The Los Angeles Dodgers have the highest payroll in the Majors by more than $20 million. That number could increase over the next few years when they extend Corey Seager and Joc Pederson. As crazy as it sounds, they’ve still actually been pretty smart with their signings.
The Dodgers have set themselves up to be a contender in the National League for many years to come. They even have a pretty good farm system, which isn’t anything new for the Dodgers. They’ve historically done a good job maintaining a stockpile of top prospects.
Will the Dodgers run away with the NL West or will the Giants keep it close?
Here is the 2017 MLB season preview for the Los Angels Dodgers.
2016 Win/Loss Record: 91-71
Key Additions: 2B Logan Forsythe, RP Sergio Romo, OF Franklin Gutierrez, OF Brett Eibner, 1B Ike Davis & SP Brandon Morrow
Key Losses: 2B Howie Kendrick, OF Josh Reddick, RP J.P. Howell, RP Louis Coleman, SP Jesse Chavez, RP Casey Fien, SP Brandon McCarthy & SP Brett Anderson
Interleague Schedule: AL Central
Projected Starters: Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, Logan Forsythe, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson & Yasiel Puig
Projected Starting Rotation: Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir & Julio Urias
Closer: Kenley Jansen
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Andre Ethier – It’s been awhile since Ethier has had an everyday starting role in the outfield. He was blocked by guys like Carl Crawford, but there’s a spot open in left field. He could be a comeback player of the year candidate if manager Dave Roberts gets behind him. Andrew Toles may take some at-bats away from him, but I still think Ethier is worth a late-round pick.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: 1B Cody Bellinger – The Dodgers always seem to always have a stocked farm system. Bellinger is the next really good hitter set to debut in the Majors. He has plus power and should be a 30+ homer guy who will drive in over 100 runs a year. He could have some strikeout issues, but that’s nothing new when it comes to today’s power hitters. Bellinger will start the year in Triple-A and unless Adrian Gonzalez suffers an injury, the earliest you will see him is a possible September call-up. He has a chance to be pretty special.
Team Analysis: The Dodgers had a team good enough to win the World Series last season, but they ran into the Chicago Cubs. I have a feeling those two will meet again in the postseason over the next few years. They are both stacked with young talent and built for long-term success.
The Dodgers starting rotation is one of the best in the Majors and if Julio Urias takes the next step in his development, it could rival the best. I am anxious to see how well the Dodgers will do with an entire season of Rich Hill. I do worry about his durability. He had a blister problem last season that kept him out of a handful of start. He pitched 110 innings in 2016, the first time he has eclipsed the 100-inning mark since 2007. How many innings do the Dodgers push him this year?
The Dodgers will be neck-and-neck with the Giants for a chunk of this season, but I like the Dodgers’ offense much more. Los Angeles should win the NL West and if a few balls bounce their way, they could battle the Cubs for home-field advantage in the playoffs.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 94 (Prediction: OVER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 95-67 (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.