2020 Fantasy Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers Team Preview

Enjoy this preview of the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers brought to you by the folks over at FullTime Fantasy. Subscribe there for the full article with every need-to-know player!
Author:
Publish date:

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers have been on the doorstep of a World Series over the last three seasons. In 2019, They won the most games (106) in the team’s 136-year history, but LA lost in the league division series. The Dodgers made the postseason each of their previous seven years while winning the NL West each time and two trips to the World Series. They have six titles (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, and 1987 with 33 postseason appearances.

Los Angeles had the best ERA (3.37) in the majors with 18 shutouts and 44 saves. They moved to fifth in runs (886), fourth in home runs (279), and fourth in RBI (861).

In the offseason, the Dodgers pushed hard to acquire OF Mookie Betts from the Red Sox while also taking on SP David Price. They gave up IF Jeter Downs, OF Alex Verdugo, and C Connor Wong. In another deal, SP Kenta Maeda went to the Twins for RP Brusdar Graterol. LA signed SP Alex Wood, SP Jimmy Nelsen, and RP Blake Treinen.

LA is the favorite in the National League to make the World Series. They have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball while owning a dynamic offense with a mix of studs and upside talent. Their bullpen underperformed in 2019, but they have the right structure to excel again this year.

Starting Lineup

image1

1. OF Mookie Betts

Consistency has been a problem for Betts early in his career. He dominated in batting average in 2018 (.346) while offering a top-shelf floor in runs over the previous four years (122, 101, 129, and 135). His average hit rate (1.778) falls in a 30 home run range while his wide swings in his batting average are tied to his contact batting average (2017 – .302, 2018 – .420, and 2019 – .355). 

Betts played at a high-level with runners on base over his first four years in the majors, but he fell to a league-average player (15 percent) in this area in 2019 with continued weakness in his RBI chances (355). His bat did shine over the second half of 2018 (.325 with 16 HRs, 40 RBI, and six SBs over 252 at-bats). Betts lost value vs. lefties (.271 with six HRs and 13 RBI over 166 at-bats – .368 with nine HRs and 26 RBI over 125 at-bats in 2018). He owns top value in balls hit 95 MPH or more (235 – 4th). His swing path produces fly balls (43.8 percent), but his HR/FB rate (13.1) remains flat. Betts has a plus approach (K rate – 14.3 and walk rate (13.7). Clutch player waiting to get paid. 

Buy his expected edge in batting average with a high floor in runs, power, and speed while understanding he’s just reaching the prime of his career. The change to the NL may lower his ceiling in his power. 

image3

2. SS Corey Seager

After earning a full-time starting job for Los Angeles in 2016, fantasy owners haven’t seen the best of Seager yet. Last year he missed a month over the summer with a hamstring injury. His CTBA (.340) remains below his first two full seasons (.391 and .390). Seager saw fade in his walk rate (8.1) while owning a favorable strikeout rate (18.1). Seager had two productive months (May – .264 with five runs, five HRs, and 20 RBI and September – .291 with seven HRs and 26 RBI) while coming up short over his other 316 at-bats (.268 with seven HRs and 41 RBI). His batting average (.240) had risk against left-handed pitching, but he did have four HRs and 24 RBI over 167 at-bats. 

Seager had a low hard-hit rate (37.9 – 190th) with much more strength in this area in 2016 (43.8 – 44th). He had a more balanced swing path in 2019, but his HR/FB rate (12.3) still ranked below his success in 2016 (17.9) and 2017 (16.2). His RBI rate (18) screams middle of the order bat. 

In 2020, Seager should regain his high average swing along with a rebound in power. Based on his ADP (153), he is a complete steal. I fully expect him to hit over .300 while delivering a 100/30/100 season.

image2

3. 3B Justin Turner

Based on LA’s offensive roster in 2020, the Dodgers should open the season with alternating right-handed and left-handed bats at the top of the batting order. This structure gives Turner a tremendous supporting cast in front of him and behind him in the starting lineup. Over his four years with Los Angeles, Turner hit .298 with 293 runs, 89 home runs, 280 RBI, and 15 steals over 1,857 at-bats. Unfortunately, he failed to reach the 480 at-bats level in each of his previous three seasons. His AVH (1.755) had growth with a slight step back in his CTBA (.355). 

