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We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2010 fantasy baseball questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2010 Dodgers Fantasy Baseball Preview comes courtesy of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.

1) Jonathan Broxton’s home and away splits, respectively — in 45 innings, 0.40 ERA, 73 Ks and a .095 BAA; in 31 innings, 5.81 ERA, 41 Ks and a .252 BAA.  Statistical anomaly or reason for concern?

Statistical anomaly, but somewhat troubling. It’s no secret that Dodger Stadium is friendlier to pitchers than hitters; a large amount of other Dodgers show similar (though not always as large) splits. For a closer, the emotional boost of jogging in from the bullpen with 50,000 fans chanting for you as your chosen generic hard rock song recorded between 1968-1992 plays probably has a bit to do with it too. Part of why those splits look so large is because Broxton is just unhittable at Dodger Stadium. In 2009 at home, he gave up two earned runs and had a 73/9 K/BB ratio, or more than 8 times as many K as BB. It’s easy to look bad on the road when you’re being measured against insane standards like that. That doesn’t change the fact that a 5.81 ERA is ugly, of course, but it’s also important to keep in mind that ERA is very misleading for relievers because of the small sample size.

2) Last year Chad Billingsley was my preseason Cy Young.  Man, does that look bad now.  Please tell me I’m not falling for the old-banana-in-the-tailpipe by predicting a bounce back.  What kind of year do you see from him?

I’m as big of a Billingsley supporter as anyone, but picking him over Tim Lincecum? Even I can’t back that up. I have to say, though, that I’ve never seen such unwarranted panic over the struggles of a young player as I saw over Billingsley’s tough second half last year. You’ve got a 24-year-old former 1st round draft pick who’d been outstanding for three years in a row, leading to his first All-Star selection, and a few tough starts cause media members and casual fans to call for his trade or release? It’s absolutely insane, especially because it was never as bad as it seemed. You know how many times he gave up more than 4 ER in the last two months of the season, when everyone was freaking out? Zero. In his last two starts of the season, he went into the sixth inning with a no-hitter and a one-hitter, before faltering in that frame both times.

So yeah, I still see a lot to like here, especially because his late-season issues in 2009 aren’t a total mystery. Billingsley fractured his leg slipping on ice in the winter before 2009, requiring surgery and curtailing his conditioning. Then he strained both hamstrings during the season, leading to a subtle but noticeable change in his mechanics. With a full offseason and a just a bit of luck in the health department, I see big things for Billingsley in 2010. Or he’ll completely implode and I’ll look like an ass. Whichever.

3)  The Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles pitchers are always good for fantasy because of their weak hitting division and home stadium.  Give me the rotation, as you see it.

Clayton Kershaw, Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Vicente Padilla, and then pick a name out of a hat. Maybe it’s out-of-options soft-tossing lefty Eric Stults, who seems good for one amazingly dominating shutout a year before getting hurt or fading out. Perhaps it’s two-time Dodger Minor League Pitcher of the Year James McDonald, who won the #5 job out of camp last year before failing miserably, being demoted, and reinventing himself in the second half as an effective big-league reliever. Or former top pick Scott Elbert, a lefty who’s overcome arm injuries and probably has the most talent of anyone in this competition, but hasn’t yet proven it in the bigs. Or knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, picked up for nothing who became an AAA All-Star and contributed a few quality starts in the bigs last summer. Or 2008 second-round pick Josh Lindblom, a darling of last year’s spring training. Or this year’s annual participant in the Jeff Weaver/Chan Ho Park/Aaron Sele veteran scrapheap awards (please don’t be Russ Ortiz, please don’t be Russ Ortiz).

The point is, there’s no shortage of decent options for that job, and the smart money is that you’ll see several of them at some point. Joe Torre has shown very little patience in his back-end starters, and with possible injury concerns with the top guys there should be plenty of opportunity. The early advantage probably goes to Stults, just because he has no more options and has shown a little success already.

4) After Manny Ramirez returned from his suspension for testing positive for a female fertility drug, he didn’t look like the same player.  Do you think his inability to get pregnant weighed on his psyche and he can now return to pre-menopausal levels of hitting?  Or do you think Manny will be lucky to hit .285 and 25 homers?

I think there’s a lot of angles to the Manny story. Rumors of his demise are pretty exaggerated; for all of the complaints you heard about his failings last year he still put up an OPS that would have been top-10 in MLB if he’d played enough to qualify. I also think that in the rush to damn him for cheating, not nearly enough attention was paid to the 95 MPH fastball he took off his hand in mid-July. If you look at the segments of his season (helpfully laid out here) you can see that he was just as good as ever in the two weeks after he returned from suspension, before he got hit. For about a month after that, he was lousy. Once his hand presumably healed, his OBP and SLG came right back up to usual for the rest of the season. You didn’t hear much about that because A) it didn’t fit into the convenient story the media liked to run with and B) because his batting average was just .241, and the casual fan doesn’t get how meaningless that is.

