2021 Los Angeles Dodgers
After seven straight trips to the postseason without a World Series title, the Dodgers climbed the championship mountain in 2020. They won the NL East in each of the past eight years with a combined record of 714-481. Los Angeles has six other World Series titles (1955, 1958, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1988). They’ve also lost in the championship series 14 times, which included their first seven tries from 1916 to 1953.
The Dodgers led the majors in ERA (3.02), runs (349), and home runs (118).
Sensing a more challenging battle in their division, Los Angeles made a power move to sign SP Trevor Bauer in early February. They acquired RP Corey Knebel to improve their bullpen depth while also taking a flier on IF Sheldon Neuse in a minor deal with Oakland.
The Dodgers parted ways with OF Joc Pederson, 2B Enrique Hernandez, RP Pedro Baez, SP Alex Wood, and RP Jake McGee. LA re-signed 3B Justin Turner in mid-February.
The starting rotation has three elite arms at the front end plus three other young developing pitchers – Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. SP David Price is a bonus.
Los Angeles needs to find a new lockdown ninth-inning arm as RP Kenley Jansen seemed to be pitching on fumes in 2020. The Dodgers have plenty of live arms in their bullpen, but a player like Dustin May could be sensational late in games.
Offensively, the top of the lineup should be electric in power. C Will Smith is on the verge of becoming a top-tier home run hitting catcher, and 2B Gavin Lux has stud upside.
The Dodgers have the best roster in major league baseball. Their depth on the starting rotation should push their back to the World Series, and a loss would be a disappointing season.
1. OF Mookie Betts
Last year Betts finished fourth in the majors in SIscore (4.20) for hitters in 2020. His stats projected over a full season came to 127 runs, 43 home runs, 105 RBI, and 27 steals over 591 at-bats.
His contact batting average (.354) finished in a tight range over the past two seasons. Betts continues to have a top-tier RBI rate (19) while setting a career-high in his average hit rate (1.922).
Even with success, he did struggle against left-handed pitching (.200 with no home runs and two RBI over 55 at-bats). Betts hit .297 vs. lefties with 34 home runs, 109 RBI, and 42 steals over 805 at-bats) in his career. His bat was tremendous against right-handed pitching (.323 with 16 home runs and 37 RBI over 164 at-bats) in 2020.
Most of his production came in August (.315 with 10 home runs, 21 RBI, and five stolen bases over 92 at-bats).
He owns top value in balls hit 95 MPH or more (235 in 2019– 4th and 79 in 2020 – 15th). Betts has a rising fly ball rate (46.2 percent) while delivering a career-best HR/FB rate (19.1). His strikeout rate (15.5) remains favorable despite being the highest of his career. He also had a step back in his walk rate (9.8).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Betts is the fourth player drafted in most leagues in 2021. He creates a massive edge in runs with a chance to lead the league in batting average. His combination of power and speed makes him an excellent foundation bat with a five-category skill set. An outside chance at 140+ runs with 30 home runs, 85 RBI, and 20+ stolen bases.
2. SS Corey Seager
Seager played at an exceptional level in 2020 while being my breakout hitter of the year. He was on pace for 103 runs, 41 home runs, and 111 RBI over 572 at-bats. His production ranked 20th in SIscore (2.10) for hitters while leaving some stats on the table due to missing five games due to a back issue.
Even with growth in his game, Seager failed to beat his first two seasons (.391 and .390) in the majors in contact batting average (.371). His RBI rate (19) remains elite while setting a career-best in his average hit rate (1.908).
Seager took the lowest number of walks (7.3 percent) in his career, but he graded above the league average over his first five seasons (9.2). He was the toughest to strikeout (16.0 percent) in his career.
His hard-hit rate (55.9) was the second-best in baseball, along with his batted balls over 95 MPH (99). Seager added more loft to his swing in 2019 (39.2) and 2020 (39.0 – 33.4 in his career) while pushing his HR/FB rate (21.7) to an elite level and career-high.
In the postseason, he won the MVP in both the National League Championship Series and the World Series by going 17-for-49 with 15 runs, seven home runs, and 16 RBI.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Seager is an excellent major league player while owning a four tool skill set to lead a fantasy team. His shortfall in speed requires a fantasy owner to be creative when building their core batters in stolen bases. In essence, is batting average or steals more critical in your team building? Seager has a second-round ADP (36). He plays in a high-scoring offense with great players hitting in front of him in the batting order and behind him. I see a .320 bat with a floor of 100/30/100.
