Los Angeles Dodgers: Reasons the team is poised to make noise

May 30, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal (9) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the third inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Dodgers are finally living up to the potential that we have all been waiting for.

After losing to the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 NLCS, Andrew Friedman (President of Baseball Operations) and his management made sure this Los Angeles Dodgers team entered the year with a “World Series or bust” type of attitude. It took time for the minor improvements to kick in, but the vision is turning into fruition.

Health is a concern because of players being sent into 10-day disabled lists like last year, but the Dodgers are a top 5 overall team in the MLB once again due to the organization’s strategy. That’s a great sign this early in the season.

According to Baseball Reference, the Dodgers are ranked #1 in the NL in pitching, and #8 in batting respectively. Here’s why:

This team has been crushing the ball lately, and the numbers certainly back it up. LA’s slugging percentage is .449 without pitcher totals, and the lineup is consistently hitting the ball throughout games played.

They’ve hit an astounding amount of doubles (108) and home runs (62) thus far. These attributes are the causes for scouting report nightmares towards opposing teams.

They have an uncanny ability to load the bases throughout innings easily, unlike others. LA is first in the NL for receiving walks (206), and second in overall on-base percentage (.342).

All these quantities are reasons why opposing pitchers are having a hard time dealing with the Dodgers. Those struggles are due to the batting rotation racking up an increased .774 OPS rating (On-base + Slugging Percentage).

The Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff is a juggernaut

The Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff is a juggernaut, and it’s already separating itself from the rest of its counterparts. The starting rotation and bullpen are looking solid, but it will take a few more weeks for them to completely find their rhythm.

Clayton Kershaw continues to show why he’s the best pitcher in baseball because he not only wins 75% of his starts but at the top MLB ranks in strikeouts (78), batters walked (10), WHIP (0.95) and ERA (2.37).

Kershaw’s brilliance is second to none, but the team relied upon his success too many times last year. That isn’t going to get it done, and Dave Roberts has finally witnessed others take strides in improving their game.

26-year-old starting pitcher Alex Wood is 6-0 so far, and the Dodgers are finally getting what wanted after a trade with the Braves. He’s second behind Kershaw in strikeouts, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep the momentum alive after coming off the DL.

Brandon McCarthy is healthy, and this is a great sign because he’s 5-1. He avoided rushing back early last year in order to improve mental toughness. Expect him to continue accumulating around 6 innings of great pitching a game.

Kenley Jansen is one of the best closers in baseball, but he and the starters alike aren’t being relied upon the most. Dave Roberts has made a conscious effort to relieve some of their duties by using the bullpen this year. Management made tweaks in the offseason, and it’s quickly become one of the best in the MLB.

One of the most important factors in making a run to the postseason and towards a World Series is making sure that there is enough depth in a lineup.  The Dodgers have one the most lethal rosters in baseball because it contains championship traits.

The dynamic balance is there because it’s stocked with veterans and young players.

Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe lead the charge in the infield. LA’s stacked with players under the age of 28. Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Joc Pederson.

More from Los Angeles Dodgers

Batting order’s change vicariously due to success rates, health, and strategy. Bellinger and Puig lead the team with 29 RBI’s, Hernandez and Grandal have both hit 14 doubles, Seager and Utley are clutch hitters and Chris Taylor has provided a huge spark the last two weeks.

Utley continues to show a glimpse of what he used to do in Philadelphia, and Forsythe is making a case for being the biggest offseason acquisition in the MLB. Those two players anchor the defense while Puig, Bellinger, and Taylor make tremendous plays in the outfield.

Dave Roberts arrives at the ballpark like a kid in the candy store. He’s able to plug-in-play whoever he feels like on that given day.

The Dodgers roster is loaded, and they are set up nicely to make it out of a rough NL West.  LA (33-21) is currently first in a tight race with Colorado (33-21), followed by Arizona (33-22).

It’s the hardest division in baseball, and fans should expect the standings to change inconsistently throughout the season. However, LA has shown that they are serious contenders.

Next: Alex Wood heading to the DL

This Los Angeles Dodgers team covers all the components of a winning team, but the only thing that will make them successful is making a run in October to the World Series.