Los Angeles Dodgers Fantasy Superlatives: 4 Breakouts On The Come-Up!

Four potential breakout candidates highlight SI Fantasy expert Shawn Childs’s list of fantasy superlatives from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Breakout: SS Corey Seager

After earning a full-time starting job for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, fantasy owners haven’t seen the best of Seager yet. Last year he missed a month over the summer with a hamstring injury.

His contact batting average (.340) remains below his first two full seasons (.391 and .390). Seager saw fade in his walk rate (8.1) while owning a favorable strikeout rate (18.1).

He had two productive months (May – .264 with five runs, five HRs, and 20 RBI and September – .291 with seven HRs and 26 RBI) while coming up short over his other 316 at-bats (.268 with seven HRs and 41 RBI).

His batting average (.240) had risk against left-handed pitching, but he did have four HRs and 24 RBI over 167 at-bats.

Seager had a low hard-hit rate (37.9 – 190th) with much more strength in this area in 2016 (43.8 – 44th). He had a more balanced swing path in 2019, but his HR/FB rate (12.3) still ranked below his success in 2016 (17.9) and 2017 (16.2).

His RBI rate (18) screams middle-of-the-order bat. In 2020, Seager should regain his high average swing along with a rebound in power.

Based on his ADP (147), he is a complete steal. I fully expected him to hit over .300 in 2020 while delivering a 100/30/100 skill set with a full season of at-bats.

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Breakout: 2B Gavin Lux

The Dodgers drafted Lux with the 20th selection in the 2016 June MLB Amateur Draft.

Over four seasons in the minors, he hit .305 with 293 runs, 48 home runs, 193 RBI, and 52 steals over 1,578 at-bats.

His walk rate (11.2) has top of the order value with an above the league average strikeout rate (18.3).

In 2019, Lux blossomed at AAA (.347 with 99 runs, 26 HRs, 76 RBI, and ten SBs over 458 at-bats). LA called him up in September while giving him a start on most nights (.240 with two HRs, nine RBI, and two SBs over 75 at-bats).

His overall game projects well as number two-hitter with his skill-set having a better than Chase Utley feel.

I expect sneaky speed with an edge in batting average once he gets some major league at-bats under his belt. Lux is the right kind of gamble based on his ADP (171) with home run upside if he does find his way to the top of the batting order. His starting point should be .290 with 75 runs, 15 home runs, 70 RBI, and ten steals.

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Breakout: SP Julio Urias

The Dodgers have done their best to try and limit the innings of Urias early in his career. Over six seasons in the minors, he has a 15-8 record with a 2.76 ERA and 364 strikeouts over 310.1 innings.

He missed most of the 2018 season after his recovery left shoulder surgery that occurred in June of 2017. Last year Los Angeles pitched him for most of the season in the bullpen.

His strikeout rate (9.6) is an edge with a mid-level walk rate (3.1). Urias pitched better as a reliever (2.01 ERA and 48 Ks over 49.1 innings). In his eight starts, the Dodgers limited him to 30.1 innings with a 3.26 ERA and 37 strikeouts.

He had almost the same success against righties (.203) and lefties (.198).

His AFB (95.2) was the highest of his career while featuring three plus pitches (four-seam – .189, slider – .122 BAA, and changeup – .232 BAA).

Urias has a developing arm that gets a significant bump in the pitching rankings due to the shortened season. Wins could be an issue due to a quick hook. His ADP (140) is rising, but Urias should still outperform his draft value in 2020.

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Breakout: SP Dustin May

May looks ready to rock and roll in the starting rotation for the Dodgers in 2020.

Over four seasons in the minors, he went 24-17 with a 3.50 ERA and 394 strikeouts over 403.2 innings.

May pushed his way from AA to the majors last year while not losing beat on the big stage. In LA, he threw strikes (walk rate – 1.3) while his strikeout rate (8.3) came in shorter than his minor league resume (8.8).

His AFB (96.0) is elite with more upside when he fills out. May relies on a cutter (.188 BAA) and a plus sinker (.247 BAA). His next step will come with more consistency with his curveball.

With 141.1 innings under his belt in 2019, he should have had no problem pushing toward 180 innings this season. May is almost a gift based on ADP (290). I expected a sub 3.50 ERA and 175 strikeouts with double-digit wins if the Dodgers played 162 games this year.

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Value: C Will Smith

Last year Smith found his power stroke at AAA (.268 with 48 runs, 20 HRs, and 54 RBI over 224 at-bats). He baited fantasy owners into spending plenty of their free-agent budget after his late May call-up.

After six games (6-for-21 with two HRs and three RBI), the Dodgers shipped him back to AAA. Smith teased again in late June (1-for-5 with one HR and three RBI), but he landed on the injured list with an oblique issue.

In his third trip to the majors, Smith rewarded his believers with an excellent run over the next month (.339 with 17 runs, nine HRs, and 25 RBI over 62 at-bats). Unfortunately, he lacked follow-through over his final 82 at-bats (.183 with three HRs and 11 RBI).

Smith had risk against right-handed pitching (.211 with three HRs and seven RBI over 57 at-bats).

He has a high volume fly-ball swing path (53.7 percent with the Dodgers and 52.3 at AAA in 2019). His strikeout rate (26.5) in the majors needs work, but he did take walks (9.2 percent walk rate).

Over four seasons in the minor, Smith hit .243 with 55 home runs and 180 RBI over 1,034 at-bats.

He’s getting better while wanting to hit for power. His batting average will have risk due to a lot of easy outs via fly balls. A 30-plus HR swing with a full season of at-bats, but LA has a higher ranked catcher (Keibert Ruiz), only a phone call away.

With an ADP of 158, you can expect a top ten season at his position given his floor in home runs.

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READ MORE: 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers Fantasy Team Preview

Source: Sports Illustrated

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