3. 3B Justin Turner
Turner played well in 2020 (.307 with four home runs and 23 RBI over 150 at-bats), but he failed to play a full season for the fourth straight year. A hamstring issue cost him 17 days from last August to mid-September.
His contact batting average (.371) remains strong while being in a tight range over the past four seasons (.367, .367, and .355). Turner never found his power stroke, leading to a step back in his average hit rate (1.500). He did play well with runners on base (RBI rate – 20).
He continues to have a low strikeout rate (15.9) with a much better walk rate (10.3) over the last four seasons.
Turner finished with his lowest HR/FB rate (7.3) since 2013 (3.8) while offering a fly-ball swing path (44.0) for the third time in four seasons. His hard-hit rate (44.0) ranked 95th in the majors.
Over the last four seasons, Turner hit .307 with 240 runs, 66 home runs, 213 RBI, and 12 stolen bases over 1,451 at-bats. He didn’t play in 146 games over this span (loss of about 26.7 percent of possible at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Turner is a good major league player who can hit for average while offering a 20/80 type skill set. He tends to get drafted higher (ADP – 170 in 2020) than his actual production due to his missed time from injuries. His early ADP is 220. After signing back with Los Angeles, his price point will surely rise.
4. OF Cody Bellinger
A year after ranking third in baseball in SIscore (10.03) for hitters, Bellinger slipped to 44th in 2020 (0.72).
His approach (strikeout rate – 17.3 and walk rate – 12.4) was only slightly off in 2020 (strikeout rate – 16.3 and walk rate – 14.4), but Bellinger lost his previous edge in his contact batting average (.298 – .378 in 2019).
He continues to have strength in his average hit rate (1.902). Bellinger struggled against left-handed pitching (.216 with three home runs and eight RBI over 74 at-bats), an area he excelled at in the previous season (.280 with 18 home runs and 44 RBI over 193 at-bats).
His bat has been exposed in the postseason (.189 over 201 at-bats with 24 runs, eight home runs, 26 RBI, and nine steals) while striking out 32.6 percent of the time.
Bellinger was productive in August (.255 with 22 runs, 10 home runs, and 20 stolen bases over 102 at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His ADP (16) looks too high based on his failure in 2020, but fantasy owners are willing to bet on production coming closer to 2019 this year. So far in his career, Bellinger has been a better player on odds years (.287 with 208 runs, 86 home runs, 212 RBI, and 25 stolen bases over 1,038 at-bats). The Dodgers have an excellent core of bats hitting in front of him, which points to a league-high in RBI chances, home runs, and RBI. I fully expect his batting average to rebound while creating an edge in runs and adding value in steals. Bellinger had right shoulder surgery (dislocated) last November.
5. 1B Max Muncy
Muncy earns his top-of-the-order opportunity due to his ability to take walks (15.7 – 15.2 in his career). He’s also been a better hitter in his career against left-handed pitching (.256 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI over 332 at-bats).
Last year he repeated his power edge in his average hit rate (2.026), but he had a massive decline in his contact batting average (.273 – .394 in 2018 and .361 in 2019). Muncy lowered his strikeout rate (24.2) for the second straight season.
Over three years with the Dodgers, he hit .244 with 212 runs, 82 home runs, 204 RBI, and eight steals over 1,085 at-bats. His on-base percentage (.372) helps his value in runs, despite an unfavorable batting average.
Muncy hit more fly-balls (42.1 percent) in 2020, but his HR/FB rate (19.7) was a three-year low.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: In his career, he has never had over 500 at-bats, which is partly due to his high walk total. Last year he was on pace for 97 runs, 32 home runs, and 73 RBI over 548.1 at-bats. The key number was his improved opportunity in playing time. Muncy has an ADP of 95 while creating the most edge as a second base option for a fantasy team. Only a .250 to .260 hitter with the bat to deliver 90 runs, 35 home runs, and 85 RBI.
6. C Will Smith
Smith had tremendous growth in his approach (strikeout rate – 16.1 and walk rate – 14.6) in his second season with the Dodgers. In his rookie year, he whiffed 26.5 percent of the time while also having struggles making contact in the minors (23.0 percent strikeout rate).
