MLB Team News & Rumors: Los Angeles

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Los Angeles Dodgers

Our expert from,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers Team Projection

Looking for a detailed analysis of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff to help with your fantasy baseball draft prep?

1. SP Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw fantasy baseball

It's tough for any fantasy player not to love Clayton Kershaw. He has led the NL in ERA and WHIP in three straight seasons and has been the toughest pitcher to hit in the NL three times in the past five years. Last year, his command (2.0) was a career best, but he had a career low K rate (8.8). His first pitch strike % (65%) repeated its 2012 success and he threw the most overall strikes of his career (67%). Opposing batters are hitting .211 against him in his career. However, his AFB (92.6) was the 2nd lowest of his career. In terms of pitches, he throws a slider as his 2nd best pitch, followed by a curveball and an occasional changeup. His GB rate (46.0%) continues to be over his career average. For his career, he has a high LOB % (77.8), which has helped him have an elite ERA (2.60) overall and at home (2.20). Last year, the Dodgers scored 2 runs or less 16 times when he was on the mound. Furthermore, he allowed 2 runs or less 26 times. LA should have a much more potent offense this season, which gives Kershaw a chance to win plus games. He is only 26 and set a career low in ERA (1.83), which led to his 2nd Cy Young Award and a 7-year, $215 million contract. He is the best pitcher in baseball pitching for a team that is on the rise. 20 wins should be well within his reach with plus K's and an elite ERA.

2. SP Zach Greinke

Zach Greinke fantasy baseball

Greinke almost had his season ruined when he was tackled on the mound by Carlos Quentin after he hit him with a pitch during his 2nd start of the season. Zack broke his collarbone during that incident, which led to him missing just over a month of the season. He struggled in 3 of his first 4 starts when he returned in mid May (8.77 ERA), but Greinke started to find his rhythm in early July. He then allowed 2 runs or less in 15 of his last 16 starts (1.59 ERA). Zack was very good against RH batters (.216), but he wasn't great against lefties (.254 with 10 HR's allowed). His AFB (91.7) was a career low and it has now declined in 4 straight seasons. He threw a cutter as his #2 pitch at the expense of his slider. While his changeup had more value last year, he also still throws a very good slow curveball. Last year, he had more velocity on his fastball over the last 3 months of the year. Entering spring training last year, Zack had a sore elbow, which was the reason for his drop in velocity early in the year. His walk rate (2.3) was in line with his career resume, but his K rate (7.5) has declined over the last 2 years. Greinke has an upside arm with a very good opportunity for success, but his elbow issue does raise a red flag. Possible 2nd 20 game winner in LA, but his velocity has to gain value in 2014.

3. SP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu fantasy baseball

Ryu had a great rookie season in the majors. He was tougher to hit (.252) than I expected and his command (2.3) stayed intact. Hyun-Jin had more success against righties (.245 - .270 against LH batters) and pitched great in 5 of 6 months (2.79 ERA), allowing 2 runs or less in 20 of his 30 starts with no disaster starts (more than 5 runs). His K rate (7.2) was shorter than his Korean career, while his AFB was 90.3. He threw a plus changeup (.166 - .210 SLG %), followed a solid slider (.219) and a curveball (.300) that needs to improve. Batters hit .289 vs. his fastball. In the offseason, Ryu has made an effort to be in better shape, which will help him hold up over the long haul. I like his rookie success, his plus command, and his plus changeup. Ryu should be even better in 2014: 15+ wins with sub 3.00 ERA and 175+ K's.

4. SP Dan Haren

Dan Haren fantasy baseball

Haren has been a pig in back to back seasons. He had elite command (1.6) with an improved K rate (8.0), but he allowed plus HR's (1.5 per 9 innings) for the 2nd straight season. His AFB (88.9) did have a little more life than 2012. He threw his cutter as his #2 pitch, followed by split-finger fastball and a fading curveball. Furthermore, his FB rate (42.1%) was career high, which led to a career high HR/FB rate (13.0%). Dan struggled with RH batters (.281 - .471 SLG %), and was drilled over his first 15 starts of the year (6.15 ERA). Over the last 3 months of the year, he was a totally different pitcher (3.29 ERA with a higher K rate {8.6} and a shorter HR/9 rate {0.9}). His failure over the first half of the year was due a sore shoulder, which required a DL stint in late June. His velocity was actually less over the last 3 months. Haren is 129-111 during his major league career. While he has excellent command, the value of his pitches are declining. His success over the 2nd half gives a fantasy player a glimmer of hope that he might have one last run in him. My feeling is that he has one last dance.

