Welcome to another edition of the 2013 MLB Season Preview – Daily Fantasy Baseball Strategy.
With the baseball season just a couple of months away, we’ll go through the roster of every MLB team and break it down from a daily fantasy standpoint. Which players can help your team win, and which ones will you want to avoid in the first couple of weeks?
The L.A. Dodgers are the first of the three California teams in the NL West division.
The Dodgers were sold to a group including Magic Johnson last year, and the new owners have shown they are willing to spend big money. They traded for a few high-paid players last season, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez. This team won 86 games last year and had an active offseason. They brought in expensive free agents Zach Greinke and Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers’ personnel moves show they clearly want to win, but they still have to play 162 games to get to the postseason.
Luis Cruz – 3B: The 28-year-old third baseman got his first real chance in the majors last year and took full advantage of it. He was called up in May and managed to hit .297/.322/.431 over 78 games. He is likely to bat 7th or 8th in the lineup, which isn’t ideal for his daily fantasy upside, but his low salary should make him an interesting play in good matchups.
A.J. Ellis – C: Ellis is another older player that had his first full MLB season in 2012. He hit .270/.373/.414 with 15 HRs and 52 RBIs through 133 games. He was better facing RHP’s (.285/.382/.434.). and he’ll be worth a look against in those matchups for an inexpensive play.
Clayton Kershaw – SP: Kershaw is one of the consistent superstars who’s always good for daily fantasy if you can afford him. He’s had an ERA under 3.00 in each of last four seasons, while striking out 9.4 batters per 9 innings. Kershaw has pitched 461 innings over the last two years. He has a huge upside and a high floor in daily fantasy, so you know exactly what you paying for when you take him.
YOU SHOULD AVOID
Carl Crawford – LF: Crawford was a star for years in Tampa, but he’s struggled to stay healthy the last two seasons since signing a huge free agent contract with the Red Sox. Crawford is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, but is on track for spring training and should start Opening Day. He’s not a good daily fantasy option as he played only 31 games last year, and we don’t know what to expect after his injury. We should wait and see how he performs before using him in daily fantasy lineups.
Matt Kemp – CF: Kemp is a stud, but he’s also coming off an injury and he underwent shoulder surgery in October. He already resumed
batting practice and should be ready to return on Opening Day. I don’t expect his price to drop at all, making him a big risk until he proves he’s back to his old form. If you can find him for a discounted salary he will be worth a look.
Hanley Ramirez – SS: Hanley is another struggling LA star, but injuries aren’t main reason for his diminished performance. He’s only hit .252/.326/.416 over the last two seasons, after being a .313/.386/.521 hitter from 2006 to 2010. We can’t count on “old” Ramirez to magically appear this season, and it’s possible his salary will be inflated because of his great years. I recommend you avoid him in daily fantasy until he returns to his old form, and I don’t think that happens.
Mark Ellis – 2B: Ellis is not a good hitter at this point of his career, having hit .258/.333/.364 with 7 HRs, 31 RBIs and just 5 stolen bases last year. His average isn’t great and his inability to hit for power or steal bases limits his upside. There are other cheap second basemen with much higher potential, so there is really no reason to play Ellis.
PITCHER/HITTER MATCHUP TO WATCH
Andre Ethier – RF: Ethier is a solid hitter with a .284/.351/.460 slash line from last season, but his splits are drastically better against right handed pitchers. He hit .325/.398/.546 against RHP and only .222/.276/.330 against lefties last season. He’s shown this same trend throughout his career, so be sure to target him when he faces a right-handed pitching.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – SP: The Dodgers committed $61 million to Ryu between the posting fee and his contract, so they expect big things from the young Korean. It’s tough to predict how he’ll start his MLB career or what his daily fantasy salary will be. If history has shown us anything, the Asian pitchers are usually strong starters in the MLB but there is no guarantee. He may be worth a speculative GPP play if his price isn’t too high, and we’ll have better idea of what to expect after couple starts.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Los Angeles Dodgers preview, and stay tuned for other 2013 MLB Season Previews. Also, don’t forget to check out our other articles at Daily Fantasy Radio.