With the injury behind him and a ton of motivation (both to repair his damaged reputation and to play for his next contract, presumably as an AL DH) I think you’ll see a very good year from Manny in 2010. I’d hesitate before saying you’ll see “vintage Manny,” though – don’t forget, he will be 38 years old, which probably has more of an effect than any drugs he may have stopped taking.

5) Do you take the over/under/push on:

One – The number of Manny in-game pee breaks. Under.
Two – The number of flinches by Rihanna when Matt Kemp gets up to hit. Under.
Three – The number of mid-inning reliever changes by Torre. Over. Way over.
Four – The amount of times Russ Martin weakly grounds out. Over isn’t even strong enough here. Not only is he a master of this, now he’s got Juan Pierre’s quota to make up for.
Five – The number of outfield signs that read, “I Go Ethier Way. Push.

From Around The Web

  1. Eddy says:
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    I’m still on the fence about Bills. I never owned him last year but I kept tabs. Although I didn’t know that tidbit about not giving up more than 4 ERs…

    The position he’s drafted in is very erratic in the mock drafts I’ve done (anywhere from 9th-15th [even saw him go 18th once]) so I’m still not sure what’s too early/late for him. But I think he’ll surprise some people.

    And forget, Manny is nonexistent to me this season. I still never fully recovered from the night I benched him and he hit a pinch-hit GS.

    Great blog, really gives me a chance to take an in-depth look at teams I’m not extremely familiar with.

  2. Steve says:
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    If memory serves, it was the middle third of the season when Bills was a bit sucky. What’s the view from Dodgerland as to why that might have been?
    Also, why did the Dodger pen and offence hate the Wolfman so much? Ok, that’s a joke, but feel free to answer ;)

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: Believe in the Bills.

  4. Quintero says:
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    Manny will not be 38 years old, instead, he will be Latino-38 years old. I admire those people who draft Manny high. I’ll never have that kind of courage.

    Also, the Dodger guru is more like Dodger-Fan-Healer, comforting their traumatized fans with blog-writing…He(or she) is a great man(woman).

  5. LaLa says:
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    6×5 league (+OPS), ten team

    Who do you like better: Manny or Ichiro?

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Quintero: I’m with you on Manny, but you probably knew that already.

    @LaLa: Manny

  7. matthole says:
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    @Grey: what rd do you see them going or would you draft bills and kershaw? which one would you target based on their values/adp/projections? would u go for both?

    ie kershaw may fall rd 6, but bills may drop to 8/9 rd and therefore might be better value, etc if u expect similar stuff (kinda like brandon webb and haren last yr) webb went first few rds, but haren the similar pitcher went a few rds later thus being the better value pick)

    Thanks

  8. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @matthole: I have a better chance of owning Bills if it plays out like that. Grab Bills in the 8th/9th round sounds fine to me. Obviously prefer to get him in the 10/11th.

  9. Mic says:
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    I think the main concern for Billingsly during the end of last season was the loss of velocity… I’m from the Bay so when he was throwing four-seamers 84-88 mph against the Giants I was pretty juiced… But at the same time I was concerned for the guy because he was one of the guys I wanted last year, but was going a little too early for my liking… obviously he was pitching hurt whether it be his hamstrings or who knows what… It will be interesting to see how he does in spring training…

  10. Mudhens Madness says:
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    Bills or Hanson in a long-term keeper league?

  11. Mikey boy324 says:
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    I never draft a pitcher before the 6th round ever I havnt been able to do any mocks yet but can any1 give me Insight on what pithcers have been coming off the board in the 6th round?

  12. LaLa says:
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    @Grey: How do you account for the addition of a category, like OPS, when valuing players? I realize it’s an important thing to keep in mind but I’m having trouble making of the disparity in Ichiro and Manny’s rankings and your suggestion.

    Thanks!

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Mudhens Madness: Tough one… Gotta go Hanson.

    @Mikey boy324: Probably Wainwright, Carp, Vazquez area.

    @LaLa: Manny’s a near 1000 OPS and Ichiro’s around a 750, so that’s a huge edge.

