The Pyramid Rating System’s All-Time Los Angeles Dodgers

Eric Gagne, dominant in his time with the Dodgers, is simply a middle reliever on this all-time team. (via John Verive)

Eric Gagne, dominant the Dodgers’ closer, is simply a middle reliever on this all-time team. (via John Verive)

Paul Moehringer’s Pyramid Rating System & All-Time Teams

Aug. 27, 2015: The Pyramid Rating System: JAWS on a Career Scale

March 15, 2016: The Pyramid Rating System: The Results

Aug. 12, 2016: All-Time League and Baltimore Orioles

Sept. 2, 2016: Boston Red Sox

Sept. 28, 2016: Texas Rangers

Oct. 19, 2016: Brooklyn Dodgers

Nov. 30, 2016: Cincinnati Reds

Dec. 15, 2016: 2016 Season Update

Dec. 20, 2016: Seattle Mariners

Jan. 25, 2017: Milwaukee Brewers/Braves

Feb. 2, 2017: Cleveland Indians

In our latest installment of the Pyramid Ratings System all-time team series, we take our first look at the National League West with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

As with Brooklyn earlier in the series, this team will focus on only part of Dodgers history, so while Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and Dazzy Vance will not be included, their omission is not due to lack of talent.

Bird-Brained
A comparative study on an unwritten rule of baseball.

Historically, the Dodgers have been a team that relies on overpowering pitching and just enough offense to get by. That structure will be very much reflected on this squad, which features one of the most dominating starting staffs and bullpens to be found in either league, but does not have the offense to match.

Like their Brooklyn counterparts, the LA Dodgers will rely on a crowded outfield and some creative platoons to overcome a relatively poor infield and a lack of dominating power hitters.

This team will have to bank on a “get up and stay up” philosophy if it is going to have any realistic chance of winning the division or the NL pennant. Like Cleveland earlier in this series, this is a team capable of pitching itself out of its problems, but unlike Cleveland it has no dropoff once you get into the bullpen.

Franchise Included: Los Angeles Dodgers (1958-Present)

Hall of Famers on 25-man roster: 3

Manager: Walter Alston

Probably Walter Alston is not the pick if I were doing this on a more serious level, but here, win-loss record is the only thing taken into account, which is why Alston comes in as the manager of the all-time Los Angeles Dodgers.

Most might expect Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda to get the call, but the Dodgers’ greatest run of success from the late 1950s through the mid-’60s came under Alston. Between 1959 and 1966, the Dodgers won four NL pennants and three World Series, and never fell below 80 wins. They were easily the most dominating team in the National League and arguably all of baseball.

How much of that success can be attributed to Alston is debatable, but nevertheless the man who spearheaded one of the most dominating teams in baseball history is the one leading the all-time LA Dodgers squad.

Best Overall Player and Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (Honorable Mention: Sandy Koufax)

For the first time in this series, we have a pitcher named the best overall player on the team. It’s the man who is putting together a strong case to go down as the greatest left-handed pitcher in baseball history.

Some would argue this distinction should go to Koufax, and in fact on most teams Koufax would be the number one starter. There is a good reason why his run from 1962-’63 through 1966 is the standard by which all other peak pitcher runs are measured.

At a time when pitching reigned supreme, Koufax was the king. During the early to mid-’60s, he pitched the Dodgers to three National League pennants and two World Series titles, with brilliant performances in both Series victories. From ’62-’66 Koufax led the NL in ERA every year and was a three-time Cy Young award winner during a time when there was only one award handed out across both leagues.

It’s hard to imagine Los Angeles ever finding another lefty who could even approach what Koufax did, but somehow the Dodgers have found just that in Kershaw. Since 2011, Kershaw has gone 100-37 with a miniscule 2.06 ERA, a WHIP of .908 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 5.62. He is the only man to ever lead the majors in ERA for four consecutive seasons and like Koufax has been a three-time Cy Young award winner.

Although Kershaw has yet to match Koufax’s postseason dominance, with a career postseason ERA of 4.55, I feel a lot of Kershaw’s struggles in the playoffs stem from overuse. Kershaw has been asked to pitch on short rest in playoffs more often than every other active pitcher combined and most of his struggles have occurred in the later innings of these games.

