2011 Fantasy Baseball Forecast: Who To Target on the Los Angeles Dodgers
A billionaire real estate developer, the self-proclaimed first female CEO in baseball history, and a high-profile divorce that played out in tabloids like a British Royal feud of years past.
No, I am not referring to the latest soap opera or Fox reality show. This was the reality of the 2010 Los Angeles Dodgers; a team filled with under performing prima donnas like Matt Kemp and Manny Ramirez, and ownership caught in the middle of a divorce that crippled the team’s ability to make personnel changes.
Unfortunately for Dodger fans, the new season does not look very promising as the McCourts have yet to finalize their nasty divorce, and the team has made few off-season acquisitions to help the team compete in the surprisingly competitive NL West.
Who to Target
Despite having a poor 2010, the Dodgers roster is filled with valuable fantasy baseball players. Matt Kemp is the top rated Dodger on most draft boards, primarily because he is a five tool outfielder like the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzales.
Kemp flashed glimpses of his potential two years ago and was taken in the top 10 of most drafts in 2010. He floundered under the pressure amid questions regarding his effort and heart, and subsequently took down fantasy rosters with him.
His value has been adjusted accordingly this season, making him a decent value in the third or fourth round of 12 team mixed leagues. If he can regain his focus and his power numbers from 2009, Kemp may become one of the better value picks of the draft.
The Dodgers also boast one of the best young arms in Clayton Kershaw, a highly touted lefty who posted his second consecutive sub-three ERA season in 2010. In addition to an excellent ERA, Kershaw is a skilled strikeout pitcher who fanned 212 while walking 89 batters.
Chad Billingsley is another young pitcher who should be targeted for fantasy rosters. In 5 seasons with the Dodgers, Billingsley has averaged 14 wins and 178 strikeouts per season.
Billingsley is only 26 years old and in a contract year, which leads me to believe that he will be focusing on delivering a nice 2011 campaign to help secure his next deal. He could be a great value pick later in drafts as Kershaw will garner the majority of attention from fantasy owners.
I had some difficulty coming up with a sleeper for the Dodgers, as the team does not really have many young players at the skill positions who would qualify for a sleeper.
Perhaps the best candidate is Jay Gibbons, an eight year veteran who played in 34 games for the club in 2010. Gibbons will likely be the team’s starting left fielder at the start of the season, and could be a nice late round value due to his power hitting ability.
While with the Orioles, Gibbons had three 20 plus home run seasons and drove in 100 runs in 2003. Although he may not be the most glamorous pick, Gibbons is in the process of resurrecting his career and may have a nice campaign in 2011.
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