Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008 Los Angeles Dodgers Fantasy Preview

Out is Grady Little and in is Joe Torre. After a sub par 2007 season mired with injuries and young players learning on the job, Joe Torre inherits a team full of young potential stars such as James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Russel Martin. He inherits Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and a very good closer in Takashi Saito. He brings with him his boys; Scott Proctor, Tanyon Sturtze and Mike Myers. There are many question marks for this team heading into the 2008 season. Can Andruw Jones bounce back from his poor 2007 season? Will Brad Penny repeat his 07 numbers? Will Jason Schmidt be a top flight pitcher ever again? Will Torre's laid back approach work with a team that is like a mixed bag of trail mix. These players are from different countries, eras, and styles. So many questions and so few days until opening day, let's see what we can figure out!

OFFSEASON MOVES

Signed RHP Scott Proctor to a one-year contract
Signed RHP Hiroki Kuroda to a three-year contract.
Signed free agent CF Andruw Jones to a two-year contract
Signed RHP Tanyon Sturtze, RHP Mike Koplove

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

C- RUSSEL MARTIN
1B- JAMES LONEY
2B-JEFF KENT
SS- RAFAEL FURCAL
3B- NOMAR GARCIAPARRA
LF- JUAN PIERRE
CF- ANDRUW JONES
RF- MATT KEMP/ANDRE ETHIER

PROJECTED STARTING ROTATION

ACE- BRAD PENNY
2- DEREK LOWE
3- CHAD BILLINGSLEY
4- HIROKI KURODA
5- ESTEBAN LOAIZA

PROJECTED BULLPEN (BARE WITH ME, THIS IS A JOE TORRE TEAM)

CLOSER- TAKASHI SAITO

SET UP MAN- JONOTHAN BROXTON 

MIDDLE RELIEVERS - SCOTT PROCTOR, JOE BEIMEL, YHENCY BRAZOBAN.

***DON'T BE SURPRISED IF TORRE SEES ANYTHING LEFT IN TANYON STURTZE, MIKE MYERS, OR MIKE KOPLOVE.***

HITTERS TO DRAFT

ANDRUW JONES, CF 

I KNOW HE HAD AN AWFUL SEASON LAST YEAR, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT HIS BODY OF WORK, HE IS STILL ONE OF THE BEST CENTERFIELDERS IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. HE WILL STILL GIVE YOU 30HOMERS AND 100 RBI. IF HE SLIPS GET HIM IF YOU CAN, HE HAS NEVER HAD AN INJURY PROBLEM AND WILL PLAY EVERYDAY. HIS GLOVE IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE GAME AND HE WILL NOT HURT YOU IF YOUR LEAGUE COUNTS ERRORS.

RAFAEL FURCAL, SS

AT LEAST A .300 AVERAGE AND AT LEAST 30 STEALS A SEASON AT SHORTSTOP? I'LL TAKE THAT ANY DAY. GRANTED HIS DEFENSE HAS BEEN SKETCHY, HE IS TOO VALUABLE AT A POSITION THAT ISN'T VERY DEEP AND IS TOP HEAVY.

RUSSEL MARTIN, C

FIRST OFF HIS FULL NAME IS, "RUSSELL NATHAN COLTRANE JEANSON MARTIN", HOW AWESOME IS THAT! SECOND, HE IS A CLEAR CUT TOP 3 FANTASY CATCHERS. HE IS YOUNG, WILL BAT AROUND .290 AND HE HAS SPEED! MARTIN IS THE ONLY CATCHER WE CAN SAY IS A LEGITIMATE 20-20 THREAT.

JUAN PIERRE, OF

IF YOU ARE DESPERATE FOR SPEED, AND NEED NOTHING ELSE PIERRE IS A GOOD OPTION. BE AWARE OF MATT KEMP AND ANDRE ETHIER, THEY ARE YOUNG, TALENTED AND NEED A POSITION. PIERRE PROVIDES STOLEN BASES AND STOLEN BASES ONLY.

JEFF KENT, 2B

GETTING A GOOD SECOND BASEMEN IN YOUR DRAFT MAY BE TOUGH AND THE GUY YOU WANT YOU MAY MISS OUT ON. LATE IN YOUR DRAFT, I AM SURE JEFF KENT WILL BE HANGING AROUND. WOULD I DRAFT HIM? IN A WORD, NO. IF I DIDN'T HAVE A SECOND BASEMEN LATE IN THE DRAFT, THEN YES.

PITCHERS TO DRAFT

BRAD PENNY, SP

16 WINS IN EACH OF THE LAST TWO SEASONS AND ALMOST 200Ks EACH OF THOSE SEASONS TELLS ME THAT BRAD PENNY IS READY TO BECOME THE ACE OF THE DODGERS STAFF. HE HAS MAINTAINED HIS HEALTH THE LAST TWO SEASONS AND IS CONSCIOUS OF HIS PITCH COUNT AND IS GOING LONGER IN GAMES. PENNY SHOULD ANCHOR THIS STAFF AND I DON'T THINK IT WOULD BE TORRE LIKE TO STRETCH OUT HIS STARTER TOO FAR.