His average hit rate (2.000) has been in a 30+ home run area over the past four seasons at every stop. Smith has one of the highest fly-ball rates (49.5 – 51.9 in his short career) in the majors, with strength in his HR/FB rate (20.7). His hard-hit rate (48.4) ranked 44th.
Last year had an excellent approach (six walks and six strikeouts over 40 plate appearances) against lefties, but Smith failed to hit a home run with four RBI and a .294 batting average.
In the postseason, he did lose his rhythm and approach (14-for-63 with two home runs and 12 RBI while striking out 22 times).
Over two seasons with the Dodgers in a split role, Smith hit .268 with 53 runs, 23 home runs, 67 RBI, and two steals over 284 at-bats.
His minor league resume (.243 with 55 home runs, 180 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 1,034 at-bats) paints a weaker picture in batting average.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Smith looks to be on the verge of being a beast if he repeats his approach and secures 450+ at-bats. The second should be a given. His fly-ball swing will create tons of power, but also some easy outs. Smith draws the third-ranking at catcher in 2021 based on his early ADP (88). Next step: 30 home runs and 80+ RBI. His runs should be favorable, thanks to his ability to take walks.
7. OF A.J. Pollock
Pollock gave the Dodgers excellent at-bats at the backend of their starting lineup in 2020. He was on pace for 81 runs, 43 home runs, 92 RBI, and five steals over 529 at-bats. His SIscore (1.08) ranked 34th for hitters.
His strikeout rate (21.4) has been in a tight range over the past three seasons while being close to the league average. Pollock has a rising contact batting average (3.58), and his average hit rate (2.056) was well above his previous three seasons (1.807).
He drilled left-handed pitching (.345 with seven home runs and 15 RBI over 55 at-bats). Most of his damage came in September (.294 with 10 home runs and 17 RBI over 85 at-bats) while turning in an empty postseason (9-for-41 with no home runs and two RBI).
His fly-ball rate (39.9) is trending higher, along with his HR/FB rate (26.2 – 17.2 in 2019 and 17.1 in 2018).
Over his two seasons with the Dodgers, Pollock hit .270 with 79 runs, 31 home runs, 81 RBI, and seven stolen bases over 504 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Pollock has an early ADP of 193 as the 117th hitter off the board. His success last year should rank him higher even with some pullback in his power production. Stolen bases are no longer part of his equation, but he could still add a handful over a full season. Pollock has a history of injuries (325 missed games from 2016 to 2019), so insurance may be needed. Possible .280 with a floor of 70 runs, 25 home runs, and 75 RBI with 500 at-bats.
8. 2B Gavin Lux
The Dodgers drafted Lux with the 20th selection in the 2016 June MLB Amateur Draft.
Over four seasons in the minors, he hit .305 with 293 runs, 48 home runs, 193 RBI, and 52 steals over 1,578 at-bats. His walk rate (11.2) has a top-of-the-order value with an above the league average strikeout rate (18.3).
In 2019, Lux blossomed at AAA (.347 with 99 runs, 26 home runs, 76 RBI, and 10 stolen bases over 458 at-bats). LA called him up in September (.240 with two home runs, nine RBI, and two steals over 75 at-bats).
The sprint season hurt Lux’s opportunity last year. His bat never go rolling over his 63 at-bats (.175 with eight runs, three home runs, eight RBI, and one steal)
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His overall game projects well as a number two-hitter. Lux has an overall skill set that has a better than Chase Utley feel.
I expect sneaky speed with an edge in batting average once he gets some major league at-bats under his belt. Lux is the right kind of gamble based on his ADP (251). The structure of the Dodgers lineup paints him as a bottom-of-the-order hitter in 2021. He has an outside chance at .290 with 75 runs, 15 home runs, 70 RBI, and 10 steals if Chris Taylor doesn’t get in his way for playing time.
C Keibert Ruiz
Ruiz remains a top prospect for the Dodgers, but his path to starting at catcher in the majors hit a bump in the road with Will Smith upping his game.
They signed him as an international prospect at the age of 16 in 2015.
Over five seasons in the minors, he hit .299 with 29 home runs, 199 RBI, and four steals over 1,439 at-bats.