With Koufax and Don Drysdale behind him, these all-time LA Dodgers will not need to bank on him the same way the real Dodgers do for big time starts. Between Kershaw and Koufax I would be happy with letting the opponents choose which pitcher they would like to face.

Best Hitter: Mike Piazza

It’s no secret that the Dodgers have not featured a lot of big-time bats since moving to LA. Among the biggest sluggers who have come through the organization, such as Gary Sheffield and Jimmy Wynn, most have stayed only briefly. One who didn’t is the man who will be the focal point of this lineup, the greatest offensive catcher of all-time, Mike Piazza.

Most may think of Piazza as a Met, and in fact Piazza did have more at-bats with the Mets and was inducted in the Hall of Fame wearing a Mets cap. But as great as he was in New York, it was in LA where Piazza put his name on the map as the most dominating offensive force the game has seen from behind the plate.

Over his Dodgers tenure, Piazza batted .331 with a .966 OPS and twice led the league in OPS+. Aside from the strike-shortened season of ’94, between 1993 and 1997 Piazza hit at least 30 home runs and drove in 90-plus runs every year, won the Silver Slugger every year and never finished outside the top 10 in MVP voting.

In hindsight, I think the Dodgers would have been better off moving Piazza out from behind the plate after his rookie season, as his defensive ability never came close to matching his offensive ability, but even so, I would expect Piazza to be the favorite to win the Silver Slugger award in this all-time league and be a serious threat to be the All-Star starter.

Best Player Not on the Roster Due to the One-Team-Only Rule: Kevin Brown

I’m hard-pressed to name another recent player whose accomplishments have been more unfairly brushed aside than Kevin Brown.

While viewed by some as a free agent bust, Brown’s tenure with the Dodgers comes in as one of the best for any starter in team history. For a team with as many great starters as the LA Dodgers, that is saying something.

During his five years in LA, Brown had an ERA of 2.83 and despite a somewhat injury-plagued tenure, still had three seasons with 200-plus innings. In 2000, Brown led the National League in ERA, WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio, going 13-6 over 230 innings. All this amounted to just a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young voting, which I think shows bias writers had against him because of his personality. His dismissal from the Hall of Fame ballot after one vote was among the most unfair treatments of a player I can recall. I haven’t looked at the Hall of Fame and the voting process the same way since.

Brown is also a rare case in which even though his best numbers came with the Dodgers, he will be featured in a more prominent role elsewhere as a member of the Marlins starting rotation. He is there rather than here largely because of the many great starters the Dodgers have.

Los Angeles Dodgers Coaching Staff
Position Person
Manager Walter Alston
Bench Coach Tommy Lasorda
First Base Coach Lenny Harris
Third Base Coach Nate Oliver
Hitting Coach Manny Mota
Pitching Coach Red Adams
Bullpen Coach Darren Dreifort
tht-field-design-nl-la-dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Lineups
vs RHP vs LHP
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
LF L L Andre Ethier 3B R R Ron Cey
 C R R Mike Piazza CF R R Matt Kemp
1B R R Steve Garvey 2B R R Davey Lopes
CF R R Pedro Guerrero  C R R Mike Piazza
RF L L Shawn Green LF R R Pedro Guerrero
SS S R Maury Wills RF L L Shawn Green
2B R R Davey Lopes SS S R Maury Wills
3B R R Ron Cey 1B R R Steve Garvey
 P L L Clayton Kershaw  P L L Clayton Kershaw
DH vs RHP DH vs LHP
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
LF L L Andre Ethier 3B R R Ron Cey
 C R R Mike Piazza CF R R Matt Kemp
1B R R Steve Garvey 2B R R Davey Lopes
DH R R Pedro Guerrero  C R R Mike Piazza
RF L L Shawn Green LF R R Pedro Guerrero
3B R R Ron Cey RF L L Shawn Green
2B R R Davey Lopes DH S R Jim Gilliam
CF L L Willie Davis 1B R R Steve Garvey
SS S R Maury Wills SS S R Maury Wills
Los Angeles Dodgers Expanded Roster
Pos B T Name
C R R Russell Martin
1B S L Wes Parker
2B/3B S R Jim Lefebvre
3B R R Justin Turner
SS L R Corey Seager
OF/3B R R Tommy Davis
OF R R Raúl Mondesí
OF R R Yasiel Puig
SP R R Chan Ho Park
SP L L Claude Osteen
SP L L Jerry Reuss
SP R R Bob Welch
RP L L Steve Howe
RP R R Tom Niedenfuer
RP R R Alejandro Peña

