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DOs And DONTs: Los Angeles Dodgers

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DOs And DONTs: Los Angeles Dodgers

Posted on 15 February 2012 by Gary Marchese

Editor’s Note: The 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers might be a franchise in the middle of being sold, near bankruptcy and struggling for an identity.  That does not, however, mean that they cannot help you this year in your fantasy league.  Here is a look at do’s and don’ts for the Dodgers.

Do look at the Dodgers outfield.  They have quite an outfield with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera and Jerry Sands.  Matt Kemp was a triple crown candidate last season, Ethier is a good young player and Sands is up and coming.  Rivera is a solid veteran, you have plenty of outfield choices just on the Dodgers alone.  Ethier was at 292, 11, 62 last year with a 368 on base percentage.  Kemp was 324, 39, 126 with a 399 on base and 40 stolen bases.  Sands was at 253, 4, 26 last year in 61 games.  The Dodgers have high hopes for him though and he flashed some of that potential.  Rivera was 258, 11,74 with a 319 on base percentage.  I would put Ethier and Kemp high on my list, Sands good if your in a keeper league and Rivera as a good backup/bench player.

Don’t even look at the Dodgers catchers.  They really don’t have any catchers worth looking at.  They had Russell Martin and gave him away, I wonder what they think of that now.  Matt Trainor may be their starter now and he hit 214 last season with three homeruns and 22 RBI.  A.J. Ellis is a young player who played in 31 games last year hit 271 with two homeruns and 11 RBI.  Who knows what Ellis is, I would stay away from the Dodgers catchers.

Do consider James Loney a legitimate option at first base.  He hit 288 with 12 homeruns and 65 RBI last season.  He would like to improve on his power numbers but his on base was also at 339.  He hit’s a lot of doubles.

Don’t think Juan Uribe is a starter any longer.  He is a veteran but he is getting older and last year may be more of the norm for him.  He batted 204 last year with four homeruns and 28 RBI.  I would like to believe he will improve on that but how much so??  I wouldn’t think he would jump up to like 250 or so with 20 homeruns and 60 RBI.  I wouldn’t waste a pick on him.  He did only play 77 games last year and the two prior years hit 248 and 289 with 24 and 16 in homeruns.  I wouldn’t bet on him getting back to that level again though.

Do believe in the hype and potential of Dee Gordon.  He has been talked about as a future star and he has a good bloodline with his father being Tom “Flash” Gordon.  He hit 304 with 11 RBI in 56 games last season.  His on base percentage was 325 and he also had 24 stolen bases.  I would especially take him in a keeper league.  He is only 23 years old, will turn 24 in April and has his whole career ahead of him.

Don’t take too much time looking at the Dodgers relievers.  Todd Coffey, Blake Hawksworth and Kenley Janson are the names you know.  Coffey had a decent year but still not dominating and usually you want dominating relievers for fantasy teams.  You need the strikeout numbers, wins and the ERA.

On the flip side I would say I Do to their starting pitching.  They have Ted Lilly, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.  Kershaw is one of the best in baseball, Billingsley had a disappointing year last year but is still a young pitcher with potential, Lilly to me is one of the most underrated players in baseball, Harang is solid and Capuano can be a decent back of the rotation guy or reserve pitcher on your fantasy team.  Kershaws numbers:21-5 with a 2.28 ERA, five complete games and two shutouts.  He had 248 strikeouts and a .98 WHIP.  Billingsley:11-11 with a 4.21 ERA, one complete game, 152 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP.  Lilly was 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA, 158 strikeouts and a 1.16 WHIP.  Harang 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA, 124 strikeouts and a 1.37 WHIP.  Capuano who could be their fifth starter was 11-12 with a 4.55 ERA, one complete game and one shutout.  He had 168 strikeouts and a 1.35 WHIP.  Capuano would be the least likely to draft but could be an emergency signing or a backup pitcher.  He may not be that great but he also isn’t that bad.

Don’t be fooled by the name of Tony Gwynn.  He isn’t like his father at all.  He hit 256 with two homeruns and 22 RBI last season.  He did play 136 games and had a 308 on base percentage.  He did have 22 stolen bases.

Do take Jerry Hairston as a very capable backup outfielder or utility guy.  He hit 270 last year with five homeruns and 31 RBI.  He isn’t a big power guy and won’t drive in a ton of runs but he is a solid backup.  He could also steal some bases although last season he only had three.