Ruiz had to repeat AA in 2019, which led to a regression in his game (.254 with four home runs and 25 RBI over 276 at-bats). The Dodgers gave him nine games at AAA (12-for-38 with nine runs, two home runs, and nine RBI).
His contact batting average (.281) lost a ton of momentum since 2016 (.426) at rookie ball. He continues to have a low average hit rate (1.329), which paints a low bar in power early in his career.
Ruiz has a short walk rate (6.6) while being tough to strikeout (9.5 percent).
Los Angeles gave him eight at-bats last year (2-for-8 with one home run and one RBI).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This season, he should start the year at AAA with a chance to win the backup catching job for the Dodgers. Ruiz needs to get stronger before expecting to offer help in home runs in the fantasy market. His early strength should be batting average.
2B Sheldon Neuse
The Dodgers added Neuse in a deal with the A’s for RP Adam Kolarek and OF Cody Thomas in mid-February.
His bat climbed a pair of levels in 2017, leading to a competitive season (.321 with 70 runs, 16 home runs, 79 RBI, and 14 steals over 442 at-bats). The next season he looked overmatched at AAA (.263 with five home runs and 55 RBI over 499 at-bats) while striking out 172 times (32.0 percent).
In 2019, Neuse looked to have found the fountain of juice when he bashed 27 home runs and 102 RBI over 498 at-bats. His batting average jumped to .317 with 40 fewer strikeouts (23.6 percent).
Oakland gave him 56 at-bats in the majors in 2019, which led to no home runs and seven RBI with 19 strikeouts (31.2 percent).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Only a player to follow this spring with his best hope being a bench role with the Dodgers. Neuse can hit for a high contact batting average, which offsets some of his downside with his swing-and-miss approach. His ticket to more at-bats comes with his ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark.
2B Chris Taylor
The DH's addition in 2020 helped Taylor regain some of his lost playing time in 2019 (366 at-bats).
His swing helped LA win when he hit .288 with 85 runs, 21 home runs, 72 RBI, and 17 steals over 514 at-bats. The following season Taylor led the NL in strikeouts (178), leading to a step back in production (.254/85/17/63/9).
In 2019, he had starting at-bats (253) before the All-Star break (.269 with eight home runs, 41 RBI, and seven steals). After a month on the injured list with a broken right forearm, Taylor hit .267 with 19 runs, four home runs, and 11 RBI over his final 105 at-bats.
His stats in 2020 projected over a full season came to 81 runs, 22 home runs, 86 RBI, and eight stolen bases over 500 at-bats.
Taylor has a high strikeout rate (25.7 – 27.2 in his career), but he did shave off a few strikeouts over the past two seasons (29.5 and 27.8). His walk rate (12.2) was the best of his career.
His fly-ball rate (27.6) was well below his career average (36.1), but Taylor did record the highest HR/FB rate (22.9) of his career.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Taylor will try to hold off Gavin Lux this year at second base while also working as a utility player. His success in his average hit rate (1.760) and contact batting average (.385) give him a floor of 20 home runs with a chance at a neutral batting average. The Dodgers lineup is deep, so Taylor will get his share of runs and RBI while chipping in with a few steals.
Austin Barnes (C): Barnes may have played his way off the major league roster after struggling over the past three seasons (.211 with 10 home runs, 39 RBI, and 10 stolen bases over 498 at-bats).
He did look like an intriguing backend catcher after his success in 2017 (.289 with eight home runs, 38 RBI, and four steals over 218 at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Barnes looks like an early season placeholder until Keibert Ruiz makes a push for at-bats in the majors.
Matt Beaty (1B): Beaty gave LA good at-bats (249) off the bench in 2019 (.265 with 36 runs, nine home runs, 46 RBI, and five steals), but he failed to earn more playing time last season (11-for-50 with two home runs and five RBI).
Over five seasons in the minors, Beaty hit .309 with 199 runs, 34 home runs, 218 RBI, and 13 stolen bases over 1,435 at-bats.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Beaty is a reasonable replacement option, but his major league playing time window looks minimal.
1. SP Clayton Kershaw
A summer back issue cost Kershaw two starts out of the gate while leading his ADP to slide in the mid-July drafts. The Dodgers limited his pitch count all year (no games with over 100 pitches). His back injury also cost him one start in the postseason.
Over his 10 games in the regular season, he allowed three runs or fewer in nine starts. His best run came from August 14 to September (4-0 with a 0.69 ERA, 10 hits, and 29 strikeouts over 26 innings).