  14. Eddy says:
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    @Mikey boy324:
    In mock draft central in the 6th round and on guys like Javier Vasquez, Lester, and Carpenter are getting grabbed up. And the 6th round is almost always the first round of a closer run seeing as how guys like Papelbon, Broxton, and Rivera get picked up.

    If you wanna take it one step further, in the 7th round JJ, Peavy, Hanson, Cain, and Beckett are getting drafted.
    @Grey:
    All right then Grey, I’ll keep an eye out for Bills and hope he performs this year!

  15. Eddy says:
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    Hey Grey what do you make of this draft I did a couple weeks back? It was 12 team, yahoo, 5×5, 1st pick.

    C Miguel Montero R14
    1B Albert Pujols R1
    3B Kevin Youkilis R2
    SS Elvis Andrus R15
    SS Ian Desmond R21
    2B Ian Stewart R10
    OF Nick Markakis R5
    OF Nelson Cruz R6
    OF Torii Hunter R8
    OF Nolan Reimold R13
    OF Julio Borbon R16
    SP Roy Halladay R3
    SP Adam Wainwright R4
    SP Ricky Nolasco R7
    SP James Shields R11
    SP Ted Lilly R12
    SP Jonathan Sanchez R17
    SP Homer Bailey R20
    RP Andrew Bailey R9
    RP Leo Nunez R18
    RP J.P. Howell R19

    Pitchers were flying off the board in this draft, so I reached a bit for Wainwright. And, yes, I know, my saves are dreadful, but I was going by your philosophy there.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: I think Howell was a throwaway pick, but it’s fine you’d probably drop him anyway. I wouldn’t have drafted Wainwright after taking Halladay, but it’s hard to fault it in these circumstances since your team didn’t seem to be that hurt by it. Overall, your team looks better than it should for a 12 team league, so that’s good, but makes me wonder about your fellow drafters.

  17. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:
    Haha your doubt of my fellow draftees humbles me, but I can assure you it was a full draft. Although as I said before, pitching was being drafted as fast as I’ve ever seen it. Normally I have room for 3 closers, but being reduced to a set-up man in the 19th round just shows how fast it was flying.

  18. mikey boy324 says:
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    i hope wainwright is still there cuz i dont like vazquez in that park and carp is too injury prone for me to pick in the 6th round..what about josh johnson has he been available or is he usually gone bye then?

  19. AJ says:
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    So where does Blake DeWitt ultimately fit into the Dodgers’ plans for 2010? Starter… reserve… minors?

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @mikey boy324: He’s taken around there too.

    @AJ: Needs to have a good spring to be in the running to start.

  21. matthole says:
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    @Grey: whats your take on austin jackson if he leads off….also, what are your thoughts on cameron maybin; does he breakout?

  22. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:
    Barring any injuries, who do you think will have better numbers at the end of 2010:

    Nolasco or Bills?

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @matthole: They’re both in the top 80 outfielders coming tomorrow.

    @Eddy: Nolasco

  24. Eddy says:
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    @matthole:

    i asked the same Jackson question. Grey’s response:
    @Eddy: He’ll be a last round flier if you wanna go there. I think he can be incredible, but he’s never healthy.

    and as for Maybin, idk, something tells me 2010 isn’t his year. But who knows, now that he had surgery to repair his torn labrum which hurt him at the end of last season i could be wrong….

  25. matthole says:
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    @Grey: nice

  26. Eddy says:
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    @Eddy:
    oops that was a response for Ben Sheets, sorry! But i know i asked about Jackson somewhere in the top 60.

  27. LaLa says:
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    @Grey: With OPS factoring into things, how valuable does Manny become relative to some other players (i.e. Bay, Granderson, Werth, etc.)?

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @LaLa: He wouldn’t jump guys that are good in OPS. Ichiro just isn’t that strong there. (Or Ellsbury or other speed, light pop guys.)

  29. Eddy says:
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    @Grey:
    Do people who call soda “pop” refer to diet soda as “light pop”?

    hmmm…..

  30. LaLa says:
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    @Grey: Essentially Ichiro would be a huge drain in one category (OPS) while only contributing in 3 others (SB, R, and BA). Meanwhile, Manny has the potential to put up a fat OPS while contributing something of worth in 4 other categories (no SB).

    Do I follow?

  31. GopherDay says:
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    @Grey: Speaking of OPS, what is the average OPS you should be looking for? If you understand what I mean…

  32. royce! says:
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    To whomever wrote this, thanks, it was a great read and included thoughtful analysis.

    I think that Manny presents an interesting conundrum for fantasy leagues. All but James are projecting him to have a 2010 basically in line with his 2009 numbers, 400+ ABs, low to mid 20s HRs, and around 70 RBIs. If your analysis is correct (that the hand injury caused his slump, not postpartum depression or something equally emasculating), one would expect his numbers to rebound, and therefore for these projections to be wrong.