Strengths

Without question the backbone of this Los Angeles Dodgers team is the pitching. Top to bottom in both the starting rotation and the bullpen, there is not a weak link, and with pitchers like Claude Osteen and Tom Niedenfuer on the 40-man roster, the Dodgers have plenty of depth.

Kershaw and Koufax make for one of the most intimidating 1-2 pitching combos in either league, but things don’t get much easier once you get past those two aces. The Dodgers feature three former Cy Young award winners right behind Kershaw and Koufax, giving them arguably the deepest rotation in the National League.

What makes this pitching so special, though, is not just the starting rotation but the bullpen. Much is made about the success of Koufax and Drysdale during the team’s 1960s dominance, but far less about the third most important pitcher on those teams, Ron Perranoski.

If you somehow managed to get to Koufax or Drysdale and chase them late in the game, it meant was that you would go from one of the most dominating starters in the game to one of the most dominating relievers.

At his peak in 1963, Perranoski was third on the team in wins, going 16-3 while posting a 1.67 ERA over 129 innings, all coming out of the bullpen. Over his eight years in Los Angeles, Perranoski posted an ERA of 2.56 over 766.2 innings. In this league I would expect Perranoski to be one of the better closers and a serious All-Star candidate.

The fact that I can move Eric Gagne into middle relief is another testament to this bullpen’s depth. For the most part, even in this league, middle relievers tend to be pitchers who could give you more than one inning out of the bullpen on a consistent basis, but aren’t effective enough for a late-inning role. The Dodgers could easily justify Gagne as the seventh- or eighth-inning man, but given the quality of short-inning relief that Jim Brewer and Takashi Saito bring, I’m not concerned about the Dodgers blowing a late-inning lead even without going to arguably their next best option after Perranoski.

Instead, Gagne will be asked to conjure up some of his early days as a starter and provide Dodgers starters with a safety net most clubs could only dream about having. To think that a guy like Orel Hershiser could ever be on a short leash after the fifth inning is mind-blowing, but when you have the type of bullpen LA has, five or six quality innings from a starter is all you really need.

Because of this, the workhorse nature of their rotation is largely wasted. Sandy Koufax probably wouldn’t need to pitch any more than 180 innings over the season. But it also enables the Dodgers to be a near lock for having the lowest team ERA across the National League.

Weaknesses

The Dodgers are probably going to need every bit of their great pitching to make up for their offensive deficiencies. The trio of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes and Ron Cey helped make for one of the strongest infields of the 1970s, but in this all-time league it’s one of the weakest. In this all-time league where every other team is going to have a sure fire Hall of Famer starting, aside from Cey at third, the Dodgers rank in the bottom third at every starting infield position.

Like their Brooklyn counterparts, the LA Dodgers are able to take advantage of several platoons to give them more outfield production than they have on paper, but unlike what we saw with Brooklyn, cramming more offense into the lineup comes at a pretty heavy defensive price.

Against right-handed pitchers, Pedro Guerrero is moved to center field to make room for Andre Ethier in left. While this may seem like a strange choice, considering Willie Davis and Raúl Mondesí being passed over for starting roles, Ethier possesses one of the most extreme splits for any player in baseball history, being a career .303 hitter with an OPS of .888 against righties, but just a .234 hitter with an OPS of .635 against lefties.

This is no doubt a gamble, but aside from Guerrero, Piazza and Matt Kemp against lefties, the Dodgers don’t have the type of firepower needed to put fear into opposing pitchers.

Far and away the Dodgers’ best defensive outfielder is Willie Davis. I would expect Davis-for-Guerrero to be one of the most frequently used late-game defensive substitutions in this series. If Guerrero struggled enough in center field, the reaction would be to shift Guerrero to left, insert Davis in center field and send down Either in exchange for Mondesí, who unlike Ethier qualifies for all three outfield positions, is a better defensive player and is not completely useless against lefties.