His walk rate (1.2) was the second-best of his career, with a slight bump in his strikeout rate (9.6) from his regression in 2018 (8.6) and 2019 (9.5). Kershaw battled home runs (36 over 236.1 innings) over the last two seasons.
He has a slight rebound in his fastball (91.7 – 90.5 in 2019 and 94.3 in 2015). Batters struggled to hit all three of his pitches (four-seam fastball – .204 BAA, curveball – .197 BAA, and slider – .199 BAA).
Kershaw induced the most ground balls (53.0 percent) of his career while having a low fly-ball rate (30.9).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Kershaw remains one of the best pitchers in baseball with a Hall of Fame resume (176-76 with a 2.43 ERA and 2,526 strikeouts over 2,333 innings). His fastball doesn’t have the same zip while also battling a balky back. The Dodgers have strength in their bullpen, plus depth in viable starting pitching. Kershaw now projects to a six-inning with a sub 3.00 ERA and an edge in WHIP. I expect plenty of wins with over 200 strikeouts if he makes 32 starts. He has an earlier ADP of 33.
2. SP Trevor Bauer
After underachieving the upside of his arm in most seasons except 2018 (2.21 ERA), Bauer put all the pieces together last year. He led the American League in ERA (1.73) and WHIP (0.795 WHIP), highlighted by a pair of shutouts.
His growth came from a big step forward in his walk rate (2.1 – 3.5 in 2019 and 3.4 in his career). Bauer set a career-high in his strikeout rate (12.2) while offering strength over the past four seasons (10.9). Batters hit only .159 against him.
Bauer finished the year with an exceptional September (1.29 ERA and 46 strikeouts over 35 innings).
His AFB (93.8) came in one MPH lower than 2019 (94.8). All four of his pitches (four-seam fastball – .148 BAA, cutter – .171 BAA, slider – .081 BAA, and curveball – .170 BAA) provide an edge. The improvement of his four-seam fastball and cutter was key to his elite success.
Over the last three years, Bauer went 28-23 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.116 WHIP, and 574 strikeouts over 461.1 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Bauer is a workhorse for pitches thrown (97 or more in all of his 11 starts). His ability to pitch deep in games paired with a high power offense and a good bullpen gives him a chance to lead the National League in wins. Pitching on the Dodgers’ mound should lead a sub 3.00 ERA with a run at 275+ strikeouts with much more upside if he repeats his command. Bauer is the fourth pitcher drafted in February with an ADP of 16.
3. SP Walker Buehler
Anyone that drafted Buehler last year had a tough time competing in fantasy leagues. He picked up only one measly win while seeing his pitch count limited (only three games with over 80 pitches). A blister issue cost him a couple of starts in September.
His arm played well in the postseason (2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 39 strikeouts over 25 innings).
In 2019, Buehler pitched like Clayton Kershaw for walk rate (1.8) and strikeout rate (10.6), but he still lacks the length in games to be considered a workhorse ace.
His 2019 season began with two disaster showings in his first three starts (11 runs and 18 baserunners over 12 innings with nine Ks). By the end of June, Buehler pushed his ERA to 3.43 with 104 strikeouts over 97 innings despite two more rough outings (12 runs and 22 baserunners over 10.2 innings).
Over his final 14 starts, he went 6-3 with a 3.06 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 85.1 innings.
His AFB (97.1) creates a big edge (four-seam – .193 BAA and sinker – .183 BAA). Buehler uses his slider (.183 BAA), curveball (.241 BAA), and cutter (.2509BAA) about the same percentage of time.
He spiked in his HR/FB rate (17.9) with a rising fly-ball rate (41.9).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: His arm can be found in the second round of most drafts with an ADP of 19. Pushing toward impact wins with a sub 2.50 ERA and 250 strikeouts if the Dodgers take off the kid gloves. Invest in his playoff stats.
4. SP David Price
Price opted out of 2020 with concern with Covid.
Over four years with the Red Sox, he went 46-24 with a fade in his ERA (3.84) and WHIP (1.204). Home runs allowed have been a problem over the previous two seasons (1.3 per nine), with regression in his walk rate from 2017 to 2019 (2.9, 2.6, and 2.7 – 2.3 in his career).
