Early Fantasy Impact: Los Angeles Dodgers
Every team has at least 10 players worth having on your team in some capacity, this list is made to tell you who they are.
Coming off winning the NL West, the Dodgers look poised to keep their title this year after they kept all of their young talent from last year.
The 97 win Dodgers lost Manny Ramirez for 50 games last year due to a suspension for taking performance enhancing drugs. And their young pitching core was, at times, a bit unsuccessful.
The Dodgers pressed on into the playoffs where they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS but were dispelled in the NLCS by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Coming into the 2010 season the Dodgers only major upset is the pending divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt, they lost a lot less on the field namely Randy Wolf (to MIL), Juan Pierre (traded to CWS) and Orlando Hudson (still a FA).
There are many question marks coming into the season: Can Manny still be Manny? Will the young pitching staff play as good as expected? Who will be the next young prospect to tear up major league pitching?
But then again these are all questions that come up every year and are all things you should be worried about as a fantasy player.
No. 1 Matt Kemp
Coming off his best offensive year in his career, Kemp had career highs in hits (180), triples (7), home runs (26), and RBI (101), and in all other categories Kemp put up numbers that were consistent with his last full year in the majors.
Kemp will be given more at-bats when Joe Torre moves him up in the lineup like he did at the end of last year, which will give him more chances to improve his numbers.
Expect another 30 HR, 100 RBI, 35 SB effort for the 25-year-old. Good enough for a first-round pick.
No. 2 Andre Ethier
Either, another Dodger coming off his best offensive year in his career, had career highs in hits (162), runs (92), doubles (42), home runs (31), and RBI (106), and in all other categories Either put up numbers that were consistent with his previous four years in the majors.
Last year in the National League, Either ranked in the top 10 in runs, hits, doubles, home runs, and RBI.
Project him to gather the same stats this year with 30 HR and 100 RBI performance, worth a mid-fifth-round pick.
No. 3 Chad Billingsley
Billingsley had a down year, and owners who had him as a first- or second-string pitcher were not pleased, a 4.03 ERA and a record one win above .500. His 179 strikeouts and almost 200 IP were the only bright spots in his season.
Billingsley has the stuff and the team to be a dominating pitcher. Expect him to rebound this year and score 15 wins, high three ERA, and close to 200 strikeouts again.
No. 4 Jonathan Broxton
In his first season as the full-time closer, Broxton excelled and put up great numbers, a 7-2 record, 2.61 ERA, 36 saves (out of 42), and triple-digit strikeouts (114).
While most closers struggle in their second year closing, Broxton was excellent. Look for similar numbers next year, (38 saves, 100 strikeouts, and a low 2 ERA).
As the case is with most closers, you should not take one too early in the draft, as after the draft there are a lot of saves to be had on the free agent wire.
No. 5 Russell Martin
A down year for one of the better fantasy catchers, Martin posted his lowest numbers in three years. But still in the top 10 in fantasy catchers, Martin will look to stop his slide.
But fantasy owners should hope that the real Russell Martin will please stand up, otherwise you will be overpaying dearly.
Last year's line of .250/126/7/53 is unspectacular. Look for the slide to continue next year and stay away from Martin unless you want to overpay for a position that has decent depth this year.
Best of the Rest Nos.6-10
6. James Loney: Under-rated and undervalued, Loney can be counted on getting about 20 HR and 100 RBI.
7. Manny Ramirez: Last season his production dropped from .348 BA to .249, 6 HR to 13, and 26 RBI to 77 in almost three times more games. Who knows what he will do after steroids.
8. Clayton Kershaw: A highly-touted young pitcher, but was very inconsistent toward the end of the year. But has tremendous upside, expect around 15 wins and a ERA around three.
9. Rafael Furcal: Getting ever older, Furcal still has it and can definitely be a valuable shortstop in any league. If you can sacrifice home runs and RBI, Furcal is your man.
10. Casey Blake: One of the best utility players in the league, worth being drafted for his versatility and production, averages about 20 home runs and 80 RBI a year.