Against lefties, the situation is not nearly as dire defensively, with Guerrero in left, but with Willie Davis having a career OPS of just .619 against lefties, the Dodgers will have to bank on the health of Matt Kemp to be the near exclusive starting center fielder. Kemp’s career .324 average against left-handed pitching should justify him getting the nod over Willie Davis, but the Dodgers still suffer a bit of a setback defensively; Kemp has consistently rated as one of the worst defensive center fielders in recent years in spite of winning two Gold Gloves. But I imagine he would still be an improvement defensively over Guerrero.

Conclusions

There will be teams with as good a starting rotation, and there will be teams with a bullpen as good or better. But no team has the Dodgers’ combination of elite starting and elite relief pitching.

With only two other serious division rivals — the Houston Astros and San Francisco Giants — the Dodgers should be no worse than a low 80s-win team and one of the favorites to make the postseason. At best, this team could even challenge for the 100-win mark. The offense leaves a little to be desired, but the pitching staff is plenty talented and deep.

I think this team and Brooklyn’s would be envious of what the other has in a lot of respects. The LA Dodgers have all the bullpen and starting pitching the Brooklyn Dodgers would ever need, while Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider would go a long way to solve LA’s issues with middle-of-the-order hitting and quality infielders.

In a head-to-head match-up, given Brooklyn’s quality of hitting against left-handed pitching and with LA featuring three lefties in the rotation, I would give the edge to Brooklyn, but as a whole I think the LA Dodgers present a team that is built to take down a much more diverse group of opponents than their Brooklyn counterparts. Their quality of pitching alone would make them a serious threat against even the best of teams. How far that pitching would take them is open for debate.

I would expect the Dodgers and Giants to be heavily involved in a tight three-team race among them and Houston. Unlike LA, San Francisco will not be at a loss for offensive weapons and even without the benefit of Gaylord Perry on the roster, the Giants will feature one of the best starting rotations of any team. As in reality, these should be among the best rivalry games across either league.

One current Dodger could change the dynamic of this team: shortstop Corey Seager. I mentioned in the 2016 update article that Seager did not do enough in his first full season in LA to warrant a spot on the 40-man roster, but after a second thought, I put him in place of utility star Billy Grabarkewitz. Seager still has some work to do to catch up to Bill Russell and his 18-year tenure with the Dodgers to make the 25-man squad, but Russell was never the kind of superstar that Seager appears to be. For a 22-year old to already be in that type of discussion speaks to the potential Seager has. He could become the greatest position player the Dodgers have had since Jackie Robinson. That type of addition to the LA Dodgers lineup would go a long way in closing the offensive gap between them and the Giants.


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Paul Moehringer is a data analyst, SABR member, inventor of the Pyramid Rating System and lifelong Mets fan who hails from Mount Olive, N.J. Follow him on Twitter @PMoehringer.
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Dennis Bedard
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Dennis Bedard

Great article. Not that i disagree with Piazza and Scioscia but not mentioning John Roseboro seems incomplete on an aesthetic level. I know we have beat this topic to death before, but is it possible to construct an all time Dodger team based on roles in movies and TV?

Scott
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Scott
This is largely what I thought about the LA Dodgers – great pitching and all star, but not all-time position players. Their pitching is so strong that a Hall of Famer and 300 game winner is in the bullpen and not even mentioned in the article. At first I wondered why Andy Messersmith wasn’t on 40-man roster, but I looked up his stats and realized two things: he really didn’t play that long for the Dodgers and he good, rather than great over that period. He’s probably on another team’s roster (Angels maybe). This suggests that just because we associate… Read more »
Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
A lot of what you said about Messersmith could also apply to Ramon Martinez or Hideo Nomo or even Burt Hooton. For 90% of the teams in this league, Messersmith’s run from ’73-’75 would be enough to crack the rotation, but on a team like the LA Dodgers when it comes to their starting pitching, three great years isn’t enough. 1,440 players will be featured on some team’s 40-man roster, but it will not be the same as the best 1,440 players in MLB history. Unfortunately for Messersmith, he is someone that falls into that category due both in part… Read more »
Scott
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Scott

Messersmith’s teammates, Al Downing, Tommy John and even Mike Marshall, would also fall into that category.

