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“Alluhring Strategy” Team Preview: 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers

The Smell of Spring Brings Another Year To Bleed Dodger Blue

This week we take a 30 mile drive up the I-5 to Chavez Ravine and take a look at the 2017, Los Angeles Dodgers. Living in the Greater LA Area during a time when the Lakers are bad, I have noticed that the Dodgers seem to be the toast of the town (although the Clippers have recently been well represented). Everyone is wearing Dodger caps and the buzz that was so loud in October is starting to return. Dodger fans sometimes get a bad rap, as they often show up in the 3rd inning and leave during the 7th inning stretch. The fans that I have been talking to that “bleed Dodger Blue” would say that those are not true Dodger fans. Those “fans” are the business men entertaining guests from out of town and trying finalize a transaction of some kind. The true fans, sit out in the bleachers or the nose-bleed seats because those are what is available to the average fan. These fans do have a lot to be excited about in 2017.

2016 was a fantastic year for the Dodgers as they finished with a record of 91-71 putting them in 1st place, four games ahead of the hated San Francisco Giants. They went on to slip past the Washington Nations in five games during the NLDS. The season did end on a down note after being knocked out of the NLCS by the Chicago Cubs in six games. How will the club respond to falling just short of the World Series? Well they definitely have no intention of accepting this defeat. The All-Star brain-trust of Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes and Alex Anthopoulos got to work and immediately begin re-signing key players and establishing depth with some new pieces

Key Off-Season Transactions

Re-Signed:

  1. Rich Hill LHP (Free Agent)
  2. Kenley Jansen CL (FA)
  3. Justin Turner 3B (FA)
  4. Yasmani Grandal C (Arbitration Eligible)
  5. Chase Utley INF (FA)

Perhaps the most important transactions of the off-season wasn’t who was added or lost, but who they were able to re-sign. Locking down one of the premiere closers in the game and a significant Left-handed starter that slots in the #3 spot in the rotation is “huge.” In addition, they retained Justin Turner who had a career year at 3B and starting catcher, Yasmani Grandal. Utley rounds out the group as the utility infielder. He may be a little long in the tooth, but your infield is pretty damn good if Utley is coming off your bench. These were key signings to “keep the band together” for another run this year, hopefully deeper into October.

Additions:

  1. Logan Forsythe 2B (trade with TB)
  2. Sergio Romo RP (signed as FA)
  3. Darnell Sweeney MI (trade with PHI)
  4. Franklin Gutierrez OF (signed as FA)

There were not many new faces added this off-season and of these was former Farmhand, Darnell Sweeney, returning to the fold. Then they trade for Logan Forsythe and greatly strengthen their lineup while making it that Sweeney is unlikely to see Dodger Stadium this year unless there is a significant injury. Romo should bolster mediocre bullpen (other than Kenley of course) and Gutierrez provides some depth in the outfield. Personally, I would have rather see them give Trayce Thompson a shot but Gutierrez does have experience in a platoon situation which is likely how the Dodgers will play it in LF this season.

Subtractions:

  1. Brett Anderson (FA)
  2. Josh Reddick (FA)
  3. Jesse Chavez (FA)
  4. Joe Blanton (FA)
  5. JP Howell (FA)
  6. Carlos Ruiz (trade with SEA)
  7. Howie Kendrick (trade with PHI)
  8. Jose De Leon (trade with TB)

I was surprised to see them move their top pitching prospect in Jose De Leon to Tampa. If the Dodgers truly believe that Forsythe is the missing piece to get them into the World Series, than it was worth it to trade from strength. From the perspective of someone who primarily places in dynasty leagues, De Leon is tough to give up for a 30-year-old with one year left on his contract with only one more year as a Club option after that. Reddick was a nice piece, but they were never going to re-sign him. He was an expensive late season push to the Promised Land that just fell short. The rest on this list will most likely have their spots filled with equal talent.

Projected Opening Day Roster Notables

Lineup

  1. Logan Forsythe 2B (R)
  2. Corey Seager SS (L)
  3. Justin Turner 3B (R)
  4. Adrian Gonzalez 1B (L)
  5. Yasmani Grandal C (S)
  6. Joc Pederson CF (L)
  7. Yaisel Puig RF (R)
  8. Andrew Toles LF (L) / Franklin Gutierrez LF (R)
  9. PITCHER

Although there isn’t anyone that would fit the traditional lead-off hitter profile, they don’t really need one. There is power from slots 1 through 7 and it is extremely long for a National League lineup. I love how this lineup slots in as almost perfectly alternating between left-handed and right-handed batters. If Puig has a bounce-back season like I believe he will, the top 7 guys in the lineup could realistically ALL hit 20+ HRs this season. On the flip side, they might struggle to steal 20 bases combined. Last season the team was in the middle of the pack in the NL in most offensive categories. I expect improvements in nearly every offensive categories (except SB) and the support will make this starting rotation even scarier. Adrian Gonzalez will be 35 this season and had a somewhat down year in 2016. Look for him to earn his $22 million this year as he anchors a fearsome lineup and gets back to 25 HRs and 100 RBIs.

Rotation

  1. Clayton Kershaw LHP
  2. Kenta Meada RHP
  3. Rich Hill LHP
  4. Scott Kazmir LHP
  5. Brandon McCarthy RHP

If Scott Kazmir pitches like he did in the first half of 2016, the Dodgers could have four guys in the rotation in the top 35 overall starting pitchers in baseball. With Ryu slated to come back from elbow surgery and Julio Urias lurking in AAA, there is no lack of starting pitching in Dodger Country. Every time that Clayton Kershaw takes the mound, its a must-see event. I am going to do everything I can to get to a Kershaw/Bumgardner battle this season. Rich Hill will solidify the rotation as he will be there for the entire season. As mentioned earlier, the lineup should give the rotation confidence to go out and pitch their game knowing the offense can pick them up if they are having a tough day.

Bullpen

  1. Kenley Jansen CL
  2. Pedro Baez 8th
  3. Sergio Romo 7th

Jansen is arguably the top closer in Major League baseball. After that, Baez and Romo represent decent set-up options with tons of experience. What they are lacking in the young fire-baller that so many teams are putting in their rotation to get outs in high-leverage situations. The Dodgers will be counting on experience over stuff and may find that their bullpen is a little too short. This is certainly an area that will need to be addressed in July.

Prospects to Know for 2017

  1. Brock Stewart (RHP) made his debut last season, but with a full rotation to start off the year, he gets to develop his slider and regain the command in AAA. If some of the veteran pitchers get banged up and/or need some rest this season, Stewart could get the call after Urias.
  2. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF) is the Dodgers top hitting prospect and is ready for the Major Leagues. He’s being cock-blocked by Adrian Gonzalez, but spent some time in the OF in 2016 and could find himself earning a call up later in the season if the Toles/Gutierrez combo isn’t working out. His power should play at the top level and even if is contact suffers, his plate discipline will average it out with a decent OBP.

Key Spring Training Position Battle

Left Field

As mentioned previously, it is likely that Toles and Gutierrez will use a straight platoon. Trayce is coming back from injury so he is not likely to be fully ready by Opening Day. The wildcard is Andre Either. He slots in as the 4th outfielder, but could also get more at bats if the “dynamic” platoon duo falters.

5th Starter

This is likely Brandon McCarthy’s spot to lose. Julio Urias wants that spot badly and could earn in this spring, but the Dodgers will likely go with veterans where they can so they can try and build a lead early in the season.

Fantasy Targets

Of course everyone wants Clayton Kershaw. I, for one, won’t spend a high enough pick on a pitcher to every be able to get him. My pitching target here is Scott Kazmir. I believe he bounces back this season if he’s healthy due to improved run-support and less pressure with three stud pitchers in front of him in the rotation. He can be a nice 4th/5th starter for your fantasy teams that can be grabbed in the late rounds. On the hitting side, if I’m starting a dynasty league, I consider drafting Corey Seager very high as a player to build a franchise around. If its a keeper league, I might reach a round early to secure him. Other than Seager, I like A-Gone to bounce back this year and look to grab him in the middle rounds and enjoy early round production from my first baseman.

2017 Team Outlook

The Dodgers will be good again this season. They secured their best players, added a few extra pieces and built enough depth to stay out of a significant losing streak. If Puig and A-Gone improve on down years and Forsythe is a spark at the top of the lineup, this team can win 95-97 games this season. Vegas set the bar at 94 1/2 for 2017 and I think there should beat that. The Cubs and Nats will be tough to get by in the playoffs this season, but I do expect the Dodgers to repeat as NL West champs and hold of the Giants. After all, it is not an even year and the Cubs snapped that magic crap last season.


Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
Owner, League Developer & Executive Commissioner

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 12th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #78 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we break down both West divisions. We will discuss potential lineups, rotations, bullpens, and any minor league potential for each team along with a heavy fantasy spin.

Our guests this week are Kevin Bzdek and Kevin O’Hara. Kevin Bzdek is one of our newest additions to our baseball writing staff in 2017. His articles publish every Friday morning. Kevin O’Hara is a big dynasty baseball fan and a moderator for the fantasy baseball community on reddit.com.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday March 19th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #79 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This week we will discuss player updates, players being overdrafted, and overall fantasy updates.

Our guest this week is Jon Merkel. Jon is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com in both baseball and football. His articles publish every Wednesday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I work to earn a living, but I live for every precious moment I can spend with my family and a passion for sports.

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