off a productive season in which he batted .297/.355/.536 with 27 doubles, 21 home runs, 69 RBI and a career-best 137 wRC+ over 117 games, which were his most played since appearing in 157 during an All-Star campaign with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015.

On top of his contributions at the plate, Pollock additionally was among the Dodgers named a Gold Glove Award finalist. However, he ultimately lost out to Tyler O’Neill.

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