Not long after the 25-man big league roster is submitted the morning of April 3, the entire management crew of the Dodgers will find itself spinning its wheels drawing up a prospective draft for the… More
The countdown is on — just two weeks until the Dodgers open up the season against the San Diego Padres. Clayton Kershaw will be the starter that day, but on his last start he looked less than Kershaw-like. Kersh allowed three home runs, four runs total on six hits in five innings. He also had eight strikeouts and two walks.
While quite a number of spots on the Dodgers‘ 25-man roster are presumably set in stone, the bullpen is still a complex gray area that’s loaded with plenty of question marks. Yet after the dust finally settles at the end of March, versatile righty Ross Stripling may have found a spot among the big league relief corps.
Even though there’s plenty of time left in spring training for the landscape of the big league outfield to change, it’s still not difficult to make an educated guess regarding the outfield crew at Oklahoma City, as the Dodgers‘ surplus of young talent has now created a very crowded locker room at even the Triple-A level.
Listening to the Dodgers radio broadcast yesterday, Rick Monday said something that piqued my interest. He said that he thought Chris Taylor might have a better chance making the 25-man roster because he was there, in camp, showing his hustle. Meanwhile, Enrique Hernandez was playing with the Team Puerto Rico, and not being seen or evaluated by the front office and coaching staff.
While last week’s injury report brought on a bit of concern from many fans of the Dodgers, the outlook for this week is much better, as the two-week mark before the season opener is quickly approaching and the projected 25-man roster becomes a bit more defined.
As many media outlets of the Dodgers have already ventured some sort of guess regarding the Opening Day 25-man roster, most are in agreement that there’s a good chance the club elects to carry a traditional seven-man bullpen to begin the season. But although there haven’t been many hints by management in terms of a preferred direction, an eight-man relief corps is certainly still in the realm of possibility.
As a whole, quite a few factors will determine how the starting rotation of the Dodgers compares to those of others around baseball as the 2017 campaign progresses. First and foremost, good health is particularly critical, while overall stamina and endurance will also play key roles in the team’s prosperity. The presence of resident ace Clayton Kershaw probably warrants a Top 20 MLB ranking in itself, yet without the luxury of a true No. 2 starter, the Dodgers slide somewhere right in the middle of the Top 10, at least in the eyes of most informed fans.
The exact make up of the Dodgers outfield is still unknown. Manager Dave Roberts has come out many times saying that Yasiel Puig will be starting in right field, and Joc Pederson will retain his roll in center. Left field is a bit uncertain, but look for Andre Ethier to have the starting role there. Where the real fun begins is determining who will make the team as reserves.
With the arrival of Opening Day now hovering right around the three week mark, much of the fan focus has steadied on the prospective starting rotation of the Dodgers, as each passing day seemingly has one small happening or event which somehow affects the future makeup of the pitching staff.
As spring training games for minor league affiliates of the Dodgers are slated to begin on Monday, we thought it would be an opportune time to scatter in a few more profiles of some of the best prospects on the organization’s farm. Today, we turn our attention to 21-year-old Will Smith, who many pundits believe to have the highest ceiling of all the catchers in the entire system.