I finished the NL Central Top 5 series yesterday, so it's on to the NL West and I will start with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have one of the best outfields in all of baseball with Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
Let's take a look at the Dodgers Top 5 for 2010:
1. Matt Kemp-Kemp showed some of his 5 tool talents in 2009 by going 26-101-97-34-.297-.352-.490. I am already on record as saying he will have a 30-30 season in 2010, and could approach 35-35. I have also stated I would take him first overall in my NL-only draft league. Kemp improved across the board in 2009 including increasing his BB%, decreasing his K%, and increasing his FB% and his HR/FB%. Bill James is not as high on Kemp as I am, as he projects him to go 23-91-99-32-.311-.365-.508.
2. Andre Ethier-Ethier's broke out in 2009 by hitting 31-106-92-.272-.361-.508. He also increased his BB%, K%, FB% and HR/FB% in 2009. James projects him to go 24-89-85-.288-.368-.500 in 2010. I can see a slight drop in his HRs, but not as much as James. I also would not be surprised to see Ethier duplicate his 2009 season.
3. Manny Ramirez-Manny had a sub-par season in 2009 going 19-63-62-.290-.418-.531 in 352 at bats. Many fantasy owners are curious if he will hit for power now that he is off the PED. Is he the first-half hitter who went 9-29-.355-.487-.669, or the second half hitter who went 10-34-.255-.379-.459. Looking at his monthly HR totals from 2009, he hit at least 4 HRs in each of the months where he played the full month, as he missed most of May and all of June due to his suspension. James projects a 30-101-88-.296-.406-.537 season in 2010, his walk year.
4. Clayton Kershaw-it was either Jonathan Broxton or Kershaw here, but I went with Kershaw as I think he can improve his win total in 2010, and approach his 2009 ERA/WHIP. Kershaw made 30 starts in 2009, winning 8 games, with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. Kershaw strikes out alot of guys-9.74 K.9%- and walks alot of guys-4.79 BB/9%. Overall, hitters hit .198 against him with a .274 BABIP. The BABIP should regress, but also consider his LOB% was higher than the league average at 77.5%. James sees 13 wins and a 3.25 ERA in 2010.
5. Jonathan Broxton-Broxton is one of the most dominant closers in the game, even though he has a tendency to blow a few saves here and there. Broxton had 36 saves in 2009 along with 7 wins, a 2.61 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. His K/9 of 13.50/9 was phenomenal. Broxton is an asset in 5x5 leagues as he will help in the strikeout category as well as saves.
Sleeper Alert: Chad Billingsley-Billz is not really a sleeper in the truest sense, but his value is definitely down after his horrible second half last year. Fantasy owners are curious if he is the pitcher we saw in the first-half, where he went 9-4 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP, or the second half where he went 3-7 with a 5.20 ERA and a1.48 WHIP. Fantasy owners could get a real bargain in the later rounds of mixed league drafts if Billz could duplicate his 2009 first half in the second half as well.