What should I expect from the bats LA acquired last summer?
After a disappointing close to 2012, baseball's new payroll kings will more accurately inspect their new haul in each of the pieces' first season. The aforementioned A-Gon joined Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford as part of the Blue's parade of new bats. Chavez Ravine won't aid their revivals.
Han-Ram's healthy shoulder allowed his power to return, but despite a baby-steps upward trend in fly balls, a full season at Dodger Stadium will keep it from reaching its former peak. Plus, the 29-year-old still puts too many into the ground, and his hacker ways continue eroding his batting eye. Four-category contributions still go a long way for his position, though, so he'll probably remain a second-rounder that's stable, if not growth-ready.
Gonzalez, as a lefty bat, will suffer a smidge less at this stadium than his counterparts, though it's hardly advantageous, and he left the yard there just once after his acquisition. His division doesn't exactly have hitter-friendly ambiences, either.
He should surpass 20 homers merely because his shoulder (repaired in 2011) may finally boast full strength. If defenses keep shifting toward his pulls, however, he'll gladly beat them by finding holes, without caring what fantasy owners want. Bank on his run production and batting average skills and rejoice if he reaches 25 homers.
OK, so this is the year you'll want to take a chance on Crawford. At least he'll be even cheaper than he was before his lost 2012, and early reports say recovery from Tommy John surgery won't cost him much - if any - spring training time. He was always a bit of a hacker vulnerable against lefties and on the outside corner, and that came back to bite him, along with many other maladies, in 2011. LA is a big media market, but in baseball terms, it's hardly Boston, at least in reputation.
Discard 2012. Don't write off double-digit homers, but don't count on them, either; recovery from elbow and wrist issues reminds you to remain cautious. Focus instead on the swipes he'd offer if healthy that will come at a decent mixed-league discount - think middle-rounds filler with a bit more upside but less security than the Brett Gardner types.
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About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
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