Dodgers: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Preview

Oct 16, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) celebrates with third baseman Justin Turner (10) after beating Chicago Cubs in game two of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

AL East: BAL, BOS, NYY, TB, TOR

NL East: ATL, NYM, PHI, MIA, WAS

AL Central: KC, CWS, DET, CLE, MIN

NL Central: STL, PIT, CHC, MIL, CIN

AL West: SEA, LAA, TEX, OAK, HOU

The Dodgers are a young team with a few veterans in the mix. With 12 ranked players, the team has a lot of fantasy value on both sides of the ball.

This begins the final division with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thank you for following along so far.

The Dodgers were one of the more dominant teams in baseball last season. They finished with 91 wins and made it to the NLCS. The Dodgers have four straight National League West titles. Looking at the current roster, they can easily make it five in a row.

The Dodgers had a lot of players make it to the free-agent market, but they were able to retain most of them. The team did lose Josh Reddick, Howie Kendrick, Brett Anderson, Jesse Chavez, and J.P. Howell. The loss of the three pitchers won’t hurt the Dodgers. Reddick would have been a nice option in right field and Kendrick would have provided infield depth.

The Dodgers starting pitching was unusual last season. Their ace made only 21 starts but dominated in those starts. The team has a 20-year-old, a 28-year-old, and two pitchers over 30 that can still go.

Los Angeles was able to bring back their closer. They also signed a veteran reliever to back him up and add depth to the bullpen. The Dodgers bullpen was void of reliable talent last season.

As for the offense, the team had four 20-plus home run hitters and four more with at least 11. The only statistic the Dodgers lack is speed. There was only one batter that stole 10 bases and he is no longer on the team.

Dodger Stadium ranked in the bottom third in home runs, hits, and runs. Yet, the offense was able to score the 14th most runs. The pitching staff, both starters and relievers, combined for the fifth-best ERA with 3.70.

I have 12 Dodgers players ranked. The list includes all five starting pitchers, the closer, four infielders and two outfielders. This will be a team to target multiple players.

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

The Dodgers rotation has a lot of promise. Now, it’s easy to say that with the best pitcher in the game leading the pack. But, I like the four pitchers behind him too.

Clayton Kershaw is my No. 1 starting pitcher and No. 11 player overall. He was injured last week, thus leading to a career-low 21 starts. There isn’t much else to say. He will bounce back nicely in 2017. With the lack of aces in the draft, Kershaw will be taken early. It’s up to you if you want to take him in the first round.

Kenta Maeda (No. 23), Rich Hill (No. 39), Julio Urias (No. 70), and Scott Kazmir (No. 82) are the other four pitchers.

I think Maeda will have a successful sophomore season, as I wrote here. He allowed too many home runs and walks, 20 and 50 respectively. If he can limit those and keep the strikeout rate going, he can move into the top 20.

Hill pitched well in the second half with Los Angeles. In six starts, he had a 1.83 ERA, 0.786 WHIP, 10.2 K/9, and 1.3 BB/9. In a full season with the Dodgers, I think he will post very good numbers.

Urias could use some more seasoning in Triple-A. He limited the runs scored against him, based on his 3.39 ERA and 3.17 FIP, but a lot of batters reached base. He gave up 81 hits and 31 walks in 77 innings.

Kazmir had just under one strikeout per inning but had a 4.56 ERA and 1.357 WHIP. I’d stay away in standard leagues.

Oct 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals during game four of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers were very lucky to get back Kenley Jansen. With the other top closers Aroldis Chapman and Mark Melancon, off the market, Los Angeles knew they were getting Jansen back. It just took another month of discussions before becoming official.

My colleague Brad Kelly wrote about the re-signing here. I have Jansen as my No. 3 closer, behind Chapman and Zach Britton. He posted a ridiculous 1.83 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, and 47 saves. I expect a little bump in the ratio stats, but with the support in front of him and solid offense, he could get 50 saves.

Pedro Baez was slated to be the lone set-up man in the bullpen before the Dodgers signed Sergio Romo. I wrote about the addition here. He only made 40 appearances but pitched well in them. He and even Baez will have value in holds leagues.

MLB: NLCS-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers

With just one simple move, the Dodgers improved their infield.

Los Angeles traded with the Tampa Bay Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe. Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick split time at the position in 2016. While I don’t have Forsythe ranked, I think his involvement will help everyone around him.

Back to the order of positions, catcher Yasmani Grandal ha great power, but a low average. He hit 27 home runs, 72 RBI, and .228. I rank him eighth among catchers. I like his power, but the batting average hurts his value a bit for me.

Adrian Gonzalez had a down season. His average went up 10 points from 2015 and hit 90 RBI again but he hit 10 fewer home runs in the same amount of games. Gonzalez has taken a hit in the rankings, as low as No. 17 on some sites. I think his power will come back, maybe not 28, but 23 or 25 seems reasonable. I have him at No. 13.

The Dodgers brought back Justin Turner for third base. With a poor third base pool on the market, it was an easy decision. He hit 27 homers, 90 RBI, and .275 in 151 games. Turner has good plate discipline, 107 strikeouts to 48 walks. There are great third basemen to draft ahead of him, but if you wait a bit, he can be drafted in the 14th round.

Corey Seager, the younger brother to Kyle Seager, gave us a hint of what he could do in 2015. In 157 games last season, Seager had his breakout party. He hit 26 home runs, 72 RBI, .308/.365/.512. Seager has great power potential, evident by his 40 doubles and five triples. He is my No. 3 shortstop and could finish No. 1 like I wrote here.

September 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) reacts toward shortstop Corey Seager (5) after he hits an RBI triple in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers outfield is young, but unreliable at times. We all know the history between the team and Yasiel Puig.

The outfield group will be Puig, Joc Pederson, and Andrew Toles. The team also brought in Darin Ruf and Franklin Gutierrez for depth.

Puig hit 11 home runs, 45 RBI, and .263/.323/.416 in 104 games. If he can get his head on straight, he will be draftable in standard leagues as my No. 59 outfielder. He is a risk I’m not willing to take.

Pederson ranks a little higher, No. 46. His average was a little low, .246, but hit 25 homers and 68 RBI. He walked 63 times, helping his .352 on-base percentage. I am hoping he can play more than 140 games this season.

Toles is more of an average than a power hitter. He hit .314 in 115 at bats. I think in the small sample size he provided that his power numbers aren’t going to change much. I don’t expect more than six home runs this season.

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs

Los Angeles is one of the few well-rounded teams. The rotation is young and viable, the bullpen has support for Jansen and the offense has star potential all across the field.

Whether you draft Kershaw early or Grandal late, there is value to be had on this team. This is a team you want to stack up on in 2017.