The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the best rosters in the Majors. They are loaded with established veterans, enthusiastic youth and one of the best starting rotations in the league. This could be a big season for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers have deep pockets and have been throwing money at players since they signed their lucrative TV deal. They didn’t splurge this offseason on free agents, but they did do some targeted trades. They knew what they needed and went out and filled holes.
Don Mattingly has been on the hot seat since the Dodgers hired him. He has dealt with lofty expectations and um, Yasiel Puig’s antics. Can he corral Puig’s shenanigans and keep him in line this season?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the Los Angels Dodgers.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 94-68
Key Additions: SS Jimmy Rollins, 2B Howie Kendrick, SP Brett Anderson, SP Brandon Beachy, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Brandon McCarthy, SP Juan Nicasio, RP Mike Adams, RP Chris Hatcher, RP Joel Peralta, OF Chris Heisey, SP Mike Bolsinger, SP Joe Wieland, RP David Aardsma, SP Erik Bedard, RP David Huff & RP Sergio Santos
Key Losses: OF Matt Kemp, SS Hanley Ramirez, SP Dan Haren, SS Dee Gordon, RP Jamey Wright, RP Brian Wilson, RP Chris Perez, C Drew Butera, SS Miguel Rojas, C Tim Federowicz, Paul Maholm, SP Josh Beckett & SP Roberto Hernandez
Interleague Schedule: AL West
Projected Starters: Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Juan Uribe, Jimmy Rollins, Joc Pederson, Carl Crawford & Yasiel Puig
Projected Starting Rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon McCarthy & Brett Anderson
Closer: Kenley Jansen
Fantasy Sleeper: 2B Alex Guerrero – Guerrero was supposed to be on the big league roster at some point last season, but Dee Gordon had a career year. Guerrero was in Triple-A hitting .329 and crushed 15 homers in only 243 at-bats. The Dodgers added Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick in the offseason, so Guerrero looks like he doesn’t have a role in the middle-infield at the moment. The Dodgers signed him to a four-year, $28 million contract before last season. They should be able to find a role for him somewhere.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SS Corey Seager – The rich just keep getting richer. The Dodgers always seem to have a stocked farm system. Seager destroyed minor-league pitching in 2014. He hit over .350 and knocked 20 homers in Hi-A and Double-A. He should start the season in Triple-A and will see time in the Majors. Jimmy Rollins isn’t the Dodgers long-term answer at shortstop. Seager should be a top fantasy option at shortstop next year.
Team Analysis: The Dodgers have been the favorite to win the National League pennant since Magic Johnson’s ownership group bought the team. They loaded up on salaries and traded for All-Star talent. They have yet to even appear in a World Series during since. The Giants, their biggest rival, have won three out of the last five World Series titles.
The Dodgers made some deals this offseason, but didn’t overspend for any free agent. They made smart deals for veterans Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick. They also made an upgrade at catcher by trading for Yasmani Grandal. They haven’t had an offensive weapon at the position since Russell Martin.
One of the biggest moves this offseason was moving Matt Kemp. The Dodgers had a surplus of outfielders and it was difficult to make them all happy. There are only three outfield positions and they had four legit players. Mega-prospect Joc Pederson will take over centerfield while Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford man the corners. Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke will take on the reserve roles.
Two underrated signings this offseason were pitchers Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy. They now have a strong back-end of the rotation. We all know Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jim Ryu will do well, but Anderson and McCarthy will usually have the advantage over other team’s fourth and fifth starters.
The NL West crown will be a two-team race. Los Angeles and San Diego will battle for the title, but the Dodgers are just too loaded. I would usually put San Francisco in the race, but I don’t like their offseason acquisitions. The Dodgers are heads and shoulders above the rest of the West.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 92.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 93-69 (1st NL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.