The league's highest-payroll team is loaded with fantasy goodness.
The Dodgers rarely had their Opening Day lineup on the field throughout the entirety of last season. This was due, of course, to a confluence of major injury problems to several star players (Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez), as well as the emergence of perhaps the starriest player in Yasiel Puig. Add in the regular rest needed by Carl Crawford, and the pure force of will it must take to rest Puig, and it’s easy to see why that Opening Day lineup rarely materialized.
They’ll give it a go once more, in 2014, as they hope to avoid the injury bug that bit them so often last year. Still, given their outfield depth, there are going to be plenty of lineups that don’t resemble the Opening Day one, although they hope to have more stability at second and third base this season. The team is teeming with fantasy goodness, with power, speed, counting stats, and even the unknowns (Kemp, Guerrero) in the lineup, paired with dominance at the top of the rotation and quality innings in the middle of it. And let’s not ignore the top-three fantasy closer at the back end of the bullpen with another valuable piece in Wilson if your league counts holds. If you’re not a Dodgers fan already, there’s a good chance you will be during fantasy season, as you’re likely to roster at least a couple of their players.
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The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Not all hot prospects will be stars, and that's a hard pill to swallow.
Prospects fail to develop for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from poor makeup, to marginal physical talent, to lack of instincts, and some only fail in our own minds, where unrealistic expectations create a world where disappointment is assured. As minor league masochists, joy can be found in the process of constructing our own torture, as we open our hearts to the allure of projection and cathedral ceilings, knowing with an intellectual mind that what we want to see as a diamond will really end up being coal. In a game built on a foundation of failure, the developmental process is the evolutionary doorman of that failure, tasked with keeping the exclusive club populated with only the best of the best, the exceptional and the beautiful over the ordinary and the ugly.
I’ve been thinking about failure a lot lately. In my personal life—which I often bring into my professional life—I’ve come upon a developmental roadblock, an imploding relationship that needs to be abandoned, much like a breaking ball that just isn’t good for my arm slot/action anymore. As I transition from the curveball to the slider, I’m going to stumble; learning a new pitch is never easy, especially when you’ve been throwing the curve for so many years. This personal obstruction is a nice companion to the articles I’ve been writing lately, the ones where I take a look at what could go wrong with a prospect based on their present level of refinement. With those pieces, I’m selling the setbacks, preparing readers for the disappointments that are not only possible, but also very likely to occur in some form during the maturation process. As I research those players in search of characteristics in their skill set that are exploitable, introspection forces me to examine the weaknesses in my own skill set, the holes in my game that encouraged failure. With that internal spelunking came perspective, and a somewhat refined approach to expectation management; when the heart hurts, it’s easy to water down the dreams in your head, finding that it's pleasurable to believe in the fairy tale, but not at the expense of your anchor to reality. You can learn a lot from failure.
Prospect #1: RHP Garrett Gould Background with Player: Industry sources Who: After being drafted in the 2nd round in 2009 and signing for an above-slot bonus of $900k, Gould was in short-season ball for two years before finally breaking out in his full-season debut in 2011. The 20-year-old righty looks the part of a prototypical major league starter, with excellent size and improving strength, and an arsenal that can find the zone and miss bats. With an athletic and repeatable delivery, Gould can pump an easy low-90s fastball into the zone, showing a little sink and grading out as a future plus pitch. His deadliest weapon is a tight, tumbling curveball that every source referred to as a plus pitch. Gould has good command of it, showing no fear of using it early in sequence or as an out pitch against lefties. His changeup continues to improve, showing some arm-side action and projecting as an average offering at maturity. The control is ahead of the command, but the delivery is clean and he shows strike-throwing ability and feel for the mound, so solid-average-to-plus command is possible down the line. The total package is a big, athletic pitcher with a good, table-setting fastball, an above-average table-clearing curveball, and good feel for sequence and situation. The ceiling isn’t crazy, but Gould could develop into a solid-average innings chewer at the major league level.
What Could Go Wrong in 2012: Gould has the profile of a strike-thrower with good stuff, but not the kind of stuff that can survive in the zone against quality hitters. In order to find sustainable success, Gould will need to refine his command to the point where he can hit spots in and out of the zone, and develop his arsenal to the point where he can mix his pitches with efficiency and keep bats off the fastball. When you see a 20-year-old that stands 6’4’’ and weighs 190 with a steep low-90s fastball and plus curve, you assume the sky is the limit and the margin for error is as broad as the shoulders of the pitcher in question. The problem with Gould is that despite having good stuff and a good vessel by which to deliver that stuff, the stuff in question just isn’t all that special and therefore even minor mistakes are magnified. Every source I spoke with thought Gould was a major league arm, the safest bet among the arms in the low-minors to reach the highest level. But they were realistic about his ultimate ceiling, which is more chewer than champion, with little chance of frontline development. You might be asking, how can a prospect with a proletarian profile rank number one in a system like includes a high-profile name like Zach Lee? The easy answer is that I couldn’t find one source that preferred Lee to Gould.
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.