5. SP Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett fantasy baseball

Beckett pitched pretty well over his first 3 starts (3.26 ERA with 17 K's in 19.3 innings), but struggled through his last 5 outings (6.75 ERA). His season ended in mid May when he developed a groin injury that led to a nerve issue in his right arm and hand. He had surgery in July to fix a nerve impingement in his right shoulder. The time table for recovery was 3 to 5 months, which gives him a chance at being ready for the start of spring training. Beckett is 132-100 in his major league career with a 3.94 ERA. Josh has struggled over the last 2 seasons with declining command (3.1). He pitched at an elite level in 2011 (2.89 ERA), but his K rate (7.0) was below his career average. In addition, his AFB (92.0) has been on the decline over the last 5 seasons. He throws a cutter, curveball, and changeup almost the same % of time. Beckett has flashed elite upside at times during his career, but he has also fallen on his face more than once. Upside arm that may be overlooked on draft day who should be healthy for the first time since 2011. Possible 15 wins with 200 K upside.

6. SP Chad Billingsley

Chad Billingsley fantasy baseball

Billingsley tried his best to avoid the knife after suffering a elbow injury in 2012. He was able to make 2 starts before scheduling a date with the ill fated Dr. Andrews. He had Tommy John surgery in late April and is targeting a June return. Chad is 81-61 during his major league career with a 3.65 ERA. Prior to the injury, his command (2.7) was on the improve with a declining K rate (7.7). His AFB (91.1) has also been on the decline. He throw a curveball as his second best pitch, followed by a cutter and a show me changeup. Over the last year, pitchers coming off of TJ surgery have pushed too hard, resulting in set backs. Billingsley may have upside over the 2nd half of 2014.

7. SP Paul Maholm

Paul Maholm fantasy baseball

Maholm couldn't repeat his success of 2012. He pitched 20.2 shutout innings to start the year and allowed 2 runs or less in 9 or his first 17 starts. Paul suffered a sprained left wrist in late July after pitching poorly in 3 straight starts (15 runs and 30 base runners in 13.3 innings). When Maholm returned, he didn't pitch at a high level (4.41 ERA). His walk rate (2.8) was a slight step back from 2012 (2.5), while his K rate (6.2) was just a tick higher. Paul has a short fastball (87.1) and throws a slider as his #2 pitch, followed by a solid changeup and a curveball. The Dodgers signed Maholm as insurance for Haren and Beckett. He doesn't have high upside, but he is more than serviceable as a backend innings eater. Paul has no value heading into the 2014 draft season.

8. CL Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen fantasy baseball

Finally Don Mattingly will have no choice but to name Jansen the closer heading into the 2014 season. He has had an electric arm, but has been overlooked for saves early in the year in back to back seasons. Kenley had the best command (2.1) of his career, but his K rate (13.0) dropped slightly. Batters have only hit .158 against Jansen during his career. He dominated RH batters (.158) and allowed 5 HR's in 158 at bats. Kenley was also very good against lefties (.204). Over the last 4 months as the closer, he had a 1.24 ERA with 26 SV's and 74 K's in 51 innings. His AFB (92.4 - really a cutter) was slightly higher than 2012, a pitch he threw 94.1% of the time. He throws a low % of sliders as his #2 pitch. Jansen is a modern day version of Mariano Rivera with a much higher K ability. With elite command, he has plus, plus upside in K's. Kenley should finish close to the top in saves in the NL with an edge in ERA, WHIP, and K's.

9. RP Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson fantasy baseball

Wilson returned late last season to give the Dodgers 18 solid outings. He had the best command (2.6) of his career, but his K rate (8.6) was below his best years in the majors. His AFB (93.2) has now declined in 4 straight seasons. His #1 pitch is a cutter, which he threw 74.9% of the time. Brian only allowed 2 extra base hits in 45 at bats last year. Righties hit .206 against him and lefties hit .091. Overall, he has 171 major league saves. Wilson isn't the same pitcher he was, but he will give LA a very good arm in the 8th inning.

10. RP Chris Perez

Chris Perez fantasy baseball

Perez strained his right shoulder right at the start of spring training, but was able to be ready for the start of the season. Chris pitched well over his first 14 outings (1 run in 14 innings with 6 SV's), but blew up over a 3-game stretch in late May (10 base runners and 7 runs in 2.7 innings). This led to a DL stint with a bum shoulder. Perez pitched well for about a month (1 run in 17 innings) before getting drilled again in early August. His season ended on a bad note when he allowed 10 runs over his last 9.3 innings in September. His AFB (92.7) was the lowest of his career, and he throws a slider as his #2 pitch. Furthermore, Chris really struggled with LH batters (.291 with a .564 SLG %). Nonetheless, Perez gives the Dodgers a 3rd arm with closing experience (132 career saves with a 3.41 ERA). However, Chris has struggled with his walk rate (3.5) for most of his career. His health has to be a concern heading into 2014 as his shoulder never required surgery.


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