Fantasy Baseball 2014 Team Previews: Los Angeles Dodgers

Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig figure to give their fantasy owners reasons to celebrate in 2014.

Stephen Dunn

This team is a fantasy goldmine, but has some injury questions you’ll need to keep an eye on.

Key additions: 2B Alexander Guerrero, RHP Dan Haren, RHP Chris Perez

Key losses: 2B Mark Ellis, INF Nick Punto, RHP Ricky Nolasco

Projected Lineup

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1. Yasiel Puig RF

2. Carl Crawford LF

3. Hanley Ramirez SS

4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B

5. Matt Kemp CF

6. Juan Uribe 3B

7. A.J. Ellis C

8. Dee Gordon/Alex Guerrero 2B

I kept thinking Puig would slow down after his hot start last year, and it never happened. Third-round pick, since we can’t completely trust him yet …. Crawford gets hurt a lot, he doesn’t run as much any more, and his power is just OK. Basically, he’s a less healthy Michael Brantley. I might take a chance on Crawford as my OF5, but no more than that … I’m all in on Ramirez, ranking him sixth overall. Yes, his health may seem risky, but he hit 20 homers and stole 10 bases in 86 games last season … Gonzalez isn’t what he used to be, but a .290 BA, 20-25 homers and 100 RBI are nice to own in any format. He’s a nice consolation prize if you miss out on the big five … Kemp isn’t expected to be ready for the Dodgers’ season-opening trip to Australia, and it’s hard to guess how he’ll rebound from his shoulder and ankle injuries. I’ve got him near the end of the fourth round, and that’s filled with both risk and reward … Uribe’s BA was good last season, but he’s a career .253 hitter, hit 12 homers last season, and is 35 years old. Pass … Ellis is a low-end No. 2 fantasy catcher, and only that high because his batting average usually isn’t horrible … The Dodgers aren’t yet sure if they’ll start Alex Guerrero or Dee Gordon at second base, and because of that, neither can be drafted outside of NL-only leagues … Gordon would bring some game-breaking speed, but he’s brought that before, and it doesn’t help because he never hits enough to play … Guerrero is a mystery, and I’ve got him at 2B28. He’ll probably win the job, though.

Projected Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw

2. Zack Greinke

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3. Hyun-Jin Ryu

4. Dan Haren

5. Josh Beckett/Paul Maholm

CL: Kenley Jansen

Kershaw is a beast, and the exception to a common fantasy rule of never taking a starter in Round 1 … Greinke (calf) should be ready shortly after Opening Day. He’s SP14 in my rankings, but I wish I knew why his K rate has dropped for two straight years … Ryu was pretty good last season, with an OK whiff rate and lots of ground balls. I wonder if SP39 is too pessimistic … Haren’s ERA was terrible last season, but check the K/BB rate before you write him off … Beckett’s a bit of a wildcard due to last season’s rib surgery, which relieved numbness in his arm and fingers. I’d avoid in all mixed formats … Crafty lefty Maholm is the backup plan, and he’s not terrible for NL-only owners.

I have Jansen ranked ahead of Aroldis Chapman, if that tells you anything. He struck out 111 batters in 76 2/3 innings last season on the strength of what could be baseball’s best pitch … The Dodgers have some closing experience behind Jansen, with Brian Wilson and Chris Perez on the roster. Figure that Wilson will step in if Jansen goes down.

Sleeper: Haren. You can’t expect 200 innings any more, but he could be solid as a mixed-league SP5. Also, if Gordon wins the 2B job, his speed should get your attention.

Top Prospects

Joc Pederson, OF – Pederson had 22 homers and 31 steals at age 21 in Double A last season, and looks to be a future fantasy force. Just remember that the Dodgers outfield – while fragile – is crowded, with Puig, Kemp, Crawford and Andre Ethier in the picture. Any fantasy value from Pederson in 2014 would be a pleasant surprise.

Zach Lee, SP – The 22-year-old Lee is regarded as a solid prospect, and posted his best minor-league season in 2013, with a 3.22 ERA and 131 whiffs against 35 walks in 142 2/3 innings. He won’t help you this year, but stash him in keeper leagues if you can.

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