Dodgers 2017 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

adrian-gonzalez-yasmani-grandal-yasiel-puig-corey-seager
(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

*****Check out this link for our most recent round of roster projections*****

As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.

Quite a number things still need to be sorted out until we can make a concrete guess as to how the playoff roster is formulated. Injuries could play a part, as will the Dodgers’ prospective opponent heading into the NLDS. More importantly, there are a few spots up for grabs that will be won during on-field competitions over the coming games, which, in essence, probably began quite sometime ago. In about a week or so, once the specific matchups are set and the postseason schedule is finalized, we’ll put together a final draft containing our best guess for a postseason roster. For now, we’ll go ahead and set the table by outlining a rough draft on what we think we know right now.

One of the initial considerations is whether or not the Dodgers will carry three catchers, similar to what happened in the 2016 NLDS against the Nationals when the management crew chose Austin Barnes to accompany Yasmani Grandal and Carlos Ruiz. Barnes has been coming up big in clutch situations while hovering around the .300 mark all year, and to keep either his or Grandal’s bat stowed away on the bench for an emergency situation seems like a waste of a very effective resource. The problem with the three-catcher theory, though, is that Kyle Farmer has limited big league experience, and may prove to be a liability if he’s indeed needed to appear behind the dish.

Another large factor in determining the makeup of the playoff roster is figuring how many relievers will be used in the postseason bullpen. There were different points of the regular season where the Dodgers used seven, eight or nine relievers, but for the sake of compiling the projections, we’ll assume they use eight in the NLDS, which still gives them the luxury of carrying five bench pieces, based on the presumption that four starting pitchers are selected.

So taking the approach that two catchers will be utilized—again, this may change based on the opponent—the primary crew of eight position players, as well as the bench players, isn’t complicated in the least. This particular grouping lines up as follows:

  • Austin Barnes — Catcher
  • Cody Bellinger — First Base
  • Chase Utley — Second Base
  • Justin Turner — Third Base
  • Corey Seager — Shortstop
  • Andre Ethier — Left Field
  • Chris Taylor — Center Field
  • Yasiel Puig — Right Field

This by no means indicates any type of prospective starting lineup, as there are still a few competitions being held for postseason playing time. In addition, many of the lineups which will be utilized in the playoffs will depend on certain lefty vs. righty and righty vs. lefty matchups, as well as taking into consideration some players’ success against the opposing starting pitcher. That being said, there’s still some speculation that Andre Ethier and Curtis Granderson are in a heavy battle for the starting left field spot, and the same holds true between Chase Utley and Logan Forsythe at the keystone. Barnes and Grandal are conceivably in a dead heat for who sees the lion’s share of time at catcher.

Taking all that into consideration, our bench is as follows:

  • Curtis Granderson (L)
  • Logan Forsythe (R)
  • Adrian Gonzalez (L)
  • Yasmani Grandal (S)
  • Enrique Hernandez (R)

As far as the starting rotation goes, in theory, it is possible that three starters can shoulder the load, but we’re making the assumption that the team takes the most logical route and selects four, similar to the way the team included Julio Urias on last year’s roster. If Yu Darvish continues to impress in his last few appearances down the stretch, he could push Alex Wood into the fourth spot, which will give the team the luxury of using Wood as either a starter or a reliever later in the series. For now, we’ll line up the rotation like this:

  • Clayton Kershaw (L)
  • Yu Darvish (R)
  • Rich Hill (L)
  • Alex Wood (L)

The bullpen, of course, is where the most controversy lies at the present juncture. By all indications, Pedro Baez is out, and righty long man Ross Stripling is on the outside looking in, after surrendering eight earned runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings over his last four appearances. On Wednesday, we outlined a discussion regarding which one of Hyun-Jin Ryu or Kenta Maeda should be included among the relief corps, yet with the way the tide is turning, it will be difficult not to include both. Additionally, based on recent performances, hard throwing righty Josh Fields, along with lefty Luis Avilan, are likely considered to be on the bubble. That being said, we’ll draw up the bullpen up like this:

  • Kenley Jansen (R)
  • Brandon Morrow (R)
  • Tony Watson (L)
  • Josh Fields (R)
  • Luis Avilan (L)
  • Tony Cingrani (L)
  • Kenta Maeda (R)
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu (L)

Obviously, a lot can change over the final few games of the regular season, as this is nothing more than a rough guesstimate based on the here and now. And it’s tough to say how exactly the Dodgers’ management group views things at the current moment, but it will surely be interesting to see how things develop when all of the open competitions begin to unfold.

Please be sure to come back in about a week or so and look for our final projections a few days before the official roster is revealed ahead of the beginning of the NLDS on October 6.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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