Price did set a career-best in his strikeout rate (10.7) in 2019. After struggling in his first two starts (eight runs and 15 baserunners over 12 innings), Price appeared to be on a path for a winning season (7-1 over 15 starts with a 2.71 ERA and 89 strikeouts over 76.1 innings).
Coming out of the All-Star break, he did have a 3.16 ERA, but Price blew up in his next four starts (10.59 ERA and 37 base runners allowed over 17 innings with 24 strikeouts). Over this stretch, he served up seven home runs.
His failure came from a TFCC Cyst in his left wrist that needed surgery in late September while costing him most of the season's final two months.
His average fastball (92.4) was a career-low. His sinker (.275 BAA), changeup (.278 BAA), and cutter (.263 BAA) all lost value.
Overall, there was more good than bad in 2019, but his disaster run masked it in late July.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: This draft season, Price has an ADP of 180 as the 65th pitcher off the board. I can’t trust that he'll ever be a workhorse arm again, but I also can't dismiss a rebound in value. He has the talent to win 15 games with 200+ strikeouts if he can make 30 starts. The move to LA should help his ERA and WHIP.
5. SP Julio Urias
Over six seasons in the minors, Urias has a 15-8 record with a 2.76 ERA and 364 strikeouts over 310.1 innings.
He missed most of the 2018 season after his recovery from left shoulder surgery in June of 2017.
In 2019, Los Angeles pitched him for most of the bullpen season, which led to growth in his ERA (2.49).
The Dodgers gave Urias 10 starts last year, but he never recorded an out in the seventh inning or threw more than 86 pitches. His only struggles came in two starts (eight runs and 16 base runners over 8.1 innings) over a three-game stretch in late August and early September.
Urias had a 2.31 ERA over his other nine games with 33 strikeouts.
His strikeout rate (7.4) fell short of expectations with improvement in his walk rate (2.9).
Urias featured three plus pitches (four-seam – .178 BAA, slider – .161 BAA, and curveball – .233 BAA), but he lost the feel of his changeup (.278 BAA). His AFB (94.4) backed up from his career-high (95.2) in 2019, which was helped by his bullpen usage.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Urias has a developing arm, but he has never pitched over 90 innings in any season in his career. The Dodgers should push him close to 140 innings in 2021. His ADP (120) looks attractive based on the direction of his arm. Possible sub 3.00 ERA with 150 strikeouts, but wins could be an issue due to his depth pitched in games.
SP Dustin May
The Dodgers gave May 10 starts last year, but he had a quick hook in seven of his starts (5.1 innings or fewer) despite not throwing more than 88 pitches in any contest. May never allowed over two runs in his 12 appearances.
Over four seasons in the minors, he went 24-17 with a 3.50 ERA and 394 strikeouts over 403.2 innings.
May pushed his way from AA to the majors in 2019 while not losing beat on the big stage.
In LA, he threw strikes (walk rate – 2.1) while his strikeout rate (7.5) came in shorter than his minor league resume (8.8).
His AFB (99.2) is electric. May relies on a cutter (.208 BAA), curveball (.205 BAA), and a show-me changeup (.091). He had more struggles than expected with his sinker (.274 BAA with five home runs allowed over 117 at-bats).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Since the Trevor Bauer signing, May saw his ADP (186) start to slide. With 141.1 innings under his belt in 2019, he looks in a better position to pitch over 150 innings than Urias. The minor managing Dodgers may use him as a tandem starter with Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin. May is a future ace with beast upside, and he should be a target in drafts. A 162-game schedule gives him a much better chance to offer impact innings. On the wild side, May would be a great option to close games.
SP Tony Gonsolin
As a swingman over the past two seasons, Gonsolin showed he belonged (6-4 with a 2.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 86.2 innings).
He pitched a minimum of five innings over his final five starts with a 3.41 ERA and 29 strikeouts over 29 innings. His worst showing came in his last game (four runs and seven hits over six innings with no walks and six strikeouts).
His AFB (95.2) showed more life than in 2019 (93.6). Gonsolin has a plus split-finger fastball (.222 BAA) while owning an outstanding four-seam fastball (.189 BAA) and slider (.205 BAA).