Turner did have some regression in his approach (strikeout rate – 16.0 and walk rate – 9.3) while remaining in a desirable area. His bat plays well against lefties (.288 with 12 HRs and 23 RBI over 160 at-bats). Turner had a quiet first half of the year (.279 with ten HRs and 34 RBI over 289 at-bats). His power emerged in July and August (.289 with 17 HRs and 32 RBI over 180 at-bats) before going down with left ankle sprain in September (5-for-27 with one HR and two RBI). Turner ranked 84th in hard-hit rate (43.4) while setting a career-best in his HR/FB rate (17.0), but his RBI rate (14) fell below his previous success (17 percent in 2018). 

An aging player who can’t be trusted for a full season of at-bats. With that said, Turner should have the best RBI opportunity in his career. I have to price him as a .300/80/20/80 player while understanding his upside and injury risk. His biggest question comes with his ADP (170). 

image5

4. OF Cody Bellinger

Bellinger was a mispriced asset last year. Despite a full season of games in 2018, he failed to match the power (25 HRs) or RBIs (76) of his rookie season (39/97). Last season Bellinger turned into a beast with a significant step forward in strikeout rate (16.3 – 23.9 in 2018) and walk rate (14.4 – 10.9 in 2018). He set career highs in runs (121), home runs (47). RBI (115), steals (15), and batting average (.305). Bellinger finished as the third most valuable hitter by SIscore (10.03). He crushed right-handed pitching (.318 with 29 HRs and 71 RBI over 365 at-bats) with plenty of success against lefties (.280 with 18 HRs and 44 RBI over 193 at-bats). His season started with an excellent April (.431 with 32 runs, 14 HRs, 37 RBI, and five SBs over 109 at-bats), setting up a great first half (.336 with 70 runs, 30 HRs, 71 RBI, and eight SBs over 318 at-bats). 

After the All-Star break, Bellinger only hit .263 with 17 home runs, 44 RBI, and seven stolen bases over 240 at-bats. Both his CTBA (.378) and AVH (2.065) fell in line with his 2017 season while adding more value to his RBI rate (17). Bellinger finished 50th in hard-hit rate (45.5). His swing path is fly-ball favoring (42.4 percent) with strength in his HR/FB rate (24.6). Over his three seasons in the majors, Bellinger had plenty of RBI chances (411 per season), which will only improve with Mookie Betts hitting in front of him. 

He’ll be a top-five player drafted in 2020 with all the tools to be a five-category stud. I’ll set his floor at .280 with 110 runs, 40 home runs, 125 RBI, and 20 steals.

image4

5. 1B Max Muncy

Muncy maintained his AVH (2.057) while doing a good job with runners on base (RBI rate – 18). He finished with a better than expected opportunity (589 plate appearances) thanks to his ability to play three positions (1B, 2B, and 3B). His strikeout rate (25.3) continues to be a negative with regression in CTBA (.361). 

Muncy has an elite walk rate (15.3), which led to a jump in runs scored (101) also helped by hitting second in the batting order for about 44 percent of his at-bats. His bat had the best success in May and June (.289 with 41 runs, 15 HRs, and 40 RBI over 190 at-bats) while losing momentum in batting average (.216 with 49 runs, 15 HRs, and 41 RBI over his final 204 at-bats) over the second half of the year. He missed some time in September due to a right wrist injury and a quad issue. Muncy ended up 83rd in hard-hit rate (43.4). His HR/FB rate (26.5) is elite, even with a slight pullback off 2018 (29.4). His swing path had less loft last year (38.7 fly-ball rate – 44.9 in 2018). He hit better against left-handed pitching (.286 with 11 HRs and 38 RBI over 157 at-bats). In 2020, Muncy may hit second or fifth in the batting order. 

One position rewards him more in runs and the other RBI. His ADP (75) paints him as a top tier player. I see plenty of at-bats and power, but the Dodgers will sit him at times. Trending toward a 40 home run hitter with value in runs and RBI. 