TAKASHI SAITO, CL

HE IS 38 YEARS OLD, BUT THE LAST TWO SEASON HE HAS BEEN A DOMINANT CLOSER. HOPEFULLY HE DOESN'T PULL A KAZUHIRO SASAKI AND DECIDE TO LEAVE THE TEAM. THE LAST TWO SEASONS HE HAS SHOWN HE STILL HAS THE ABILITY TO DOMINATE THE LATE INNINGS. CAN HE HANDLE A TORRE LIKE WORKLOAD THOUGH?

DEREK LOWE, SP

HE'S A DECENT "REAL-LIFE" PITCHER, BUT DOESN'T HAVE DAZZLING FANTASY STATS. HE IS A SOLID ARM THAT CAN GO OUT EVERYDAY AND HELP YOU ACCUMULATE SOME STATS. HE FINISHED WITH A 12-14 RECORD LAST SEASON, BUT HAS BEEN AN ACE IN THE PAST.

JONOTHAN BROXTON, SETUP MAN

HE SHOULD BE THE MAIN "HOLDS GUY" IN JOE TORRE'S BULLPEN. TRANSLATION... HE WILL THROW ABOUT 80 GAMES AND HAVE ARM TROUBLE NEXT YEAR. I WONDER IF PROCTOR OR STURTZE ARE ALLOWED TO TALK TO BROXTON? LOOK FOR BROXTON TO BE THE BEST HOLDS GUY EARLY IN THE YEAR, LATE IN THE YEAR I EXPECT HIM TO FADE FROM A TYPICAL TORRE WORKLOAD.

PLAYERS TO AVOID

JASON SCHMIDT, SP

HE'S HURT.. AGAIN. HE WILL BE HURT IN THE FUTURE...AFTER HE COMES BACK FROM THAT INJURY HE WILL GET HURT ONE MORE TIME. YOU CAN STASH HIM ON YOUR DL IF YOU WANT, BUT DON'T WASTE A DRAFT PICK ON HIM.

NOMAR GARCIAPARRA, 3B

I WONDER IF HE AND SCHMIDT WERE THE STORYLINE FOR THE MARTIN SHORT CLASSIC, "PURE LUCK". JUST LIKE SCHMIDT NOMAR IS MADE OUT OF PORCELAIN AND CAN NOT BE TRUSTED TO LAST THE ENTIRE SEASON. HE CAN BE ON YOUR BENCH AND YOU CAN CLAIM HIM OFF WAIVERS, DON'T WORRY ABOUT ANYONE DRAFTING HIM. IF YOU DO DRAFT HIM EVERYONE IN THE ROOM WILL LAUGH AT YOU.

SLEEPERS

JAMES LONEY, 1B

I KNOW HE IS A HIGHLY TOUTED PLAYER AND WILL BE AN ALL STAR ONE DAY, BUT I DIDN'T WANT CHAD BILLINGSLEY TO BE LONELY IN THIS SECTION. IN 96 GAMES LAST SEASON LONEY HIT 16 HOME RUNS AND HAD 67 RBI. HE SHOULD HIT AROUND 30 HOME RUNS NEXT SEASON AND THE DODGERS LINE UP COULD SCORE A LOT OF RUNS WITH THE ADDITION OF JONES AND TORRE SHOULD ADD SOME NEW FLAVOR TO THE OFFENSE.

CHAD BILLINGSLEY, SP

12-5 LAST SEASON AS A STARTER AND RELIEVER. THEY HAVE BILLINGSLEY PENCILED INTO THE ROTATION THIS SEASON AND HE IS FULFILLING THE EXPECTATIONS SET BY HIS FIRST ROUND DRAFT CHOICE SELECTION.

ANDRE ETHIER/MATT KEMP, OF

ETHIER BATTED .284 LAST SEASON AND HAD THE CHANCE TO PLAY EVERYDAY WHILE KEMP PLAYED 98 GAMES LAST SEASON AND HAD 10 HR WITH 10 SB. TORRE HAS A HABIT OF PLATOONING TALENTED ROOKIES IN THE OUTFIELD (*SEE SHANE SPENCER/RICKEY LEDEE) SO AS LONG AS THEY ARE SPLITTING TIME, I WOULD AVOID THEM. 

THE OUTFIELD IS VERY CROWDED WITH HIGH PRICED PLAYERS NAMED JUAN PIERRE AND ANDRUW JONES. UNLESS THERE IS A TRADE, IT WILL BE HARD FOR BOTH OF THESE TALENTED YOUNG PLAYERS TO START EVERYDAY.

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