Batting Around: Who's the best team in the National League?
Thu, May 19, 2022
MLB News (AP)
We are now more than a month into the 2022 MLB regular season. The sample sizes aren't so small and fan bases are gaining and losing hope with each passing day. That said, there is still a lot -- A LOT -- of season to play, and plenty of teams are still vying for a spot in the new 12-team postseason format.
Throughout the season the AP Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. . This week we're going to discuss the Senior Circuit's best.
Who's the best team in the National League?
R.J. Anderson: The Dodgers. Nothing against the Mets, Brewers, Giants, or any other team in the National League, but I don't think I could pick any other team. The Dodgers have the best run differential in the league -- by a significant gap -- and we know it's not a fluke based on their past half-decade of elite-level play. The Mets (or whomever) might topple them come October, but that's a question for another time.
Dayn Perry: I have to take the boring route here and say the Dodgers. They're right there in the mix for best record, and they have the best run differential in the NL by a huge margin. This early in the season, run differential can be more indicative of team quality than actual record is. As well, they pass the smell test. Eyeball that star-laden roster, and they absolutely should be the best in the league. Throw in the recent track record of dominance, and the Dodgers have to be the choice.
Matt Snyder: Yeah, I was trying to find a way to go against the grain here, but the Dodgers are easy and obvious. They'll have bad stretches, like everyone, and they just did. They lost five of six and that included dropping a series to the Pirates. And yet, they still have the best record in the NL. They haven't even been firing on all cylinders. Justin Turner and Max Muncy haven't hit yet while Trea Turner is capable of better and you never know if Cody Bellinger has a hot streak in him. The rotation depth is an issue in the near-term, but Andrew Heaney and Clayton Kershaw likely get healthy in a bit, Dustin May will be back late in the season from Tommy John and we know they'll be able to swing a big trade in July if they so desire.'
Mike Axisa: There's no need to overthink this. It's the Dodgers. They lead baseball in runs scored per game (5.49, the Giants are a distant second at 5.11), are second in fewest runs allowed per game (3.24, behind only the Yankees at 2.86), and are fourth in defensive efficiency (.725, meaning they turn 72.5 percent of batted balls into outs). They're not just good at everything, they're great at everything, and they're still waiting for Justin Turner, Will Smith, and Max Muncy to really get going. The Giants are really good too, but I'm not ready to put them over the Dodgers, and I need to see more than six very good weeks from the Mets before considering them the best team in the league. That franchise has fooled me one too many times. Top to bottom, the Dodgers are the best team in the NL in my opinion.