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Kershaw, Kemp two of fantasy's best
SS – Dee Gordon
2B – Mark Ellis
RF – Andre Ethier
CF – Matt Kemp
LF – Juan Rivera
1B – James Loney
3B – Juan Uribe
C – A.J. Ellis
SP – Clayton Kershaw
SP – Chad Billingsley
SP – Ted Lilly
SP – Aaron Harang
SP – Chris Capuano
CL – Javy Guerra/Kenley Jansen
Five things to think about:
- Gordon probably isn’t going to hit much, but he’s averaged 60 stolen bases over the last three seasons in the minors and majors. Steals can usually be found late in drafts, but this guy could really be a one-category impact player, especially considering his position. He could also fall on his face, though.
- Ethier isn’t a star, but if he can get back to the 20-homer level, his .291 career batting average makes him a decent option as a low-end OF3 in mixed leagues.
- Loney is infuriating. He’ll turn 28 in May, and it’s time to give up hope that he’s going to develop real power. A .290-hitting first baseman with 12-15 homers is only worth your time in a deep mixed or NL-only league.
- If you want Kershaw, you’ll need to grab him early in the second round in mixed leagues. He’ll be worth it. Last season, Kershaw led all MLB starters in ERA, while ranking second in strikeouts and WHIP, and tied for second in wins. That’s not bad for a guy who will turn 24 during spring training.
- The Billingsley bandwagon is just about empty, but it’s hard to completely give up on a 27-year-old starter with his kind of track record, no matter how disappointing he was in 2011. This one is more hunch than data-driven analysis, but I’d really like to have Billingsley as my SP5 in a mixed league.
Odd man out: IF Adam Kennedy hits enough to lurk as a possible replacement for either Ellis or Uribe, but not enough for you to consider him outside of NL-only leagues. OF Jerry Sands (29 HR, .931 OPS in Triple A) flopped in his first stint with the Dodgers last season, but could make some noise if Rivera is his usual blah self.
Farm system: There aren’t any studs in the Dodger system, but Nate Eovaldi (2.62 ERA in Double A) figures to be the first rotation replacement, and 2B/OF Alex Castellanos (23 HR, 14 SB in Double A) could make an appearance late in the season.
Backup closer: It’s easy to fall in love with Jansen’s monstrous strikeout rate (137 Ks in 80 2/3 IP as a big leaguer), but Guerra heads into spring training as the likely Opening Day closer. While Jansen will probably start as the backup option, it seems like just a matter of time before he takes over.
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