For those of you who are frequent visitors to our site, you’ll already know that we’ve always been keen on putting together plenty of posts featuring 25-man roster projections for the Dodgers, especially long before players report to camp. This winter is no different. As it stands now, there are exactly 47 days before pitchers and catchers convene in the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, and if the player personnel stays relatively the same, we can easily put together a somewhat accurate roster prediction right now—at least for the sake of building a foundation.
Earlier in the week, we got the ball rolling by outlining a discussion surrounding veteran outfielder Matt Kemp and utility man Rob Segedin. Several days before that, we composed a post highlighting the chances of infielder Max Muncy making the club’s Opening Day roster. Stories like these will be the backbone of the speculation throughout the winter, and we’ll be right here every day to shed light on all the developments we see significant.
Instead of rolling out an overwhelming number of supportive statistics, we’ll try to keep this as crisp and concise as possible. If the squad can stay relatively healthy throughout the spring, the core of the 25-man roster is pretty much set, with the real competitions coming down to the final few bullpen and bench spots.
With the impressive amount of defensive versatility the club has, we’re bound to see quite a few players shifting around the diamond once the regular season is underway. There’s already been speculation about Chris Taylor holding down the everyday center field spot, as well as how much time Logan Forsythe will actually see at the keystone. But, for the sake of laying out this early-winter projection, we’ll try and stay as simple as possible.
Starting in the outfield, the core players will likely consist of Taylor, Yasiel Puig, Andrew Toles and Joc Pederson, giving the club a perfect balance of bats from both sides of the dish. Besides Puig being a mainstay in right, everybody else has the ability to move around a bit, which should conveniently offer skipper Dave Roberts some added flexibility when writing out his lineup cards.
We’ve already talked about the situation at catcher more than once, and while some think that Yasmani Grandal will be moved sooner than later, we believe he’ll continue to be a member of the squad well into the summer months, giving the kids at Triple-A Oklahoma City more time to sharpen their respective games. Austin Barnes should have a career-year in terms of plate appearances, should he stay healthy throughout the season.
As far as the remainder of the infield goes, the nucleus will consist of Cody Bellinger at first, Corey Seager at short, and Justin Turner at third. Right now, we’ll list Forsythe as the primary second baseman, although platoon situations are likely to happen based on his career numbers against righty pitching.
Despite the belief among the fan base that the Dodgers have a need for higher quality starting pitching, the club is probably set on sticking with the current personnel crew, especially when considering all the youngsters on the fringe. So long as they’re healthy, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu will make up the quintet which the club utilizes at the beginning of the regular season.
Building the bullpen could be a bit tricky, but for the sake of staying simple, we’ll go with a seven-man relief corps, although it’s always possible the team may use eight relievers to open the year. Kenley Jansen, of course, will be the headliner, but it could take weeks or even months before the club finds a reliable setup man, especially if management doesn’t bring anyone else in from the outside. As it stands now, lining up behind Jansen will be Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Tom Koehler, Ross Stripling, Luis Avilan and Josh Fields. There’s a good possibility that Yimi Garcia may contribute, but staying conservative, we’ll guess he begins the year at OKC to regain his footing before he’s thrown to the lions.
Rounding on the rest of the roster on the bench, we’ll go with super-utility man Enrique Hernandez, Segedin, and the youthful speed-burner Tim Locastro. The versatile Trayce Thompson could also make a run at the 25-man, but he’d certainly need to have a magnificent Cactus League to change a seemingly sour standing on the current depth chart. Additionally, it’s entirely possible that the versatile Kyle Farmer could earn a spot, but management may elect to keep him at OKC for the sake of establishing a solid catching foundation at Triple-A. Yet, if there’s one small hole which exists right now, it could be the absence of a left-handed hitting middle infielder.
Grouping all the aforementioned players together, our initial projections look like this:
Outfielders (3) – Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig
Infielders/Outfielders (5) – Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, Enrique Hernandez, Rob Segedin and Tim Locastro
Infielders (3) – Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe
Catchers (2) – Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal
Starting Pitchers (5) – Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu
Bullpen (7) – Kenley Jansen, Tom Koehler, Pedro Baez, Ross Stripling, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields and Luis Avilan
Please be sure to check back frequently over the winter, as any impending trades or free agent signings will obviously affect the complexion of things. As always, we’ll do our best to bring you all the up-to-date news, developments and insight in a timely fashion.
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