Fantasy News and Analysis for the Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are keeping their heads above water while they wait for Clayton Kershaw to return, as well as getting Matt Kemp back up to speed. Some players have really stepped up to put the Dodgers at 15-12 as of May 1st, 1 game behind the Giants for first place in the AL West. Dee Gordon (.344 BA, 13 SB, .854 OPS) and Juan Uribe (.327 BA, 4 HR, .866 OPS) have played integral roles in this solid start, as well as Dan Haren who has been pitching like the Haren of old (2.39 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 34 K/37.2 IP). The bullpen has had it's documented issues, but with Adrian Gonzalez (.321 BA, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 1.043 OPS) leading the charge the Dodgers still look poised to make a big postseason run. Don Mattingly could not have asked for anything more out of his club after losing their franchise player in Kershaw for the first month of the season. The offense has sputtered a bit, ranking in the bottom half of the league in many offensive categories, but the team has showed that the power is still there, ranking in the top 10 in Slugging Percentage in all of baseball to this point. The starting pitching has been as good as advertised even without it's leader, getting ace like performances from Haren and Josh Beckett who continues to look more dominant with each turn in the rotation. Kenley Jansen has held down the 9th reasonably well, although he has been touched more often than usual (3.14 ERA, 1.53 WHIP).
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5 Compelling Stats
1. Yasiel Puig has only 1 stolen base up to this point in 23 games. Uh oh.
2. Zack Greinke has 46 strikeouts in only 35.1 innings. His ERA and WHIP are in line with last years dominant season, but the strikeout rate is reminiscent of his CY Young season. Hope you didn't draft Homer Bailey over Greinke on draft day.
4. Chris Withrow has a .71 ERA and a .95 WHIP, a dynamic combo for the setup man of the future. This flamethrower was featured in the preseason, and he forced his way onto the roster, and is blazing his way into a major role in this bullpen. Brian Wilson has already gone down with an injury, and Chris Perez has not always been the most durable pitcher throughout his career. If Withrow is trusted with a 7th/8th inning role, he will be one of baseball's most feared setup men.
5. 1.2 WAR for Hanley Ramirez. Yes he is only hitting .275, and only has 3 HR, but he is still making a difference, and the numbers will take care of themselves. If you took my advice and took Ramirez around pick 9-12, rest assured you've still got yourself a .300 hitter, and he should still supply the steals and home runs needed to return value for his high selection. He has never been the greatest starter as it is, and once Kemp gets on track and the offense starts clicking, Ramirez will be at the forefront.
With a 2.54 ERA, and 22 K in 22 IP, Beckett is showing that his thoracic outlet surgery was a success. Beckett has gone deeper in the game each time out in his four starts, peaking at eight innings in his last start vs. the potent Colorado offense, striking out six, and only giving up two solo home runs, which has always been an issue for Beckett throughout his career due to his propensity to go right after batters. You can see the confidence in Beckett growing within himself with each start, and if the Dodgers can get Beckett feeling like the horse that he has always been, while slotting him in the number five spot, this rotation could end up being among the best in baseball history. With Dan Haren also looking refreshed, the Dodgers rotation looks to have no holes. I wrote that you should monitor Beckett through the first month and act accordingly. Now is the time if you feel like fishing. He looks great, and has a great team behind him. He will be slotted to start for me this week.
Hitting just .195, Crawford does not supply enough power numbers, nor RBI to warrant a roster spot with this production. Sure he has 4 stolen bases, but if that is the only category he is producing in, surely you can find someone else to steal some bags and not hit below .200. Crawford could turn it around, but at his age, and with injury history, he could find it very hard to hit north of .260 this year. If you took him, I would give him another week or two at most, as he could end up being a hinderance in the long run.