I know I did less overall Dos and Don’ts in this article but I felt I covered more players.  I grouped a lot more into one paragraph such as the relievers, starters and catchers.  If you feel I missed anyone or would like to add to anything I said please feel free to comment here on the site.  If you have a twitter account feel free to follow me and interact with me there @gmarchesej, the site is also on face book, please like Full Spectrum baseball and comment and like the articles there.  Thank you for visiting and reading not just my articles but our whole team of talented writers.  I hope you look forward to these articles as I have a lot of fun looking at all the different teams, I will continue to do so throughout the entire season and we will have all your baseball especially fantasy baseball needs covered.

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Matt Kemp: The Real NL MVP

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Matt Kemp: The Real NL MVP

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Jared Thatcher

With all the media coverage of Ryan Braun’s alleged performance enhancing drug usage, many fans have called for him to surrender the MVP award. First of all, Major League Baseball can not force Braun to give up the award because it was not given out by them. Secondly, it would be terribly hard for them to prove that whatever he took actually helped him put up better numbers. He has always been a great hitter and is currently in his prime so why would anyone expect anything less than MVP caliber numbers? The real question is: Why was Braun voted the NL MVP in the first place?

Matt Kemp should have been the NL MVP, hands down. Let’s start with the 2011 Dodgers batting order. Kemp hit behind lead-off men Dee Gordon (.338 OBP) and Tony Gwynn Jr., neither of whom are very threatening in the lead-off role. Batting second was a combination of a rusty and slow Casey Blake, and sometimes the compact Aaron Miles. Once again, these guys are nothing to write home about. Kemp hit third in 158 PA but predominately hit fourth behind Andre Either. Either was on a tear at the beginning of the season but slowly faded out and was injured for a few games. He posted a nice .292 BA but has no power (11 HR) and did nothing on the base paths either. Kemp then hit fourth most of the time and was “protected” by James Loney in the five-spot. Loney hit .288 with 12 HR and he only drove in 65 runs. So how in the world did Kemp hit .324 with 39 HRs and 126 RBIs while scoring 115 runs? Who was driving him in? Who was on base when he was hitting for him to drive home? Let’s look at Ryan Braun now.

Ryan Braun hit third almost the entire season. Leading off the Brewers was Rickie Weeks (.347 OBP) who has power and some speed, and Corey Hart (.356 OBP) who has power and makes good contact. Batting second most of the year was Nyjer Morgan (.357 OBP) who has some speed (13 SB) and great plate discipline (.304 AVG). Then of course Braun hit and protecting him in the clean up spot was Prince Fielder. Fielder drove in 120 runs with 38 HR and a .299 average. That is what a hitter in the 3-hole wants as protection. No one would walk or pitch around Braun just so they could get to Fielder. That’s a pretty good 1-4 in the lineup and it allowed Braun to hit .332 with 33 HR and 111 RBIs. Those are great numbers but what if Matt Kemp was hitting third in that lineup!?!

Kemp beat out Braun in almost every category except for slugging percentage and OPS. Kemp led the NL in runs scored (115), HR (39), RBIs (126),stolen bases (40), wins above replacement (10.0), total bases (353), and runs created (141). These numbers are all pretty close between the two players but lets look at the teams they played on. The Dodgers lineup was mediocre at best (see above paragraphs) and they finished the season 82-79, just above .500 for the season. Without Kemp’s 10.0 wins above replacement the Dodgers would have finished 72-89 in 2011, putting them in fourth place and only one win above last place in the division. Kemp scored 17.8% of the Dodgers runs himself and he drove in 19.6% of the Dodgers runs. Braun on the other hand was only worth 7.7 wins above replacement (still really good) so without him the Brewers would have finished the season at about 89-73, still allowing them to be in the wild card race and only one game back from clinching the division. In other words the Brewers would have still been really good. Braun was better than Kemp defensively but he plays a less rigorous position in LF than Kemp plays in CF.

I hope I haven’t lost you or bored you by all the stats and comparisons in the last couple of paragraphs. I said all of that to say this: Matt Kemp was much more valuable of a player to the Dodgers than Ryan Braun was to the Brewers. Kemp was superior in almost every category while playing for a less talented team. Braun was surrounded by talent on a better team and was a valuable asset to them during their playoff run in 2011, but he should not have been named the NL MVP. Matt Kemp got snuffed this year and if Braun really did use PEDs, it makes Kemp’s season look even that more impressive. Next year I hope the voters get it right and give the MVP award to the player who really was his teams Most Valuable Player.

 

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