- For the rest of the fallout from the deadline,
The Dodgers' lineup got even more crowded at the deadline, as they acquired second baseman Brian Dozier from the Twins. The deal gives them another potential impact infield bat, but could create some real headaches for Fantasy owners. Here's the breakdown:
Dozier to the Dodgers
The thing that has been tough about evaluating Dozier's disappointing-to-date 2018 season is that it's not clear he's doing much different than in the past. He's walking and striking out at about the same rates, and putting the ball in the air about as often. His hard-hit rate is actually higher than the previous two seasons, too. And yet he's hitting .224/.305/.402 on the season. Dozier is hitting infield fly balls a bit more often, but it's not such a gigantic jump — 16.9 percent of his fly balls have been pop-ups, compared to 13.4 percent last season — that it explains his drop in production.
That is to say I don't see much reason to suspect Brian Dozier won't be Brian Dozier moving forward. That doesn't mean I think he's got some massive hot streak waiting to be unleashed to make up for lost time — regression doesn't work that way. However, Dozier's been a .270-ish hitter with good pop and speed, and I think that's what he'll be moving forward. He'll be doing it in a worse park but a better lineup, so my expectations haven't changed much for Dozier moving forward.
What has changed with this deal is the Dodgers' depth chart. The Manny Machado trade complicated things already, and this only makes it harder to figure out what to make of their lineup moving forward. Let's try.
OK, here's what we know:
- Yasmani Grandal will start most games at catcher
- Manny Machado will start at third base — for now
- Chris Taylor will start at shortstop — for now
- Dozier will start at second base
- And … ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy have been splitting time at first base, but Muncy is probably going to play first primarily with the acquisition of Dozier. That moves Bellinger to the outfield, where he has logged most of his time in center. I would expect that to continue.
Oh, and once Justin Turner is healthy enough, he'll likely return to start most games at third base. That will, of course, slide Machado to shortstop, and Taylor back to the outfield, and, well … the math problem is pretty clear here.
For now, assume Grandal, Muncy, Machado, Taylor and Bellinger will play every day, or something close to it. Kemp should continue to see starts and early exits for defense, too. Everyone mentioned there is, to varying degrees, a Fantasy starter worth relying on moving forward.
And that's probably it on this roster. There just won't be enough at-bats for Pederson, Puig and Hernandez to be worth using in mixed leagues, and Kemp could end up squeezed when Turner is back, too.
- At one point, Logan Forsythe was a legitimate Fantasy contributor. He hit .264/.333/.444 with 20 homers and six steals in 2016, and was a solid starting option at a time when the middle infield options were a lot less impressive than they are now. However, that was two years and a bunch of injuries ago. Forsythe has been a replacement-level player in L.A. this season, and I don't see much reason to expect that to change in Minneapolis. He needs to prove himself before I look his way even in an AL-only league.
- The prospects aren't much more interesting. Raley has played all three outfield positions as well as first base in his career, so he should be able to find somewhere to play in Minnesota eventually. But it probably won't be in 2018, and he wouldn't be much of a Fantasy target if he did. He's been fine in Double-A this season, sporting an .822 OPS with 17 homers, but he's also hit just .275 with a 24.1 percent strikeout rate, and he did that in a pretty friendly offensive environment — the team OPS in Tulsa is .783 this season. He's worth adding in AL-only keeper leagues and deeper Dynasty formats, but not anywhere else based on his statistical profile.
- Similarly, Smeltzer does some good things, but the overall package isn't great. He has solid strikeout and walk numbers in his minor-league career but was moved to the bullpen in early July. That is probably where he profiles long term, and that means Fantasy players don't have much reason to pay attention.