To view the full starting lineup, bench & top prospects, which also includes player analysis for A.J. Pollock, Will Smith, Gavin Lux, Keibert Ruiz, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Austin Barnes and Matt Beaty, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers Team Outlook

Pitching Staff

image15

SP1 Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw may not be the pitcher he once was, but it would be tough to bump him off ace status for the Dodgers based on his elite resume (169-74 with a 2.44 ERA and 2,464 Ks over 2,274.2 innings). A left shoulder injury in spring training led to him sliding in all fantasy formats in 2019. Kershaw ended up missing the first 17 games of the season. He allowed two runs or fewer in 16 of his 28 starts while never giving up more than four runs in a contest. 

After the All-Star break (9-3 with a 2.95 ERA and 98 Ks over 79.1 innings), Kershaw regained his strikeout rate (11.1). His AFB (90.5) was a career-low while no longer being an edge in velocity. He still has a plus slider (.224 BAA), and curveball (.232 BAA) plus his four-seamer (.232 BAA) had success. Kershaw gave up the most home runs of his career in home runs (1.4 per nine) while seeing a spike in his HR/FB rate (18.5 – 12.7 in 2018 and 9.0 in his career). His ADP (56) ranks 17th for starters in 2020. Over his last four seasons, he averaged 25.5 starts and about 166 innings per season. 

Even with an excellent 12-year career, it will be tough to get behind Kershaw this draft season. I’d like to see more life on his fastball with no complication in March. The Dodgers are going to win a ton of games, and his stuff still gets batters out. More of a 3.25 ERA and 200 strikeouts if he makes 30 starts.

image16

SP2 Walker Buehler

Last year Buehler pitched like Clayton Kershaw as far as 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 (96.9) creates a big edge (four-seam – .209 BAA and sinker – .164 BAA). Buehler uses his slider (.196 BAA), curveball (.245 BAA), and cutter (.250 BAA) about the same percentage of the time. In 2019, he lost some of his ground ball rate (42.7 – 50.0 in 2018). 

His arm can be found in the second round of most drafts with an ADP of 17. Pushing toward impact wins with a sub 2.50 ERA and 250 strikeouts.

image17

SP3 David Price

Boston did indeed trade Price in a deal with Mookie Betts to cut their payroll. They owned him $32 million for each of the next three seasons. Over four years with the Red Sox, he went 46-24 with fade in both his ERA (3.84) and WHIP (1.204). Home runs allowed have been a problem over the past 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 K rate (10.7) in 2019. Last year after struggling in his first two starts (eight runs and 15 baserunners over 12 innings), Price appeared to be on a path for a useful season (7-1 over 15 starts with a 2.71 ERA and 89 Ks 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 Ks). 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 final two months of the season. 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 it was masked by his disaster run in late July. 

This draft season Price has an ADP of 190 as the 73rd 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-plus strikeouts if he can make 30 starts. The move to LA should help his ERA and WHIP.

image22

CL/RP Kenley Jansen

Just when the Dodgers are ready to make a long extended World Series run, their elite closer is starting to run on fumes. In 2019, Jansen blew eight of his 41 saves chances with regression in his ERA (3.71) and more risk in his HR/9 rate (1.3). His walk rate (2.3) remains low while trending higher. He struggled in six of his first 17 games, which led to a 4.67 ERA, and four home runs over 17.1 innings. 

After a correction over his next 21 innings (3.05 ERA, 27 Ks, and 11 SVs), Jansen looked shaky down the stretch (4.74 ERA) while blowing five of 15 save tries. He served up eight of his 13 home runs to left-handed batters (.198 over 131 at-bats). His AFB (93.5) and cutter (92.0) were career-lows. Hitters did struggle to hit all three of his pitches (cutter – .235 BAA, sinker – .160 BAA, and slider – .135 BAA). 

With 301 career saves under his belt with a 2.35 ERA and 903 strikeouts over 611.2 innings, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt based on his falling ADP (128). Los Angeles will win a ton of games, which points to 40-plus saves with a rebound in ERA and over 80 strikeouts.

To view the full pitching staff, which also includes player analysis for Julio Urias, Dustin May, Alex Wood, Ross Stripling, Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers Team Outlook