(Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Now that it’s safe to assume that the Dodgers are almost a lock to face the Nationals in the NLDS in just a few short weeks, we decided it’s a pretty good time to reveal our first draft of what we expect the club’s playoff roster to look like for the opening series of the postseason. Today, we’ll take a peek at our projected list of the position players, while disclosing the players we think will make up the entirety of the pitching staff on Sunday.
Considering the Dodgers will have a whopping 40 players on the expanded roster when Brandon McCarthy is activated to pitch sometime next week, there’s certainly a ton of talent to choose from when narrowing the squad down to 25 players. In regards to the breakdowns, we’ve assigned four pitchers to the starting rotation, eight to the bullpen, in addition to 13 position players.
We thought that Friday night’s lineup against the Rockies was the perfect portrait of what the lineup would primarily look like against right-handed pitching in the playoffs, so that’s probably as good a place as any to begin. It’s very close to the regular lineup we’ve been seeing all season versus righties, with the exception of rookie Andrew Toles getting the nod in left field:
- Chase Utley — 2B
- Corey Seager — SS
- Justin Turner — 3B
- Adrian Gonzalez — 1B
- Yasmani Grandal — C
- Josh Reddick — RF
- Andrew Toles — LF
- Joc Pederson — CF
It goes without saying how much success the Dodgers have had over the course of the season against right-handed pitching, but the point of emphasis with this group of eight is surely the stellar defense — a key component to the formula of the club’s prosperity in 2016.
Of the five spots we have reserved for bench pieces, the first three were very easy to resolve without difficulty. Howie Kendrick will lead the attack off the pine as well as start against opposing southpaw pitching. He’s probably the steadiest of all the righty bats, and provides plenty of defensive versatility. Carlos Ruiz warrants an automatic spot just because a backup catcher is a necessity. Yasiel Puig, recently showing that his glove and range are superior in both corner outfield spots, also earns a spot after showing there’s still signs of the 2013 version of himself still emanating from the shadows.
The final two bench spots were the toughest to determine, as it was very difficult to narrow the list down from seven potential candidates. It may come as a surprise, but we decided to include Andre Ethier on the playoff roster, mainly since he can cover all three outfield spots in a pinch, but also because his track record merits such consideration. We also felt the need for at least one lefty bat off the bench; plus, his two extra-base hits in the Dodgers’ last two games could be signs that he’s reverting back to his old self.
As far as the final spot, we chose super utility man Enrique Hernandez over rookie Rob Segedin in what was another tough decision. Hernandez hasn’t had the most productive year at the dish in the least, but his superb defensive versatility, coupled with the fact that he’s the best candidate to spell Seager in a pinch at shortstop sealed the deal. Turner has the capability to man a hole at short, yet going in that direction would almost shake up the infield to the extreme.
So there you have it — the first 13 of TBPC‘s projected 25-player playoff roster. Of course, quite a few things could change over the final eight games of the regular season, so we’ll make sure to chime in one final time before the club reveals its own version prior to the beginning of the NLDS. But before anything else, please make sure to check back in tomorrow when we reveal which players will make up the 12-man pitching staff.
(Check here for our final projections surrounding the Dodgers’ 2016 NLDS roster)
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