Over four seasons in the minors, he went 20-14 with a 3.33 ERA, 315 strikeouts, and 10 saves over 270.1 innings.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Gonsolin pitched out of the bullpen in his first two seasons in the minors, but he didn’t find his stride until 2018 as a starter (10-2 with a 2.60 ERA and 155 strikeouts over 128 innings). His ADP (221) should also drift backward after the Trevor Bauer signing. I like his arm a lot. Gonsolin will get plenty of chances while remembering that he has pitched in the ninth before.
CL Kenley Jansen
In each of the previous four seasons, Jansen saw his WHIP drift higher (0.670, 0.746, 0.991, 1.063, and 1.151), which is tied to a rising walk rate (3.3 – 0.9 in 2017 and 2.4 in his career).
Last year he converted 11 of his 13 saves with strength in his strikeout rate (12.2). His ERA (3.33) has been well below his career average (2.39) over the past three seasons (3.34).
Most of his failure/damage came in back-to-back games in September (seven runs and nine base runners over 1.1 innings) that were played five days apart. Jansen only allowed two other runs over 23 innings with 32 strikeouts.
He picked up two saves in the postseason, but Jansen didn’t look sharp (four runs and eight baserunners over seven innings and eight strikeouts). In his career in the World Series, he has 4.40 ERA and 1.047 WHIP.
His AFB (92.4) was the lowest of his career, and his cutter lost about 2.9 MPH in velocity since 2017. Even with decline, all three of his pitches (sinker – .220 BAA, cutter – .212 BAA, and slider – .059 BAA) played well.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With 312 saves on his resume, Jansen remains the closer for the Dodgers. His 2020 season was better than it appeared from a distance, but he did allow 24 home runs over his last 159 innings in the regular season. Jansen has an ADP of 127 while pitching for a team that will win well over 100 games. I’d say buy insurance, but his replacement could come from multiple arms. At the very least, Jansen should get a fantasy out of the box in saves with a chance to surprise over the long season.
RP Brusdar Graterol
The future closer of the Dodgers lies in the right arm of Graterol.
Over four seasons in the minors, he went 19-6 with a 2.48 ERA and 230 strikeouts over 214 innings.
In 2019, Graterol made the transition from starter to reliever at AA. After struggling at AAA (5.06 ERA) in relief, Minnesota still called him up to the majors in September.
Over 10 appearances with the Twins, he posted a 4.66 ERA and 10 strikeouts over 9.2 innings while allowing a run or more in 30 percent of his appearances.
The Dodgers gave him 23 games of experience in 2020, leading to a 3.09 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 23.1 innings.
His strikeout rate (5.0) came in surprisingly low when considering his blistering fastball (99.2 MPH). Both his sinker (.237 BAA) and slider (.121 BAA) have success.
2021 Fantasy Outlook: With an ADP of 514, Graderol has a handcuff feel for Kenley Jansen. His next step is proving he has the guile to pitch in big games for a championship team. Once Graderol improves his swing and miss ability, he’ll become an electric late-inning arm.
RP Blake Treinen
Treinen made a step forward in his game and success in 2018. He delivered an impressive nine wins plus 38 saves and 100 strikeouts over 80.1 innings for the A’s.
His walk rate (2.4) was the best of his career while improving in each of the previous three seasons. His command's growth led to a spike in his strikeout rate (11.2 – 8.8 in his career).
In 2019, Treinen lost his control (5.7 walks per nine) while struggling with home runs (1.4 per nine). Other than walks (nine over 13.1 innings), his arm had success in his first 11 games (0.68 ERA, 17 strikeouts, and six saves).
By the All-Star break, he pitched himself out of the ninth inning with a lousy 25.1 innings (6.75 ERA and 1.776 WHIP). Treinen limped home with a 5.40 ERA over his final 20 innings.
Last year, his season started with a 1.04 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 17.1 innings. Treinen stumbled over his final 10 games (9.72 ERA, .351 BAA, and 1.680 WHIP) with disaster as well in the playoffs (six runs and 10 baserunners over 11.1 innings).
His AFB (97.0) was 1.3 MPH lower than 2018 (98.3). His slider (.182 BAA) and cutter (.059) had success last year, but batter drilled his sinker (.329).
2021 Fantasy Outlook: Treinen may be the fourth choice for the Dodgers, with a lot to prove in 2021. He should start the year in the seventh inning while trying to rebuild his 2018 confidence.
2021 Fantasy Baseball Team Outlooks