Los Angeles Dodgers – Predicted Finish: Second Place, NL West
Did you know the the Dodgers payroll of $227 million is greater than the GDP of several entire countries? So let’s take a look at what type of team the wealth of nations can buy you.
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Kemp, Ramirez, Gonzalez, Crawford, and Ethier to a lesser extent.
We’ll get to Kemp, Crawford and Ethier in a moment, so let’s use the next several words to talk about Ramirez and Gonzalez.
If Hanley Ramirez rediscovers his elite skill set, he’s worth a fantasy baseball mint. Once a player has displayed a skill, he owns it. At one point in his career, Hanley has hammered home 33 home runs, stole 51 bases (twice), scored 125 runs, and hit .342. His ceiling is immense. Certainly, no one is expecting him to regain that form, or even really anything close as you scan across the board. But I think it’s important to remember the type of skill he has, which easily gives him a floor of 20/20/.280, which is a great value at shortstop even without getting wistful for the Hanley of 2007.
Adrian Gonzalez has a similar story in that in his career he has hit 40 home runs, knocked in 117 runs, and hit for a .338 average. He’s a great talent that easily gives him a floor around 25/100/.300, which is a very nice fantasy baseball first baseman without having to hope that he rolls back the clock. Often times it important to draft players in fantasy baseball based upon what type of floor you think they offer. Both Ramirez and Gonzalez are players that give you a high floor.
|1 Starter||Clayton Kershaw||25||L||220||63||17||230||0||2.86||1.10|
|2 Starter||Zack Greinke||29||R||228||53||16||219||0||3.39||1.19|
|3 Starter||Josh Beckett||32||R||184||57||11||150||0||3.86||1.24|
|4 Starter||Hyun-jin Ryu||26||L||113||27||6||99||0||4.14||1.31|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Kershaw and Greinke are top shelf.
Kershaw is nipping on Verlander’s heels for the title of the number one fantasy baseball pitcher. He’s young and electric, he strikes out a ton of guys, limits the free pass and keeps the ball in the park. He’ll deservedly be one of the top pitchers drafted, and has a legitimate claim to be the first pitcher off the board.
Greinke is another FIP freak. Greinke has the same elite skill set, but he’s a touch more inconsistent and can sometimes pitch below his talent. But back to our image of a floor, Grieke still has a high floor coupled with great upside, a 2.30 ERA, 240+ K season.
Fantasy Star: Kemp
Matt Kemp at one point said he was gunning for a 50 homer, 50 steal season in 2012, having just missed a 40/40 in 2011. The way he shot out of the gate in April of 2012 made me think he was shooting for 50/50 in the first half. Then injury hit and it went downhill form there.
But there is no question that the high ceiling is there and it’s much too early to label him injury prone. One never knows when that spectacular catch that leaves a player slamming into the outfield wall will also lead to a DL stint. He’s a first round fantasy baseball draft pick.
While 35 homers could be a realistic hope, another season of 40 steals might be a pipe dream. He’ll be expected to drive in runs, not manufacture them so he won’t have enough steal attempts to hit that level again.
Fantasy Bust: Ethier
Can’t hit lefties and it’s getting worse. He’s also showing a disturbing pattern of going entirely silent for months at a time. In 2012 he had 9 homers the first two months of the season and 9 the last two months, while hitting like a chump during the two months sandwiched in the middle. Meanwhile, he can hit .294 two seasons in a row but produce 23 homers in one of those and 11 in the other.
It’s the inconsistency, the declining walks and the rising strikeouts that will make me stay away from Either unless I get a really good deal on him at draft day.
Fantasy Sleepers: Crawford, Ryu
I’ve listed two sleepers on the Dodgers, but for two very different reasons.
Carl Crawford was an elite talent who had a rough couple of years (sound familiar with the Dodgers?). With his elbow healthy, he’ll have an opportunity to bounce back into form. He won’t be a sleeper because anyone expects him to be the Carl Crawford of old, but he’s a sleeper because the Carl Crawford of today could be had for very cheap on draft day. Take a shot on him if you find he’s dropping in the draft because a healthy Crawford is an exciting player.
Ryu is a sleeper because it’s hard to know how Korean players will play here in the US. I had a heck of a time in researching him to try and give an accurate projection, and still I’m not confident in it. But I can’t imagine he’ll be drafted for more than a buck, if that. What do you have to lose? Take a shot and see if the talent translates.
So I guess it’s safe to say that the wealth of nations buys you a roster full of elite talent, coming off injuries or tough years. Still, the floor is high on most of the Dodgers and the ceiling could be even higher.
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