San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Who has the Edge?

The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers are set to begin an essential series between the two clubs this weekend. The Padres made some of the biggest splashes we’ve ever seen at the trade deadline and are now primed to make a playoff run. However, with the star-studded lineups squaring off against one another, there is no better time to create a super lineup of the best players at each position. This could tell us who has the edge this weekend, so let’s go through each position by number.

1. Clayton Kershaw, Starting Pitcher, Dodgers

Even though the Padres will miss Clayton Kershaw in this series, he is the clear choice between the two clubs. Kershaw is arguably the best-lefthanded pitcher of our generation, and he’s been spectacular this season. Through 14 starts, Kershaw has a 7-3 record with a 2.64 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. 

2. Will Smith, Catcher, Dodgers

Will Smith has cemented himself as one of the best hitting catchers in the game. He’ll enter this series hitting .263 with 15 homers and 55 RBI. Smith has crushed lefthanded pitching this season and been a staple in the middle of loaded Dodger order. He’s been far better than Austin Nola this season.

3. Freddie Freeman, First Baseman, Dodgers

Freddie Freeman has been worth every penny the Dodgers paid him this past offseason. He has proven to be one of the best pure hitters in baseball as he’s third in the majors in batting average and has a .929 OPS. Josh Bell may be a solid acquisition for San Diego, but he’s not on the same level as Freeman.

4. Gavin Lux, Second Baseman, Dodgers

Padres’ second baseman Jake Cronenworth was an All-Star this season, but Gavin Lux is having a much better season overall. Lux is hitting .298 with four homers and 33 RBI. He’s been a .373 OBP at the bottom of the order, and his consistent hard contact has generated more extra-base hits of late. 

5. Manny Machado, Third Baseman, Padres

Manny Machado has led the Dodgers by example, hitting .293 with 19 homers and 60 RBI. He’s an MVP candidate and the clear choice over Hanser Alberto, who’s filling in at third for the injured Justin Turner.

6. Trea Turner, Shortstop, Dodgers

Trea Turner has developed into one of the best overall players in the game. His five tools have propelled him to stardom in LA. He’s hitting .305 with 18 homers and 77 RBI out of the leadoff spot. He also has 18 stolen bases on the season. This would be a more challenging pick if Fernando Tatis Jr. were healthy. 

7. Jurickson Profar, Left Fielder, Padres

This is not the most glamorous position for either of these clubs, but Jurickson Profar is the longest-standing and most effective option. He’s hitting .255 on the year with 12 homers and 47 RBI. The Dodgers’ new additions of Joey Gallo and rookie James Outman could prove better than Profar in this series, but that remains to be seen.

8. Cody Bellinger, Center Fielder, Dodgers

This selection is challenging as Cody Bellinger has not been much better than Trent Grisham. Bellinger is hitting .203 with 13 homers and 41 RBI, while Grisham is hitting .197 with 13 homers and 41 RBI. They are both defensive center fielders, but Bellinger offers slightly more offensive upside.

9. Juan Soto, Right Fielder, Padres

There’s no wrong answer here, but it’s hard to pass up Juan Soto despite what Mookie Betts has done this season. Soto is arguably the best pure hitter in today’s game, and his numbers will only get better in this loaded San Diego lineup.