    His ADP on MDC is 63, and shows that drafters do expect a rebound from him. But how much must he rebound to justify this rank? Last year, for a 5×5 league, the power bats that ended up ranked around 63 hit around 90/30/100/.280. For example, Ethier and A-Rod ended up around 63, and they hit around 30 HR and drove in around 100.

    Therefore, the wisdom of the crowd seems to be that Bill James’ projections (88/30/101/.296/1) will be correct. Now, no disrespect to Mr. James, but his offensive projections seem a bit high for everyone.

    Anyhow, interesting stuff, and thanks for sharing.

  33. YouthofToday says:
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    I’m definitely not touching ManRam this year. A 38 year old position player in the NL is a dangerous proposition unless he becomes a value pick… especially with 81 games at Dodger Stadium + 10 games at Petco and AT&T.

    I would like a Dodger fan perspective on the McCourts — as an Angel fan I can never get enough.

    Alright, on the serious note, the team’s rather apparent financial tightening will do wonders for DeWitt’s PT at 2B/3B. Dude could easily end up starting 150 games.

    DeJesus is a name to watch in the minors, especially if/when Furcal gets injured and/or starts to suck.

  34. Real Tom says:
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    Two of my favorite blogs… together!! What’s next, a beef jerky and mint chip ice cream sandwich?

    Well done, as always.

    This is unrelated, but I just read this. From Tim Dierkes at RotoAuthority, on David Wright bouncing back:

    “You may recall that Wright was struck in the head by a Matt Cain fastball on August 15th, an injury that he admitted remained in the back of his head a month later.”

    I thought it was toward the front of his head…

  35. To answer some questions…

    @AJ: DeWitt is likely the Opening Day starter unless he completely bombs in the spring. Carroll is a reserve/insurance at best, DeJesus missed all of last year with a broken leg, and Tony Abreu… got sent to Arizona to save some cash. God damn it.

    @royce: thanks! appreciated.

    @YouthOfToday: (NYHC? rad.) I probably can’t speak the truth about McCourt in polite company, but the succinct version is that we all hate him. But what most don’t know is that the divorce is just the cherry on top, not the cause. We hated him because he was so leveraged when he arrived… because he fired GM Dan Evans, who did a great job… because he fired GM Paul DePodesta, after just one offseason… because his awful wife accused Dodger fans of wanting to win (by signing Manny) more than they liked children (by putting that money towards parks)… and now this. I don’t care that they’ve made the playoffs 4 times in his 6 years as owner. Much of that is DESPITE him and the sooner we’re rid of him, the better.

    @RealTom: thanks! Do you comment on MSTI?

  36. royce! says:
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    @YouthofToday: Regarding ManRam, perhaps you should take a lesson from the band that shares your name:

    “It’s so easy to judge people by the way them seem to be
    We must overcome this problem to live life peacefully
    Break Down The walls!”

    Ha!

    But seriously, at what point does he become a value pick, in people’s estimation? Post-100? If CHONE and Marcel are accurate, he should rank at 100 to 120, and I doubt that he’ll make it that far in most drafts. On MDC, the latest he’s been drafted is 87.

  37. Real Tom says:
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    @Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness: I don’t think I’ve commented, but I also haven’t missed a post over the past 6 months or so. During the playoffs I pushed your blog to my friends. It’s been great.

    The Dodgers of the Decade series was a lot of fun, though the GM voting surprised me.

    So… I noticed Grey didn’t ask about Loney so you didn’t answer, but you’ve said that you still have hope he’ll improve. I know he’s not Mauer, but I’ve heard the same “the power will come” crap for the past few years and I’m wondering (along with the rest of the world) if it finally will. Care to throw out a prediction?

  38. Cubbies299 says:
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    Hey Grey. Question. Would you trade down in the 2nd round, basically going from guys like Felix Hernandez, Halladay or Werth to the later pick, where I’m basically looking at Wainwright, Aaron Hill, or BJ Upton in exchange for a 6th rounder? This is a keeper league, hence how shallow the draft is. At that 6th rounder, I’m looking at like Ian Stewart or a closer… At that point, it might be nice to have an extraneous pick to spend on a high upside guy (I know you like Stewart). Do you essentially do F-Her for Wainwright/Stewart?

  39. David says:
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    Grey, would you consider Bills over Hamels in relatively standard leagues this year?

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @David: They’re not far off, but no.

Comments are closed.