2019 Fantasy Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers Team Preview
C Austin Barnes — Fantasy owners thought Barnes was going to be a sleeper last season, but instead Yasmani Grandal had a stranglehold on the job and Barnes rarely played. Not that Grandal is gone, Barnes should have a legitimate chance to get at least 60% of the playing time. If he can get 400 at-bats, .270/15/50 is possible.
1B Max Muncy — Be honest, how many of you knew who Max Muncy was before the 2018 season started? I thought he was a “JAG” (Just a Guy) in Oakland, but it turned out that he became a prolific power hitting 1B for the Dodgers. Was last year an aberration? I don’t think so. In fact, I might talk up the possible regression at my draft to throw others off my trail.
2B Chris Taylor — There is no doubt that Taylor strikes out way too much, but he qualifies at SS and OF and will get 2B eligibility very early on in the season. He could go 20/15 this year and will most likely get overlooked due to the bigger names on the Dodgers roster. (SLEEPER)
SS Corey Seager — Seager missed most of last season with injuries, but back in 2017 he was considered one of the rising stars in the game. It’s hard to have full confidence when drafting him, because it’s hard to tell how he will play after undergoing major off-season surgery. I am planning on avoiding him mostly, but am willing to change my mind if he plays exceptionally well this spring.
3B Justin Turner — Turner is what I like to call a professional hitter. He hits for a great average and has enough power to hit 20-25 HRs. He has dealt with injuries for the past two seasons, but if he’s healthy you might get him at a nice discount considering his injury history might keep some teams away from paying full value for him.
OF A.J. Pollock — The two words that come to mind for me about Pollock are, ‘What if?” What if Pollock stayed healthy for a season? What if Pollock got 600 at bats? What if I draft him yet again and he burns me? He is the ultimate boom or bust pick. As a risk taker, I will draft him, but I will make sure that I have a solid reserve outfielder on my team just in case.
OF Cody Bellinger — Bellinger was so good as a rookie in 2017 that I think many people would consider 2018 a disappointing year for him. Often though, hitters regress in their sophomore years as pitchers start to expose their weaknesses and the hitters try to press and hit everything out of the park. Bellinger is still only 23 years old and I think he is maturing as a hitter. I expect him to hit 30 HRs this season and he has an outside chance at 15 SB too if the Dodgers let him run. He’s got dual eligibility at 1B and OF and he will hit in the middle of the order of a potent lineup. Watch for 2019’s numbers to be somewhere in the middle of 2017 and 2018.
OF Joc Pederson — Joc has good power, but he’s a .250 hitter and only really excels in one category. He’s your typical $1 OF who goes for a few more dollars because he is a recognizable name on a good team.
OF Alex Verdugo — Right now Verudgo is the 4th OF for the Dodgers, but he has great potential and might end up being part of a platoon with Joc Pederson at some point early in the season. He’s only 22 years old and his power is still forming, so treat him as more of a dynasty play than as someone who can help you win your seasonal league. (Stash and Cash)
U Kike Hernandez — I love Hernandez in DFS as he slays LHP. In seasonal leagues, he will only get 2-3 starts per week, but he does have eligibility at multiple positions making him slightly more valuable than other util guys.
SP Clayton Kershaw — Father time catches up to all of us and it looks like he may be getting to Kershaw at the ripe age of 30. Kershaw’s body seems to have broken down and now he can barely stay off of the trainer’s table. As for drafting him this season, I am projecting 150 IP and I am not sure that the Dodgers will let him throw more than 100 pitches in any of his starts. Let someone else in your league take the chance on him.
SP Walker Buehler — While others are drafting Kershaw, I recommend you draft Buehler instead. Buehler is a special talent who will be the next ace of the Dodgers. The only potential hang up with Buehler is that I would doubt that he pitches more than 180 innings this season. I can also see the Dodgers placing him on the DL once or twice in order to keep him fresh for a playoff run. If you start your draft out with two hitters, Buehler would be a great add as your SP1 in round 3.
SP Rich Hill — Hill is still chugging along at 38 years old, pitching about 150 innings per year and still striking out over a batter per inning. I have little bad to say about Hill except that I won’t be drafting him. As a rule, I try to avoid older players whose career could start to turn downward at any time.
SP Kenta Maeda — I love Maeda and always look to draft him regardless of what role he has on the team. However, Fantasy owners who play in leagues where pitchers can only be used as starters or relievers need to pay special attention as the Dodgers have bounced him back and forth to the bullpen in the past and might do so again this year.
SP Hyun-Jin Ryu — For one reason or another, Ryu has only pitched 200 innings in the last three seasons combined. His skill set is tantalizing and when he pitches, he is amazing, but it’s hard to count on his presence. I will draft Ryu, but only if I have four pitchers better than him already on my roster.
SP Ross Stripling — I think Stripling is a terrific stash as a late round pick this season. Right now, he is the Dodgers 6th starter, but Hill is old, Ryu is oft injured, and Kershaw won’t throw more than 150 IP. Stripling might not start the season in the Dodgers rotation, but he will finish there. (SLEEPER)
SP Julio Urias — Urias is coming back from anterior capsule surgery and I would be shocked to see the Dodgers push him back too quickly. He should be a fixture in their rotation for years to come and I love him in dynasty formats. However, in seasonal leagues, I think 120 IP might be all that can be expected.
RP Kenley Jansen — Even with a heart issue and diminished velocity, Jansen is still one of the premier closers in baseball. That said, the Dodgers signing of Joe Kelly shows me that they are somewhat concerned with Jansen’s future and wanted a plan in place in case Jansen missed time this season. I would certainly not hesitate in drafting Jansen, but I might use my last round pick on Kelly just to play it safe.
RP Joe Kelly — Signed by the Dodgers in the off-season, Kelly has a lot of value in leagues that use holds as a category. He can also close in a pinch if Jansen is hurt again.