Los Angeles DodgersManager: Don Mattingly
Stadium: Dodger Stadium
2008 Record: 84-78 (1st in NL West)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule
-- Tim Kurkjian
HITTER TO WATCH:
Xavier Paul could help as a fourth outfielder or as the heavy part of a corner outfield platoon. There's no other hitter close to helping the Dodgers at the big league level.
PITCHER TO WATCH:
James McDonald appears to be the team's fifth starter; he's a command right-hander with a great changeup and an above-average curveball who pitches aggressively.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.
Will Manny Ramirez be the top left fielder in the National League in 2009? What about Rafael Furcal at shortstop, or James Loney at first base? Do the Dodgers have the NL's best starting lineup? Register your vote.
Young southpaw Clayton Kershaw is showing the potential for improved command this season, and two plus secondary pitches will help him rack up the strikeouts. He can take a big leap forward.
Despite some decent numbers in Houston last season, a favorable park, and a spot in the starting rotation, Randy Wolf's inconsistent control and command, as well as his unreliability, will come back to bite his fantasy owners.
With all the concern apparent in Dodgerland when it initially seemed as if Manny Ramirez might not be signed in 2009, there had to be similar concern when Manny was sidelined by a hamstring strain almost as soon as he joined the team. No doubt beads of collective sweat began to form in the Dodgers' front office. That concern has been for the most part alleviated as Manny has returned to both hitting and fielding duties. But, you may ask, don't hamstring problems tend to recur? Yes (more beads of sweat), but in this case, there are several things working in the Dodgers' favor. First, the injury was a minor strain. Second, because of the timing of the World Baseball Classic, Manny could actually be brought along more slowly, limiting his running early in his recovery, enhancing the healing process. Third, the Dodgers have an all-star medical staff. Relax. Manny can just be Manny.
-- Stephania Bell
PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS