Under new management, the Los Angeles Dodgers have become one of the premier teams in the National League. A trade with the Boston Red Sox late in the 2012 season solidified their intention to build a dynasty. They handed out big money in the off-season to free agent pitcher Zack Greinke and will enter 2013 with one of the highest payrolls in the league. Whether or not this will translate into an immediate championship run is unknown but Los Angeles has several big time assets in fantasy baseball.
The heavy hitters in the heart of the Dodgers lineup could rival any of the top trios around the league. Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez are three of the top hitters at any position. In addition to that, they are surrounded by the speedy, Carl Crawford and the dangerous, Andre Ethier.
Los Angeles was up and down after their major acquisition but finished hot to end the season at 86-76. The Dodgers figure to be the favorite in the NL West with one of the most talented and highly paid lineups in baseball.
The x-factor for this Dodger team will be Crawford who hasn’t been injury-free since signing his lucrative deal in 2011. Crawford appeared to be healthy entering camp but recent reports have mentioned a set-back to his surgically repaired left arm and doubt his availability for opening day.
If Crawford misses significant time again, Los Angeles will likely have to turn to a platoon of Jerry Hairston and Skip Schumaker.
Ramirez is truly an enigma at the plate. He possesses elite talent but his desire is often called into question. After a tremendous 2009 season, he developed a long swing that has resulted in a dramatic drop in batting average.
Kemp, Gonzalez and Ethier will provide stability and consistency to a potentially dynamic lineup. Kemp and Gonzalez are routinely in the mix for MVP and figure to continue this trend in 2013. Both are top five fantasy players at their respective positions.
After Los Angeles finished near the top of most pitching categories last season, they went out and signed Greinke to a deal potentially worth as much as $158 million. Greinke will slot in behind Cy Young runner-up Clayton Kershaw.
Behind the talented top two will be Josh Beckett who thrived in his seven starts with Los Angeles pitching to a 2.93 ERA. It will be interesting to see whether he can build on his early success. If Beckett and Greinke both pitch up to their potential, Los Angeles could have a top five staff again in 2013.
Los Angeles’ top five fantasy hitters: 1.Matt Kemp, 2. Adrian Gonzalez, 3. Hanley Ramirez, 4. Andre Ethier, 5. Carl Crawford.
Los Angeles’ top three fantasy pitchers: 1. Clayton Kershaw, 2. Josh Beckett, 3. Zack Greinke
Los Angeles projected record: 89-73
Stay tuned over the next month while I preview one team each day in preparation for the 2013 baseball season.