As it’s been nearly two weeks since we published our initial projections of the Dodgers‘ roster for the 2017 NLDS, several circumstances have transpired which in turn have shed some light on the squad which will take the field at Dodger Stadium on October 6.
In terms of injuries, Adrian Gonzalez has been shut down for the year because of back tightness which stemmed from a season-long struggle with a herniated disk. Rather than making his situation worse, Gonzo will rest and attempt to properly heal before making preparations to play again in 2018.
Southpaw reliever Luis Avilan will also be unavailable for the NLDS because of a sore shoulder, but depending on his own healing process, may become available for the NLCS, should the Dodgers indeed advance.
In addition to the injuries, there have been several on-field auditions of sorts taking place since the first time we projected the roster, most specifically scenarios involving lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu and about six other arms surrounding the bullpen.
Various roster models from a number of different media outlets have Ryu making the NLDS squad, while having season stalwarts Ross Stripling and Pedro Baez staying home for the first round of the playoffs. Some even have rookie fireballer Walker Buehler earning a spot on the postseason squad, despite a rocky road since being promoted to the bigs on September 6.
Of course, there are bound to be a few surprises revealed by the Los Angeles management crew this week, yet, based on the revelations of the past 12 days, we’re definitely in a better position to put together a more educated guess than our initial attempt on September 21.
Our starting rotation stays relatively the same, with the only exception being that Yu Darvish and Rich Hill exchange spots in the No. 2 and No. 3 slots, theoretically because of Hill’s career struggles at Chase Field. Consequently, Ryu’s out of the rotation mix completely after being smacked by a comebacker and an early exit against the Giants on September 23, and a subsequent horrid start last Friday at Coors Field.
- Clayton Kershaw (L)
- Rich Hill (L)
- Yu Darvish (R)
- Alex Wood (L)
Based on hints that veteran Curtis Granderson will likely take the lion’s share of reps in left field, as well as catcher Yasmani Grandal lining up to take most of the early ABs against right-handed pitching, our primary position player crew lines up like this:
- Yasmani Grandal — Catcher
- Cody Bellinger — First Base
- Chase Utley — Second Base
- Justin Turner — Third Base
- Corey Seager — Shortstop
- Curtis Granderson — Left Field
- Chris Taylor — Center Field
- Yasiel Puig — Right Field
As far as the bench players go, we’ve added Kyle Farmer to the list assuming Gonzalez’s vacancy, giving Dave Roberts the freedom to use Austin Barnes and Grandal without restrictions. And by no means will Logan Forsythe be relegated to the bench, as he’ll likely be in a fairly equal platoon with veteran Chase Utley. There have been indications that youngster Tim Locastro is being considered in a designated runner capacity, but with the presence of Farmer and an eight-man bullpen, there’s just no room for that particular luxury. About the only concern with the bench crew shown below is the absence of another quality lefty hitter, but that landscape would clearly change with an opposing southpaw starter on the hill.
- Andre Ethier (L)
- Logan Forsythe (R)
- Kyle Farmer (R)
- Austin Barnes (R)
- Enrique Hernandez (R)
The bullpen could be a crapshoot for making predictions, but we’re including a rejuvenated Baez, in addition to Stripling, who threw very effectively in his final three appearances of the regular season. Omitted is Ryu, mainly because of his need for elongated warmup time, as well as other notables such as Buehler and Brock Stewart.
- Kenley Jansen (R)
- Brandon Morrow (R)
- Tony Watson (L)
- Josh Fields (R)
- Ross Stripling (R)
- Tony Cingrani (L)
- Kenta Maeda (R)
- Pedro Baez (R)
Obviously, the management crew of the Dodgers will base its final decisions on the confirmed opponent for the NLDS, once the Wild Card game is completed on Wednesday evening. And while the official roster isn’t due to the MLB front office until Friday morning, fans can probably expect some type of informal announcement as early as Thursday afternoon.
As always, please be sure to check back frequently, as we promise to do our best to shed light on any new developments or updates surrounding the prospective playoff crew.
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