Los Angeles DodgersOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
Los Angeles Dodgers Team Projection
The Dodgers are the 3rd winningest team in baseball history (971 games over .500). Over the last 2 seasons, LA has tried to buy their way to a championship. After 72 games last year, the Dodgers were 12 games under .500. From that point on, they were the best team in baseball (62-28). Los Angeles finished 17th in the majors in runs (649), 24th in HR's (138) and 2nd in ERA (3.25). During the offseason, the Dodgers only lost a handful of low level players: 2B - Mark Ellis, 3B - Michael Young, P Ricky Nolasco, P Edinson Volquez, and P Carlos Marmol. They also signed 2B Alex Guerrero, P Dan Haren, P Paul Maholm, P Chris Perez, and P Jamey Wright. Overall, LA has a chance to have a very good offense. Furthermore, they have the best ace in the game, followed by a solid #2 starter with enough pitching depth to compete for a World Series title. Their bullpen could be special if Brian Wilson returns to his pre-injury form. However, the big question mark for them is the health of Matt Kemp.
1. OF Yasiel Puig
Puig made the jump from AA to the majors last season and showed 30 HR power with 20 SB upside. Yasiel had a K rate (22.5%) that was below the league average, while his walk rate (8.3%) came in as league average. Puig crushed both RH (.312 with a .516 SLG %) and LH (.340 with a .583 SLG %) pitching. Puig also had a plus HR/FB rate (21.8%), but he was a GB hitter (50.2%). In addition, Yasiel had success hitting four seam fastballs (.324 - .533 SLG %), sinkers (.396 - .496 SLG %), and sliders (.327 - .636 SLG %). Overall, he hit .349 over his first 3 months in the majors with 13 HR's, 31 RBI's, and 10 SB's in 298 at bats. His approach at the plate did show growth over the last 2 months of the year (10.9% walk rate and 20.9% K rate). Simply put, he is an elite talent with high upside across the board. However, he didn't do a good job with runners on base (10% RBI rate). He is expected to bat leadoff for the Dodgers this season, and has a chance to score 120+ runs with solid HR's and SB's. His batting average may come in shorter than expected due to his K rate, but I expect him to improve in this area. He looks like one of the rare 5 tool players in the game. His only negative is his maturity, which leads to many bad decisions. Possible top 5 draft pick in 2015, so his ride is still on the uptick.
2. OF Carl Crawford
Crawford has had a tough past 3 seasons after signing a huge contract with the Rex Sox. He appeared well on his way to a 3,000 hit career before all of these injuries. Last year, he suffered a bad hamstring injury that cost him a month of the season, which led to short stolen bases. After the first 2 months of the year, Carl was hitting .293 with 5 HR's, 13 RBI's, and 9 SB's. He had a slight back issue over the last 3 months of the year, which led to a .270 batting average with only 1 HR, 18 RBI's, and 6 SB's in 252 at bats. Crawford really struggled with LH pitching (.206), while his HR/FB rate (5.4%) was his lowest since 2003. Additionally, his FB rate (30.1%) has been low during his entire career. Carl is a high upside talent with plus speed and double digit power. He needs 1,235 hits to reach 3,000 for his career (about 155 per season if he played until he is 40). Crawford should enter this season healthy and his price point is discounted, which makes him a possible buying opportunity. He has seven 40 SB seasons on his resume. His K rate (14.1%) was his lowest since 2008 and, while his walk rate (6.0%) has been short during his entire career. Solid 10/30 option with upside.
3. SS Hanley Ramirez
Hanley has been electric during his 555 at bats with the Dodgers over the last 2 seasons (.312 with 92 runs, 30 HR's, 101 RBI's, and 17 SB's). Ramirez started the season on the DL with a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery. The injury ended up costing him about a month of the season. When he returned to the lineup, Hanley suffered a hamstring injury that cost him another month (and more time when he re-aggravated it in June). Ramirez crushed the ball in June and July (.369 with 10 HR's, 34 RBI's, and 6 SB's in 168 at bats). He suffered a shoulder injury in early August, a back injury in mid September, and a rib injury late in the year. Overall, Hanley only started 33 of the Dodgers final 55 games. His K rate (15.5%) was his lowest since 2010, while his walk rate (8.0%) showed more upside earlier in his career. He crushed both RH (.344 - .606 SLG %) and LH (.349 - .723 SLG %) pitching. Ramirez is an elite talent and a huge edge over most of the competition at his position, but he has struggled with injuries over the last 2 seasons. Hanley will be hitting in the middle of the lineup for a good offensive team, and he seems to enjoy playing in LA. Solid .300 hitter with a 30/20 skill set who should be a top 5 player drafted in fantasy baseball in 2014.
4. 1B Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzalez has driven in 99 or more runs in his last 7 seasons, but his power has been short over the last 2 years. In 2012, he had a high doubles total, which led many fantasy players to believe a bounce back in power may be in the cards. Last year, Adrian had his lowest combined extra base hit total (54) for his career for a full season. He continues to be an elite run producer (20% RBI rate - 18% for his career), and his K rate (15.3%) was a career low. However, his walk rate (7.3%) has been well below his career average (10.2%) over the last 2 seasons. Gonzalez hit .303 against LH pitching with 18 HR's in 400 at bats, but only had 4 HR's in 183 at bats against lefties (did have 39 RBI's). His HR/FB rate (11.4%) has been short over the last 2 years. Last year, his FB rate (39.0%) did make a move up. Overall, Adrian is a solid major league bat with an AVH (1.573) that supports his weaker HR rate. He doesn't look like a must own power bat, but he is hitting in a very good lineup. His RBI total and batting average will be assets, but his HR's will be the key to his value. Possible value play at first base.
