Welcome to the 2017 Razzball Team Previews! You’ll find everything you need to know about each team to get yourself ready for the upcoming fantasy baseball season. And I do mean everything, everybody. We’ve got line-ups, charts, numbers, projections, questionable questions, smarter answer, potent potables and well, that’s a lie. No potables here, but plenty of potent fantasy names brimming with potential. Now’s the time to be an eternal optimist for the next six weeks. So, we’ve got a team to preview and questions to ask. Let’s get after it!
A quick note on the format. Each preview will feature six questions to a team’s blog writer. Are there only six great fantasy questions for each team? Of course not, but THAT’S WHAT THE COMMENTS ARE FOR! So, enjoy the thoughts of another writer, the dialogue on each team, and then continue the conversation in the comments!
We have a very special guest for this post, Chad Moriyama, to provide his take on what the team has in store this season. Now enough rambling, let’s see what 2017 holds for the Los Angeles Dodgers!
2017 Los Angeles Dodgers Depth Chart & Projections
|1B/OF||Scott Van Slyke||149||18||5||19||2||0.240||0.726|
Note: Projections provided by Steamer.
M@: The Dodgers lineup is filled with solid names, including a top option in Rookie of the Year, Corey Seager. He burst onto the scene last year to solidify a Dodgers lineup that was susepctible due to a few disappointing performances. With some young’ns coming up (that’s for the next question), some already there in the form of Joc Pederson, Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig, and then savvy vets like Adrian Gonzalea and Justin Turner, the ceiling is vaulted like the grand parlor of a mansion. So, of all those names, which player leads the team in HR in 2017?
Chad Moriyama: Joc Pederson. While it’s true that he’ll likely be platooned and loses plate appearances that way, he puts the ball in the air frequently and barrels the ball with regularity, and he’s the only Dodger to post 25+ homers the past two years. Joc was well on his way to 30+ last year if not for running into a wall in Miller Park, so he seems like a safe bet. Yasmani Grandal always seems to be limited to 120 games or so and Corey Seager doesn’t put the ball in the air frequently enough yet. Justin Turner is another solid option, but I’ll bet on the upside and raw power of Joc.
M@: On opposite ends of the spectrum the Dodgers have Adrian Gonzalez and Joc Pederson. Adrian’s easily labeled as a declining power bat that now closer resembles James Loney than Edwin Encarnacion. Man…it’s hard writing that. Now, it may be a little stretch to use those two names, as he’s probably situated in the middle somewhere, but the past few seasons have seen his fantasy luster dim considerably. Meanwhile, in young Joc (not the rapper) the Dodgers have someone that should emerge into the elite stratosphere that Adrian once lived in, but has yet to put together the full promise of his minors numbers with the big club. He’s still laughingly young, and Adrian’s not washed up, but which of the two has a better chance to climb a tier in 2017 from the previous two seasons?
Chad Moriyama: Easily Joc Pederson. Adrian Gonzalez is no slouch, but the nagging injuries seem to be limiting him more and more as the years pass, and he does resemble more of a gap-to-gap threat nowadays. Joc, on the other hand, is trending upward. Not only in his OPS, but his contact rate jumped almost 10% in 2016, while his swinging strike rate fell 4%. It’s an amazing amount of progress in just a year’s time, and while I think he’ll always have his flaws, I do think he hasn’t attained his upside yet and 2017 could be the year he does so.
M@: There’s only one pitcher in fantasy I’d consider taking in the first round. And his name isn’t Max. Of course, King Kershaw was as dominant as ever last year before an injury halted his record-breaking pace. Now, for the first time, the seems to be a chink in the armor. How concerned are you with Clayton Kershaw’s injuries and his ability to maintain atop the pitching world for a full season?
Chad Moriyama: Any time a back injury is mentioned, there has to be a level of concern. It’s hard to predict if a re-injury will occur, but all signs have been encouraging thus far. I’m not concerned about his performance, because even while pitching through pain and the injury, when he came back last year he was as dominant as ever (1.29 ERA).
M@: Everyone loves getting an edge. As an expert on this team, give us some insider trading. Who is someone flying under the radar that will surprise us in 2017, making them an underrated option from Los Angeles?
Chad Moriyama: I actually want to say Yasiel Puig, but that might be more hope than anything else, so I’m gonna go with Alex Wood. You’ll have to monitor the rotation battle, but if Wood can win a rotation spot he could be a potential steal. Nobody seems to like him much, including Dodger fans, but he quietly regained his 2014 form last year. Wood’s command was steady, but he posted his highest strikeout rate of his career in 2016. More importantly, after struggling in April he made a mechanical adjustment in May and put up a 3.18 ERA and 2.93 FIP in the month. Of course, he was felled by an elbow injury he reportedly suffered swinging a bat soon after, so the question marks are apparent, but he could be a steal if he comes out of the gate in 2017 pitching like he was in 2016.
M@: Now on the flip side, who is someone on this roster that everyone may be targeting but is an overrated option just waiting to disappoint us?
Chad Moriyama: I’m not sure there’s anybody that overrated on the Dodgers as I think all of the warts of the players who could struggle are known (Hill and injuries, left field playing time mess, Puig’s last two years). So maybe I would go with Julio Urias. Don’t get me wrong, I have all the confidence in the world in Urias to produce, but he’s been getting a lot of hype, and he might not even pitch for the Dodgers until May or later due to an innings limit. From a fantasy perspective having to roster an active player who does nothing for an indefinite amount of time seems like a pain.
M@: Let’s time travel. At the end of 2017 what will this team’s final record be, and how will we remember their year?
Chad Moriyama: This is the most confident I’ve been in a Dodgers team in a while, which reflexively makes me think this is the year they miss the playoffs because baseball. However, the reality is that this is an extremely deep and talented roster and I expect them to win at least 93 games in 2017 (hopefully closer to 95). While I’d never want to predict what could happen in the playoffs, I do think they have the horses to potentially win the World Series.
NOW DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Thanks, Chad, for the conversation about the Dodgers in 2017! Make sure to catch more of Chad’s writings at Dodgers Digest, and keep checking back. More 2017 Team Previews to come!