keyboard_arrow_uptop

The Dodgers are better than the Phillies in almost every way. PECOTA told me this, and I told PECOTA "everybody knows that," and suddenly PECOTA and I were in a Geico commercial. When we returned, I asked PECOTA something a bit less obvious: How many teams would need to combine to be better than the Dodgers?

Now, I'd guess the true answer is probably only two or three, because depth is important in a long season and when you start throwing three entire pitching staffs together you'd get an amazing bullpen and lots of depth. But we're just going to to look at the starting lineup. This is how much better the Dodgers' starting lineup is than the Phillies':

Position Dodgers Phillies
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 1.1 Howard
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.2 Asche
SS 2.2 1 Galvis
LF 3 1 Brown
CF 3.2 1.6 Revere
RF 4.1 -0.3 Sizemore
Total WARP 25 12.3

Good stuff. About twice the WARP, and superior players at seven of eight positions. Above average at every position, and All-Star level at five or six. So let's throw the Twins in, too.

Position Dodgers Twillies
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 2.3 Mauer
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.2 Asche
SS 2.2 1 Galvis
LF 3 2.3 Arcia
CF 3.2 1.9 Hicks
RF 4.1 1.1 Hunter
Total 25 16.5

And we start to see how this is going to go: Bad teams' mediocre players will nudge the other bad teams' mediocre players aside, but bad teams don't have a lot of All-Star-level players. Settle in.

Adding the Diamondbacks:

Position Dodgers Diamondtwillies
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 4.9 Goldschmidt
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.7 Lamb
SS 2.2 1.8 Owins
LF 3 2.3 Arcia
CF 3.2 1.9 Hicks
RF 4.1 1.5 Tomas
Total 25 20.8

Goldschmidt's the sort of bad-team outlier the bad-team amalgamation needs. The Dodgers are now superior at only six of the eight positions. Now adding the Astros:

Position Dodgers Astmondtwillies
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 4.9 Goldschmidt
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.7 Lamb
SS 2.2 2.1 Lowrie
LF 3 2.3 Arcia
CF 3.2 1.9 Hicks
RF 4.1 3.3 Springer
Total 25 22.9

Lowrie and Springer paper over some weak spots in the competing lineup, but the Dodgers are still better at six of eight positions. Add the Indians, a legitimate playoff contender:

Position Dodgers Astmondtwilliedians
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 4.9 Goldschmidt
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.7 Lamb
SS 2.2 2.1 Lowrie
LF 3 2.3 Arcia
CF 3.2 1.9 Hicks
RF 4.1 3.3 Springer
Total 25 22.9

No change, which sort of puts this in perspective: We've created a super team good enough to beat the Indians–a legitimate playoff contender!–at every position. Add the White Sox:

Position Dodgers Astmondtwilliedian Sox
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 4.9 Goldschmidt
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.7 Lamb
SS 2.2 2.1 Lowrie
LF 3 2.3 Arcia
CF 3.2 2.3 Eaton
RF 4.1 3.3 Springer
Total 25 23.3

Small bump in center field, but even against six entire rosters the Dodgers remain better at three-quarters of the positions on the field. Royals? Defending American League champion Kansas City Royals?

Position Dodgers Royastmondtwilliedian Sox
C 2.9 2.7 Ruiz
1B 3.8 4.9 Goldschmidt
2B 3.2 4 Utley
3B 2.6 1.7 Lamb
SS 2.2 2.1 Lowrie
LF 3 3.9 Gordon
CF 3.2 2.4 Cain
RF 4.1 3.3 Springer
Total 25 25

And there it is. Seven teams collectively form a superlineup just good enough to match the Dodgers, though still worse at five of eight positions. Seven teams! That's more teams than there were Power Rangers! Presumably the Dodgers will respond to the Royastmondtwilliedian Sox' threat by signing Hector Olivera.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
anderson721
2/17
And to think that in my youth I spent countless hours of Strato and APBA trying to answer this kind of question. Only then it was can the rest of the AL beat the combined Red Sox /Yankees? (1977 editions) The answer was , not very often.
lyricalkiller
2/17
I ran simulations on that same question in... uh, 2011 I think. Yes, 2011. The league won about 60 percent of the time, as I recall.
lipitorkid
2/18
I spent entire summers playing APBA with my friends. We had leagues and the manager of the league would set out a glass jar to make Sun Tea every morning. I wish I could start a league again, but that would take some serious baseball nerd hunting in my area.

My favorite teams were the early 90s Blue Jays and the late 80s Dodgers.
yancyeaton
2/18
Changing my Twitter handle to RoyastmondtwilliedianSox.