Michael
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Michael

Don Sutton? Hall of Fame?

Zeke
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Zeke

I was about to say that “the greatest position player the Dodgers have had since Jackie Robinson” is almost damning with faint praise in the context of this league. But then I realized the Dodgers already had their better position player, but they let him walk as soon as he became a free agent and you (rightly) rostered him for Texas…

Paul, I’m curious: If there was no One-Team Rule, would ’98-’04 Beltre have been enough to push Cey out of the lineup?

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
Beltre would have definitely cracked the 40-man roster on this team without the one-team only rule. Beltre also only had really one big year with the Dodgers and Cey was a six-time all-star, so I don’t think there really is much debate to be had there in terms of who was the better third baseman all-time in Dodger history. That being said, I would put Beltre above Jim Gilliam but the problem is with Garvey and Guerrero both on the team, the Dodgers are already essentially carrying three third baseman. Adding a fourth doesn’t really help the club out a… Read more »
Steve Isaak
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Steve Isaak

Sorry, but I have to replace Andre Either and Raul Mondesi with Dusty Baker and Reggie Smith.

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
I feel Mondesi is a lot better than your giving credit for. You look at what he did between ’94 and ’97 and its hard to see how he’s not in the top five for best right fielders in baseball during that four year stretch. Larry Walker and Sammy Sosa are the only two I would take hands down ahead of him, so he’s arguably even top three. The fact that he fell off so quickly I think is why people don’t view him in a higher light, but he’s also the only two time 30/30 club member in LA… Read more »
Bobr
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Bobr

Did you consider Dusty Baker for a spot on the team, perhaps in place of Puig for example?

steve kantor
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steve kantor

Granted, 1962 was an expansion year, and short career and all, but I gotta get Tommie Davis in the lineup. He had a couple of GREAT years.

Paul G.
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Paul G.

Kevin Brown was taking PEDs. Combine that with a so-so playoff record, a mercenary-for-hire type career, his general unpleasantness, and several other relevant factors that hurt him, and it is not huge surprise that he was one and done on the ballot. Personally, I would have expected him to survive the first ballot, perhaps lingering just above the threshold until his time ran out, but he was never getting in the Hall of Fame anyway. Or at least he is never getting in with this generation of sportswriters.

Paul G.
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Paul G.

There’s no one else on the roster who is a better designated hitter against lefties than Jim Gilliam? Wow. If this league was a confirmed DH league and they would use a DH every game, would that change the roster to get someone better into that slot?

I’d also think in “real life” Gilliam would be playing left and Guerrero would be the DH, but I’m guessing he did not log enough time.

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
Gilliam falls just short of qualifying for left field, but you are right about him probably being the more realistic option in left over Guerrero. As far as a better DH option, there really isn’t one to be had on the 25-man team, but if the Dodgers were in the AL, Mondesi would be on the 25-man team over Andre Ethier and against lefties he would be the starting right fielder with Green shifting over to left and Guerrero taking over DH duties. DH against lefties is a definite weak spot, but it’s also one the Dodgers won’t have to… Read more »
Jimmy Fischbeck
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Jimmy Fischbeck

I’d agree with Kershaw over Koufax if Clayton would come through in the playoffs! So far, Hell No!

Neema T
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Neema T
Allot I disagree with here. Lets start with the pitching. Don Sutton ranks #1 in Dodgers all time wins and yet he is not in the starting rotation? I would have to say that does not make any sense. Fernando and Orel were great, but here I would have to move one of them to the bullpen to make room for Sutton. For the relief pitchers, you don’t even include Mike Marshall, the guy won a Cy Young as a middle reliever in 1974 and pitched a ridiculous number of innings. He would have to be in there. Now the… Read more »
Dana Yost
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Dana Yost
First, thank you for acknowledging the importance of Ron Perranoski to those Dodgers’ staffs! He is too often overlooked in discussions about the first big wave of relievers (say, before 1975, or the rise of the Gossage, Sutter era). He was not only crucially important to the Dodgers teams who, before the trade for Osteen, didn’t have a really deep starting staff, but also had two stellar years for the division-winning Twins in 1969 and 1970. He had 31 saves in ’69, and 34 in ’70. His 34 saves would have set the major league record if Wayne Granger had… Read more »
Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
Thanks for the kind words. With regards to Perranoski, to me he was after Koufax and Drsydale, he’s the next most important player on those early-mid 60’s teams that won two World Series and was a perennial NL powerhouse and its rare to hear his name brought up in that context. As dominant as both Koufax and Drysdale were, its not called the golden age of the pitcher for nothing. You had Bob Gibson and you also had Juan Marichal, Jim Bunning, Dean Chance, Jim Maloney and a host of other pitchers who could at least provide a somewhat fair… Read more »
Snider Fan
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Snider Fan

