Fantasy Baseball: Team Previews

By Jason Fukao

Los Angeles Dodgers

Projected Line-Up

CF: Juan Pierre

SS: Rafael Furcal

1B: Nomar Garciaparra

2B: Jeff Kent

LF: Luis Gonzalez

3B: Wilson Betemit

C: Russell Martin

RF: Andre Ethier

Projected Rotation

Jason Schmidt

Derek Lowe

Brad Penny

Randy Wolf

Chad Billingsley

Closer: Takashi Saito

Player Spotlight

C: Russell Martin – Since taking over the starting catcher role in May last season, this rookie hit .282, score 65 times, slug 10 homers and drive in 65 runs in 415 at-bats. Although those numbers do not seem eye-popping, he has another trait that most of his peers at the position cannot claim. He stole 10 bags last season and with the starting gig his to lose, his totals should definitely go up. He also had a modest strikeout total (57 in 415 AB’s) that will not hurt you at a position that you should not expect too much from (if your league includes batting K’s). Look for catchers who will contribute but won’t hurt you in categories. Martin is a prime example.

SP: Jason Schmidt – This will be Schmidt’s first season in Dodger Blue, and I am sure he is  excited to begin taking the mound at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium. In 89 career innings, he has posted a 2.93 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in Los Angeles. Don’t expect those numbers this year as he is not the same lights-out pitcher he was a couple of years ago, but don’t count this guy out. A new start in the City of Angels is sure to help him after two injury-plagued seasons.

Minnesota Twins

Projected Line-Up

2B: Luis Castillo

3B: Nick Punto

C: Joe Mauer

RF: Michael Cuddyer

1B: Justin Morneau

CF: Torii Hunter

LF: Rondell White

DH: Jason Kubel

SS: Jason Bartlett

Projected Rotation

Johan Santana

Carlos Silva

Boof Bonser

Ramon Ortiz

Sidney Ponson

Closer: Joe Nathan

Player Spotlight

2B: Luis Castillo – Looking for a harmless late-round pick who will help you immensely without hurting you in other categories? Castillo is your guy. He only struck out 58 times in 584 AB (1K/10AB) and can give you a solid B.A. of around .300. He will not be able to help you in the power department, but he will score runs. This is especially true this year, as he will be leading off for the Twins in front of RBI machines Joe Mauer, Michael Cuddyer and MVP Justin Morneau. And oh yeah, he can steal a few bases too. In eight full seasons, he has averaged 34 steals over that span. Expect the same this year.

SP: Boof Bonser – Any guy named “Boof” deserves a spot on my fantasy team. This former  first-round pick got his chance in the majors beginning in May. In his debut, he pitched six strong innings, gave up one run and struck out eight. He finished strong too, by winning five of his last seven decisions. The Twins have high hopes for this righty, and so should fantasy owners. If he is able to pitch anywhere around 200 innings, expect him to rack up about 170 K’s, among the league leaders in strikeouts.

All images courtesy of Getty Images.

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