Friday, February 22, 2008

Eric Karabell's Dodgers fantasy preview

As the baseball season approaches, my favorite fantasy season does as well. Which fantasy season is that? Baseball! Bet you never would have guessed.

Eric Karabell from ESPN wrote a great Dodgers fantasy team preview. And get this, it's actually free to read! Seems like every other damn article on that website is "Insider only," or in other words, pay to read about sports. Don't we pay enough for a computer and internet access anyway? But I digress...

I'll give a quick overview:

Ballpark: Dodger Stadium. It's been called a "pitcher-friendly park," but Karabell strongly disagrees. And he's right. Back in the day when all of that foul territory existed, I would say it favored pitchers, but not anymore. He warns not to overvalue Dodger pitchers just because the ballpark is supposedly suited towards them. It's not.

Top Sleeper: Andy LaRoche. 20 homer potential?

Intriguing Spring Battle: The 4th outfield spot. Andruw Jones and Matt Kemp are locks, so once again, it's down to Andre Ethier and Juan Pierre. His safer bet would be Pierre.

Training Room: Rafael Furcal is finally back from his nagging ankle injury. Expect more steals and power from him. Jeff Kent will be nicked up all year, but is still very productive for playing a weaker 2nd base position. Jason Schmidt won't be the power pitcher he once was, but will start based on his contract. A possible late-round pick.

Schedule Preview: They'll play in 2 pitcher's parks (San Francisco and San Diego) and 2 hitter's parks (Arizona and Colorado). Brad Penny is much better in the 1st half than in the 2nd half the last three years.

Future Closer: Jonathan Broxton is 1st, Jonathan Meloan is 2nd.

Backups to Watch: Nomar Garciaparra because of his eligability at 1st and 3rd.

Fantasy Studs: Russell Martin for his base stealing ability. Matt Kemp based on potential.

Prospects to Watch for 2008: Clayton Kershaw and Chin-Lung Hu.