No team lost more talent than the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason. The list included one of the sport's most dynamic players (Trea Turner), a 27-year-old former MVP (Cody Bellinger), a local icon (Justin Turner) and two highly productive starting pitchers (Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney). They began 2023 with the understanding that arguably their best starting pitcher (Walker Buehler) and arguably their best reliever (Blake Treinen) might not be available all year, then watched their new shortstop (Gavin Lux) tear his ACL during spring training.
This, essentially, was supposed to be the Dodgers' gap year. A year when they'd bring their payroll back down to a relatively reasonable level. A year when they'd give some of their promising young prospects a real opportunity. A year when they'd contend but not necessarily dominate.
And yet, they're basically doing just that.
The month of May has come and gone, and the Dodgers -- the most successful regular-season team of the past 10 years by a wide margin -- are tied with the surging Arizona Diamondbacks for the best record in the National League at 34-23 and own the fourth-highest run differential in the majors at plus-57. They have a glaring hole at shortstop and questionable starting-pitching depth, and are relying heavily on a mix of unproven young players and veterans past their primes, yet they continue to excel.
So, how are they doing this?
Leading up to a big weekend series against the New York Yankees at Dodger Stadium, here are the five biggest reasons.