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 Triple-A Oklahoma City squad. Opening Day for OKC falls on Thursday, April 6 at home, so there’s basically just a few days to decide which players remain on the upper fringes of the farm and which players head for the plains of Double-A Tulsa.
The amount of talent contained within Oklahoma City’s 2017 roster can simply be described as “overwhelming.” Even the OKC bullpen, which was stretched a bit thin heading into last year’s Pacific Coast League Championship against El Paso, is stocked with a number of arms that even a group of other major league clubs would envy.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that a number of our projections are based on a few players opening the season on the major league disabled list. In addition, several determinations may also come down to the wire due to a handful of roster battles, most specifically competition in the big league bullpen as well as a few utility roles.
Beginning with the outfield, and assuming that Andrew Toles replaces the injured Andre Ethier on the Los Angeles Opening Day roster, the OKC crew quite possibly could consist of Alex Verdugo, Trayce Thompson, Brett Eibner, O’Koyea Dickson and Tyler Holt. As far as who starts and who doesn’t, your guess is as good as ours, as at least three of the names shown are certainly considered to be MLB-ready by many standards.Depending on how the roster in constructed, though, there may not even be room for Henry Ramos, who could conceivably begin his campaign on the shelf because of a groin injury, or super-utility man Stetson Allie, who can capably man all the corner spots in the infield and the outfield. Consequently, when considering that management likes to keep players such as Rob Segedin and Cody Bellinger well-versed in the outfield, there’s really not much room for maneuvering. And that’s not even mentioning Scott Van Slyke, Enrique Hernandez or Chris Taylor, if for some reason one or two are left off the big league 25-man roster.
Moving along to the infield, the primary core will consist of Segedin at the hot corner, Taylor/Hernandez at short, Willie Calhoun at the keystone, and Bellinger at first base. Charlie Culberson and Darnell Sweeney should competently handle all the utility roles. Leftover players on our list include the likes of Ike Davis and Drew Maggi, who may eventually opt for free agency or even accept an assignment with the Drillers. Either way, the high number of these fringe players who may not even make the Triple-A roster absolutely speaks volumes about the overall depth of the entire organization.
At catcher, Kyle Farmer is likely to handle the primary duties, while journeyman Bobby Wilson will presumably stick around to mentor Farmer and be the first to get the big league call in case of injury. Because of the crowded bench, we couldn’t find room for Jack Murphy, who may even have a hard time being squeezed in at Tulsa due to the presences of Paul Hoenecke and Wynston Sawyer. In any event, it’s good to finally see the system stocked full of so many receivers who can adequately handle the duties behind the dish.
Looking at the starting rotation, our guess is that lefty Alex Wood still finds a way to nail down a spot on the big league squad, and that Ross Stripling find a place in the Los Angeles bullpen. That leaves Brock Stewart, Trevor Oaks, Josh Sborz, Fabio Castillo and Andrew Thurman as the OKC starting five. As there’s a good chance Stewart won’t be ready for Opening Day, Oaks may get the honors to throw in the first game against Iowa, while either Madison Younginer or Patrick Schuster, both starting pitchers in their early minor league days, could be used in a pinch until Stewart is stretched out and ready to go.
As far as the bullpen goes, based on our current major league projections, the Oklahoma City staff will consist of Jacob Rhame, Adam Liberatore, Josh Fields, Steve Geltz, Josh Ravin, Joe Broussard and Ralston Cash. Because of the huge amount of depth, we have Kyle Grana, Layne Somsen and Edward Paredes all listed on the bubble and potentially destined for Tulsa.
In the end, depending on which types of matchups the management crew has a desire to see, there’s no question that OKC skipper Bill Haselman will have his hands full when constructing his lineups throughout the upcoming campaign. Undoubtedly, fans of the Dodgers everywhere have tons of reasons to be excited in 2017, as the amount of promise that the organization has at all levels is enormous.
2017 Oklahoma City Dodgers Projected Roster
Outfielders (5) — Trayce Thompson, O’Koyea Dickson, Brett Eibner, Alex Verdugo and Tyler Holt
Infielders (6) — Rob Segedin, Chris Taylor, Willie Calhoun, Cody Bellinger, Charlie Culberson and Darnell Sweeney
Catchers (2) — Kyle Farmer and Bobby Wilson
Starting Pitchers (5) — Brock Stewart, Trevor Oaks, Josh Sborz, Fabio Castillo and Andrew Thurman
Bullpen (7) — Jacob Rhame, Adam Liberatore, Josh Fields, Steve Geltz, Josh Ravin, Joe Broussard and Ralston Cash
Bubble (10) — Madison Younginer, Patrick Schuster, Kyle Grana, Edward Paredes, Layne Somsen, Ike Davis, Henry Ramos, Jack Murphy, Stetson Allie and Drew Maggi
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