Different era, but Koufax pitched on three day’s rest all the time; in ’65 the Dodgers went to a three-man rotation in September so he pitched most of that month on two days. I would agree that until Kersh wins 27 games or a World Series, Sandy is the #1.

Carl
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Carl

Paul,

Curious as to how close Steve Sax (8 years w the Dodgers, 3x All Star, ROY winner) was to making the team in place of Gilliam? With the LA-only Dodgers, Gilliam was an All Star only once.

Also, no mention or place for Tommy John?

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
Only one of those all-star selections came with the Dodgers, but that’s really neither here nor there when it comes to why I picked Gilliam over Sax. Offensively I would give the slight edge to Sax, but on defense there is a reason the phrase “Steve Sax syndrome” exists in the baseball lexicon. He was top three in errors five times with the Dodgers and twice led the league and that’s in comparison to one of the most sure-handed defensive infielders of all-time. His ’86 season is phenomenal and if he had another year with the Dodgers that even approached… Read more »
Joe Pancake
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Joe Pancake

Count me among those who feel Don Sutton got short shrift being odd man out of the rotation. At his peak he was just as effective as Valenzuela and Hershiser were at theirs — in fact by FanGraphs WAR his three-year stretch from ’71-’73 was better than the best three years of the other two — and he had longevity that the other two don’t come close to matching (over 1,500 more innings with the Dodgers than the other two).

Don Sutton: perennially underrated Hall-of-Famer.

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
I have Hershiser rated as pretty much the hands down best pitcher in the National League from ’87-’89, so when you say Sutton was as good as either of them at their peak, unless you’re also going to put him ahead of guys like Seaver, Carlton, Blyleven and others, or you think there’s another NL pitcher out there who was better than Herisher during that ’87-’89 stretch, its just not the case. As far as having more innings go, Sutton was pretty much a mortal lock to be in the top ten in innings pitched almost every year he was… Read more »
Joe Pancake
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Joe Pancake
I think you’re drastically underrating how good Sutton was at his best. His top seasons are better than Valenzuela’s by WAR. (You make a pretty good case for Hershiser, and I think he was better than Valenzuela, so I’ll leave him out of this post.) And it’s not just because he pitched a lot more innings due to the era. If you look at his top ERA+ seasons, they’re better than Valenzuela’s, and in my opinion he has more impressive black ink (four time WHIP leader, three time K/BB leader, one-time ERA leader). Your criticism of Sutton not being the… Read more »
Quinn Fields
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Quinn Fields

Two Dodgers I wanted to see: 1. Hideo Nomo. A little shorter of a peak than Chan Ho Park, but the guy has to get some props for opening the door for Park, Wang, Matzusaka, Darvish, Tanaka and others right?

2. Eric Karros – I’m not going to argue he was that good, but he was very Dodgers. Like when you think late 90s early 2000s Dodgers, Karros is the only name that comes to mind, right?

Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
1. Nomo along with half a dozen other starters not mentioned was someone who strongly considered for a spot on the 40-man and for most teams would have done enough to make it. I don’t know how much he “paved the way” for future guys to come over because his arrival was not treated in Japan the same way as Ichiro’s who I think did far more in that department that Nomo. The reason for that is because Nomo broke his contract to come to the Dodgers and if you know anything about Japanese culture you know that a contract… Read more »
Philip
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Philip
Another nice installment in your series, Paul. With nearly all the players on this team playing during my lifetime and having seen most of them play numerous times in person, I’ll nitpick a bit. Kershaw over Koufax? Sorry, not in this reality. If it’s Game 7 of the World Series, knowing everything about these two pitchers to date, any doubt who Walt Alston would give the ball to? Probably the guy he DID give the ball to win a game 7. As for the excuses about Kershaw pitching in the playoffs on three days rest, this is what Koufax did… Read more »
Paul Moehringer
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Paul Moehringer
A lot to digest here. 1. I’m not going to go too much into the Kershaw/Koufax debate. You’re comparing across eras and there’s going to be a lot of emotion coming from people who grew up idolizing Koufax and there’s not much I can really say to someone who’s canonized him as the greatest/much clutch lefty pitcher they ever saw. 2. Yes only your numbers with a particular franchise were taken into account. Just because I have Chan Ho Park on the team over Tommy John doesn’t mean I necessarily think that Park was a better pitcher than John all-time.… Read more »
Nickolai
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Nickolai
I love this series, nice work! I loved them both, but I don’t see the argument for Chan Ho Park over Ramon Martinez. Both were good not great RH pitchers, but during their Dodgers stints Ramon pitched 2 more seasons, almost 500 more IP, collected 40 more wins, posted a better W/L %, better ERA and ERA+, better WHIP. more WAR and a higher average WAR/season. All in roughly the same time-frame/competitive environment. Neither did anything noteworthy in the postseason or with the major awards (although Ramon finished top 5 in CY voting twice, something Park never did). So the… Read more »
Philip
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Philip
Thanks for the response, Paul. Re: Guerrero OK, understood re: Baker. That’s what I was assuming with your selection; only look at his time as a Dodger. I agree with that. Re: Cey Could not disagree more. First, I think if you look at Cey’s walks vs lefties, my hunch is a lot of them are situational walks, meaning either IW or IW in all but name only, i.e. to set up double-play, etc, not because he was drawing them. Secondly, ever been behind the sweeper train on a freeway? That’s what you’d be creating in Los Angeles by batting… Read more »
Tommy
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Tommy

Nice piece. Only two real qualms. Tommy Davis over Andre Ethier in left. And you can’t leave Mike Marshall off the bullpen. Head and sholders above Niedenfuer or Pena.

Snider Fan
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I think if you asked the pitching staff they would want Willie Davis in center. Pedro Guerrero should be in left over Ethier; he hit RHP as well as he did LHP. If you put Shawn Green in right, Ethier is redundant.

And if you want to talk about peak performance, Reggie Smith should be on the team over Mondesi, IMO. OPS+ of 152 with the Dodgers, and a big reason for the pennants in ’77 and ’78.

Rainy Day Women 12x35
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Rainy Day Women 12x35
Lot to digest here. Quite a few of my thoughts were addressed extensively and don’t need repeating. However….it seems, Paul, as though you didn’t pay much, if any, attention to this team’s defensive needs when making these picks. A team with dominant pitching should back it up with a very good defense as a priority. Pedro Guerrero in CF? Ouch. And he’s backed up by Kemp, who has dismal numbers there, couldn’t even handle RF anymore in LA. But the most egregious (for those of us who were there) is Steve Garvey as the backup 3b. Aside from Maury Wills… Read more »
Dave Thomas
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Dave Thomas

As soon as I read Clayton Kershaw over Sandy Koufax I realized this article was a total joke and quit reading at that point.

Rainy Day Women 12x35
Guest
Rainy Day Women 12x35

open your mind. A strong case can be made for that.

Marc Schneider
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Marc Schneider

Pretty ridiculous to dismiss an article because of one point you disagree with.

bobr
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bobr
I don’t understand why Puig is on this team. He had 2 years when he was an excellent player but two more when he was mediocre at best, and it appears you don’t intend to platoon or DH him, so he is essentially a bench bat. If that is the case, unless you feel it necessary to have another RH on the bench, I would rather Manny Mota be my pinch hitter than a hitting coach. I suppose the raw talent is appealing, although I doubt he would last 5 minutes on a Walter Alston managed team no matter how… Read more »
super mario world
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Nice piece. Only two real qualms. Tommy Davis over Andre Ethier in left. And you can’t leave Mike Marshall off the bullpen. Head and sholders above Niedenfuer or Pena.

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