2021 Roster Review: Los Angeles Dodgers

106-56 (2nd in Division; 3rd in MLB)


SP Wins: 65 (1st)

RP Wins: 41 (11th)

Saves: 56 (t-1st)

1+ Save: 10 (Kenley Jansen 38, Blake Treinen 7, Corey Knebel 3, Joe Kelly 2, Phil Bickford, Victor Gonzalez, David Price, Alex Vesia, Andre Jackson, Shane Greene 1)

100+ Ks: 4 (Walker Buehler 212, Julio Urías 195, Clayton Kershaw 144, Trevor Bauer 137)

.260+ AVG (min. 350 PA): 4 (Trea Turner .338 in 228 PA [total: .328 in 646 PA], Corey Seager .306, AJ Pollock .297, Justin Turner .278, Mookie Betts .264)

65+ Runs: 4 (Max Muncy 95, Betts 93, Chris Taylor 92, J.Turner 87)

65+ RBI: 5 (Muncy 94, J.Turner 87, Will Smith 76, Taylor 73, Pollock 69)

10+ HRs: 10 (Muncy 36, J.Turner 27, Smith 25, Betts 23, Pollock 21, Taylor 20, Seager 16, Albert Pujols 12, Cody Bellinger, T.Turner 10 [total: 28])

5+ SBs: 4 (Taylor 13, T.Turner 11 [total: 32], Betts 10, Pollock 9)

BEST BUY: Trea Turner

I know, this is a super-boring pick as Turner is literally the 1.1 pick in many drafts, but the incredible upside combined with a rock-solid and relatively high floor are exactly what you want in those first few picks of the draft. The move to LA also added some eligibility as he will be 2B/SS in 2022. Some of their oldies like Justin Turner, AJ Pollock, and Chris Taylor might offer more bang for the buck given where they go in drafts, but their age (37, 34, and 31, respectively) dings the stability of their floors a bit.

ON THE RISE: Will Smith

The 27-year-old backstop showed that his 2019-20 partial seasons were legit with a first full season that saw him post a 130 wRC+ with 25 HR, 76 RBI, 71 R, and even 3 chip-in SB over 501 PA. Good pop, gets on base a ton, and the best could still be on the way. He has BABIPs of .264, .294, and .274 (.284 coming this year?!) in his three seasons so if he pushes closer to the .300ish league average, he could be more of the .289 AVG we saw in the shortened 2020.

OFF THE RADAR: Zach McKinstry

The Dodgers have their next Chris Taylor here. McKinstry can handle himself all around the diamond with a good hit tool, above average speed, and a bit of pop. He is better than the 77 wRC+ we saw in 172 PA. There wasn’t really a chance for McKinstry to build on his 2019 breakout (126 wRC+ in 384 PA at AA, 177 in 95 PA at AAA) given the lost season of 2020 so I’m not quitting him despite the modest output in the majors in 2021.

He was still good in Triple-A (117 wRC+ in 171 PA) with excellent plate skills (15% K, 12% BB) and if he brings those skills – or even just his 2019 ones (19% K, 9% BB) – in 2022, then he could soar. He will fill the super-utilityman role to start the season, but the beauty of playing damn near everywhere means that he could be the answer for any opening. With an ADP of 702, he is completely forgotten so he is a worthy Draft Champions (50-round Draft & Hold leagues) pick and should be placed on Watch Lists in standard setups so you are ready to pounce if and when the playing time opens up.

I also like Brusdar Graterol and Mitch White in DC leagues, too. Graterol is a longshot closer candidate if Kenley Jansen doesn’t return, and White could find his way into the rotation with only 2/5ths of it set in stone (Buehler and Urias) right now.

HOT TAKE: Gavin Lux makes the leap and drops a 20-20 season.

The 24-year-old is already being dismissed by too many fantasy managers. He has just 532 PA spread across the last three seasons, yielding an 86 wRC+, 12 HR, and 7 SB, none of which are particularly appealing, but given the small sample and the fact that he’s still so young, I don’t understand the relative dislike for him in the market (ADP 219 since the New Year). He already feels like a post-hype sleeper despite his career barely getting off the ground just yet. Lux has shown above average power and speed at the big-league level and there is still a ton of upside here. It might not come together in 2022, but at his price, it’s easy to take the shot and hope it does.

ICYMI: AJ Pollock was a stud (137 wRC+, 21 HR in 422 PA) and has been an elite outfielder since 2020. He sits 9th in wRC+ at 135 (min. 600 PA) with a .290 AVG (8th), 37 HR (15th), 103 RBI (21st), and 83 R (52nd) in just 632 PA (55th). Jesse Winker (147 wRC+, .292 AVG, 36 HR, 94 RBI, 104 R in 668 PA) and Yordan Alvarez (139 wRC+, .277 AVG, 34 HR, 108 RBI, 94 R in 607 PA) are the only other outfielders putting up that kind of impact in such a small sample.

IF THE DH RETURNS: They would undoubtedly use it as a rotating semi-day off of sorts for their studs while allowing more time for Gavin Lux, Zach McKinstry, and Matt Beaty.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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5 months ago

What do you see out of Tony Gonsolin this year?