Friday, March 29, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Los Angeles Dodgers

Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections. 


We marveled at how loaded the St. Louis Cardinals' pitching staff was.

The Los Angeles Dodgers also have depth, but in a different kind of way.  

2013 Pitching Projections
Player
Team
K/BB
K/9
BB/9
H/9
WHIP
HR/9
Zack Greinke
Los Angeles
3.89
8.83
2.27
7.47
1.08
0.83
Clayton Kershaw
Los Angeles
3.70
9.28
2.51
7.05
1.06
0.60
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Los Angeles
3.17
8.31
2.62
8.80
1.27
0.89
Josh Beckett
Los Angeles
2.84
7.68
2.70
8.79
1.28
1.01
Chad Billingsley
Los Angeles
2.30
7.53
3.27
8.56
1.32
0.71
Brandon League
Los Angeles
2.13
6.75
3.18
8.34
1.28
0.53














Clayton Kershaw is the best left-handed starting pitcher and the 2nd best overall pitcher coming into the 2013 season.  What more do you want to know?

The Korean southpaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu had himself a very productive spring, but it remains to be seen how he will produce and endure in the Big Leagues.  Predicting Major League success from pitchers coming from Japan, Korea, or other parts in Asia has often been a difficult task.  Ryu, however, seems to have a good, pitching repertoire.  Plus he's only 26 so perhaps his projections are not too far to reach.  I cautiously listed him as a 3rd Tier pitcher, behind Miguel Gonzalez.  He might be worth the risk if you decide to draft him ahead of other 3rd Tier pitchers like Homer Bailey, Jeremy Hellickson, and Joe Blanton.  

Josh Beckett is the pitcher that follows Ryu on the starting pitchers' list.  Even if Beckett can attain the projected stats, that's still not a bad season out of him.  Especially when you consider how disastrous he was last year.  

Chad Billingsley has seen very little action this spring because of a bruised right index finger.  There's even a risk of him starting the year on the DL.  A concern for a guy who failed to start in more than 30 games last year for the first time since 2007.  However, if he stays healthy, despite the high WHIP, he can still be a serviceable pitcher in fantasy leagues.  Walks will drive you nuts, but considering he posted a BB/9 of +4 in 2011, his projected BB/9 is actually an improvement from the righty who has struggled in that aspect throughout his career.

Speaking of injuries, Zack Greinke seems to be at 50/50 to start the season on time.  He is questionable as he's recovering from elbow inflammation.  Other recent reports indicate that he will be ready, so stay tuned.  When Greinke is healthy, he's definitely a top 10 pitcher.

The closer situation is a mess as the Dodgers will be going with Brandon League, but based on his projections, he may not be the right option for the job.  Out of all the current closers, League has the 4th worst K/BB.  Many think it's only a matter of time before Kenley Jansen will take over. Jansen has been compared to Craig Kimbrel--the best closer in baseball.  You might want to handcuff these two or roll the dice with Jansen if you need saves and are banking on the idea that League won't last long in that role.  This is a situation to keep a close eye on as the season progresses.

Finally, the Dodgers are definitely deep in pitching, but not necessarily in a good way as they all have issues that prevented them from being on the starting rotation.  Injuries to Greinke and Billingsley brings hope to these pitchers so it's worth listing them:

  • Currently, Chris Capuano is listed as the #5 starter, but he comes with durability issues, advanced age, a disappointing finish in 2012, and is prone to giving up a lot of homeruns.
  • Aaron Harang 
  • Ted Lilly
    • Both pitchers are getting up there in age and have seen some production decrease in the last few seasons or so.  Plus the Dodgers would prefer if they'd stay in the bullpen.
  • Numerous pitching prospects, including Zach Lee
So as you can see, the Dodgers have depth in terms of pitchers that can step in and do the job, but they are not overwhelmingly, amazing options to place on a fantasy team.  They will have to wait for an injury to get their chance.

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