5. OF Matt Kemp
Kemp has struggled through back to back injury prone seasons. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum after the 2012 season and it was the reason for his drop in power. Matt needed a second surgery on his left shoulder last October, plus he had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left ankle. Earlier in the year, Kemp struggled with a hamstring injury. His status for the start of the 2014 season is still unknown. His K rate (26.2%) was his highest since his rookie season, while his walk rate (7.6%) is just below the league average. Matt had success against lefties (.320 - .480 SLG %). In his 54 at bats over the last 2 months, Kemp did look like a better player (4 HR's and 14 RBI's - 16.7% K rate). Overall, he is a very talented player with a high K rate that doesn't support a plus batting average. There is a very good chance he misses the start of the season and I can't expect him to run as much as he has in the past. His power should rebound, but he probably won't have 30 HR power in 2014.
6. 2B Alex Guerrero
The Dodgers signed Alex Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract in October. He was a career .302 hitter in Cuba with 103 HR's, 412 RBI's, and 10 SB's in 1,963 at bats. His K rate (11.1%) was very low and he even showed an ability to take walks (9.3%). Guerrero has 20 HR power with a strong enough stroke to hit the ball the other way, and is almost a lock to win the starting second baseman job for LA. Possible .270 hitter with 15 HR's and 60 RBI's in his first season in the majors.
7. 3B Juan Uribe
Uribe played pretty well over the last 3 months of 2013 (.286 with 9 HR's and 34 RBI's in 237 at bats). However, he only started about 75% of the Dodgers games during that stretch. Juan was a better hitter against RH pitching (.290), but he had 6 HR's in 95 at bats off of lefties. Uribe is a career .253 hitter in the majors with four 20 HR seasons on his resume. His K rate (19.0%) has improved slightly over the last 2 seasons, while his walk rate (7.0%) has been above the league average in 3 of the last 4 years. His biggest competition for at bats may be Dee Gordon. Uribe showed a spark last year and will have plenty of chances to drive in runs if he can keep the job everyday. Low upside player with possible 15 HR power and some batting average risk.
8. C A.J. Ellis
Ellis took a long time to make it to the majors, but he proved over the last 2 seasons that he belongs in the league. He almost repeated his 2012 success, with the exception of a lower batting average and a couple less HR's. His K rate (17.4%) was much better than 2012 (21.2%), but his walk rate (10.0%) was a step down from last year (it is still above the league average though). He struggled against LH pitching (.200), which was somewhat inline with his 2012 season (.224). After the All Star break, he had 8 HR's and 34 RBI's in 236 at bats. Additionally, he missed some time in June with an oblique injury. Overall, he's a decent backend catcher with a strong enough approach to be an asset in batting average.
9. SS Dee Gordon
Gordon has struggled to hit his way on to first base over the last 2 seasons. His window for a starting job may be gone with the addition of Guerrero. His skill set has no value as a 3rd baseman, but the Dodgers have enough talent on the roster to play him there in the short term. While his K rate (19.8%) has risen over the last two seasons, his walk rate (9.4%) did show some growth. Last year, he only hit .222 against RH pitching. At AAA last year, Dee hit .297 with 49 SB's in 374 at bats. Gordon has been working hard in the offseason to add bulk to help him earn more playing time. Dee has difference maker speed, but he has no value in HR's and RBI's. Solid bench option as a base stealer in waiting whose best option for playing time may be third base.
10. OF Andre Ethier
Ethier has delivered 2 short HR seasons over the last 3 years, and was a terrible run producer in 2013 (11.0% RBI rate). With the emergence of Puig, Andre will be pushed to the bench this year, unless the Dodgers trade him. He handled himself well against RH pitching (.294 with a .460 SLG %), but he still struggles against LH pitching (.221 with a 21.9% K rate). His overall K rate (17.2%) was his lowest since 2009, while his walk rate (11.0%) was a career high. In addition, his HR/FB rate (8.4%) was a career low. LA still owes him $70 million over the next 4 seasons. Overall, his skill set isn't high enough to force Puig or Kemp to the bench. The Dodgers are still paying Crawford a ton of money, so he won't have a clear path to playing time in left field either. Andre is a professional hitter who may have been on steroids. Heading into the 2014 season, he will provide high priced insurance in the outfield.
11. C Tim Fedorowicz
He had a nice season at AAA in 2012 (.294 with 11 HR's and 76 RBI's in 412 at bats), but he struggled in 2013. He is a career .288 hitter in the minors with 52 HR's and 304 RBI's in 1,860 at bats. His success in the minors didn't help his value last season as Tim struggled to make contact (32.4% K rate). Last year, he hit .231 with the Dodgers in 160 at bats (56 K's). Possible upside, but his skill set took a big step backwards last year.
12. MI Justin Sellers
He is career .199 hitter in the majors with 3 HR's and 17 RBI's in 236 at bats. Will compete for a utility infield role this year.
13. 1B Scott Van Slyke
He gave the Dodgers power off of the bench in 2013 (7 HR's and 19 RBI's in 129 at bats). He is a career .295 hitter in the minors with 98 HR's, 476 RBI's, and 56 SB's in 2,801 at bats. Will compete for a backup role in 2014.
14. OF Mike Baxter
He gave the Mets a spark in the outfield in 2012, but struggled last season (.189 with no HR's and 4 RBI's in 132 at bats). Possible backup option.