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Champ or Chump: Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner

What Appears In This Article? hide

I read something the other day referring to the Yankees as possible "AL Dodgers" due to their ability to spend. I thought LA's limitless payroll made them the NL's Yankees, but apparently the team is the new "Evil Empire."

Regardless of their reputation, the team has kept its offseason under control. Balking at Minnesota's asking price for Brian Dozier, the team acquired Logan Forsythe from Tampa Bay to fill their hole at second base. They also resigned Justin Turner, keeping the 2016 team together instead of looking for flash.

While fantasy owners need not care about the reasons, they do want to know if LA's latest additions can help them to a fantasy title. Let's find out.

Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.

 

The Fantasy Jury Has Spoken

Logan Forsythe (2B, LAD) ADP: 267.5

Toiling in the relative obscurity of Tampa Bay, Forsythe compiled a .264/.332/.444 line with 20 bombs and six swipes last season. The speed will almost certainly not repeat, as his 50% success rate should earn him a red light from an analytical organization like the Dodgers.This leaves a slightly plus average and plus power for fantasy owners to consider.

On the batting average side, Forsythe ran a .314 BABIP thanks in part to cutting his FB% (40.6% in 2015 to 35.2% last year). Flies have the lowest BABIP of any batted ball type, so hitting less of them is a sustainable way to raise BABIP. His 22.8% LD% seems high, but it matches his career average perfectly. His path to that career average is full of peaks (28.7% in 2012) and valleys (19.3% in 2014), but there is a chance he can sustain an elevated figure. All of Forsythe's batted balls performed reasonably close to his career averages, so a plus BABIP can be reasonably expected moving forward.

Of course, a low FB% is detrimental to a player's power. Forsythe's HR/FB jumped to 14.7% last season after sitting at 9.7% the year prior, masking the effects of his ground ball approach. He pulled fewer of his flies (16.9% vs. 18.2% career), however, leaving me skeptical that he can repeat the elevated mark. I'd expect 15ish homers from him in 2017.

That may be just fine if the Dodgers keep Forsythe in his customary lead off role. While he won't offer speed, his eye (22.1% O-Swing%) and low SwStr% (8.2%) make him a viable option at the top of the order. He struck out too much last year (22.7% K%), but the aforementioned advanced metrics suggest a rebound is forthcoming. The Dodgers are also good enough that their lead off man should make a run at 100 runs scored, though batting after the pitcher could cost a few RBI. Even if Forsythe stinks, the Dodgers lead off role alone is probably worth his current ADP.

Verdict: Champ

 

Justin Turner (3B, LAD) ADP: 129.5

The one-time utility infielder turned into a fantasy star on the back of 27 big flies and a .275/.339/.493 triple slash line in 2016. Better yet, all of his advanced metrics are trending in the right direction.

His newfound power was not the result of an inflated HR/FB like his new teammate's, as his 14.8% mark last year was effectively the same as his breakout 13.9% figure from 2015. Instead, his FB% hit the magical 40% plateau from 36.2% the year before. Sluggers strive to hit 40% of their batted balls in the air, and Turner has accomplished the feat.

His batting average also seems to have room to grow. His .293 BABIP seems normal, and even problematic if you do not trust his 23.9% LD% to repeat. Turner is a proven liner machine with a 24.1% career LD% though, so it says here he will keep doing what he has always done. Turner's career BABIP on grounders is just .221, and I can't figure out why. His superlative defensive metrics suggest that he is at least an adequate athlete, and he torches the shift for a .490 career average. Should he start beating out more ground balls, a .300+ average is possible. His fly balls were also a tad off their usual BABIP (.115 vs. .156 career), so a few more base hits could come from them as well.

Turner has a strong eye (24.4% O-Swing% last year) that could lead to more walks as pitchers are forced to respect his power. He also boasts great contact skills, sporting a 17.2% K% and 7.1% SwStr% last season. He spent most of last year in the third spot, and the Dodgers have not done anything that figures to jeopardize Turner's counting stat opportunities there. Turner combines a solid floor with top 50 upside, making him well worth investing in at his current price.

Verdict: Champ


Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!




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