The Dodgers said farewell to the McCourts in 2012. That alone would make a Dodger grin from ear to ear. An investment group, led by Guggenheim Baseball, purchased the ball club for more than $2 billion. Stan Kasten was inserted as team President and Los Angeles’s own Magic Johnson would become a face from a public relations standpoint. After several seasons of under achievements and restricted payroll, things were finally going to change.
After narrowly losing 2011 MVP honors, Matt Kemp started the 2012 season on a mission. The center fielder posted an incredible .456/.538/.911 line with 11 home runs, 29 runs 29 RBI during the month of April. Multiple injuries would quickly detour his campaign. It would not stop the new ownership group from nearly doubling player payroll, however. Over the summer, the Dodgers would go on to acquire stars such as Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett. Unfortunately, the team did not gel and the Dodgers underperformed down the stretch while watching their rival, the San Francisco Giants, take home a third World Series Championship in the past three seasons. The Dodgers begin 2013 with plenty of motivation and a lot of expectations.
In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2013 fantasy baseball drafts.
|C A.J. Ellis||.270||.373||.414||44||14||52||0||505|
|1B Adrian Gonzalez||.299||.344||.463||75||18||108||2||684|| w/2T|
|2B Mark Ellis||.258||.333||.364||62||7||31||0||464|
|SS Hanley Ramirez||.257||.322||.437||79||24||92||21||667||w/2T|
|3B Luis Cruz||.297||.322||.431||26||6||40||2||296|
|LF Carl Crawford||.282||.306||.479||23||3||19||5||125||w/BOS|
|CF Matt Kemp||.303||.367||.538||74||23||69||9||449|
|RF Andre Ethier||.284||.351||.460||79||20||89||2||618|
Unsettled: Third base. Luis Cruz had a terrific season for the Dodgers in 2012. The 29-year-old seemingly came out of nowhere and filled in admirably after a struggling Dee Gordon tore a tendon in his thumb. Cruz played outstanding defense at both shortstop and third base and provided many clutch hits for the offensively-challenged club. He’ll certainly have the edge to be the starting third baseman, but he could shift over to shortstop if Ramirez doesn’t make the cut at short, or to a bench role if Dee Gordon seriously raises some eyebrows.
Target: Matt Kemp. After a monster April, Kemp suffered the first of two hamstring injuries before finally tearing his labrum in his shoulder following a collision with an outfield fence. He will not be allowed to participate in Cactus League games until mid-March, but he vows to be ready for opening day. In the meantime, Kemp has worked hard on his cardio and getting back down to his 2011 weight. Concerns regarding his shoulder could watch him fall into the latter part of the first round. If this happens, you should pounce. Draft with confidence.
|Clayton Kershaw (L)||14-9||2.53||1.02||229||68||227.2|
|Zack Greinke (R)||15-5||3.48||1.20||200||53||212.1|| w/2T|
|Josh Beckett (R)||7-14||4.65||1.33||132||58||170.1|| w/2T|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu (L)||9-9||2.66||1.09||210||52||182.2||in KOR|
|Aaron Harang (R)||10-10||3.61||1.40||131||95||179.2|
Unsettled: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Chad Billingsley will all be in contention for the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation. There are 36 million reasons why Ryu likely already has claim on one of the spots. The Dodgers will take it slow with Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly as they work their way back from injuries. Chris Capuano has been a popular trade candidate. Look for Ryu and Harang to come away with jobs heading into April.
Target: Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers have had an incredible track record with Asian pitchers. Ryu’s current Median Draft Position is 235. That’s pretty good value for a player that sported a K/9 over 10.0 in the KOB league. That rate could translate to one over 8.0 K/9 in the NL West. If he fails to impress, owners have only wasted a 19th-round draft pick. It’s well worth the risk.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Brandon League (R)||15||3.13||1.36||54||40||72.0||w/2T|
|Kenley Jansen (L)||25||2.35||0.85||99||23||65.0|
Chasing Saves: Kenley Jansen entered the 2012 season behind Javy Guerra and will likely need to wait it out behind Brandon League in 2013. Jansen once again posted some of the most impressive peripherals of any reliever in 2012, but it is worth noting that he blew seven of his 33 save attempts. There was a noticeable dip in his fastball velocity, but his natural cut action still baffled hitters. Jansen missed September with a heart condition and Brandon League was rock solid in his absence. Despite an electric fastball, League struggles to put away hitters and relies on a lot on ground balls (59.9% career rate) to pitch out of trouble (4.13 BB/9 in 2012). Many believe, including me, that it will only be a matter of time for Jansen to reclaim his role as closer. Draft League, but make sure that you handcuff him with Jansen.
Fantasy owners should have no problem finding value on this roster, and Dodger fans will have huge expectations for all of them. Health permitting, it should be a memorable season for all.
Check back tomorrow for our look at the San Diego Padres.
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