There’s only one week left until the Dodgers kick off the 2018 regular season against Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants. I’d be willing to bet most fans are ready for that day to come, if for no other reason than no one wants anymore injuries to occur before the start of the season.
Monday, Justin Turner was hit in the left wrist by a pitch. X-rays showed a small, non-displaced crack that will not require surgery. He will be in a brace for a few days, and then can begin range of motion exercises. Best case scenario in this situation it seems. Then on Tuesday, reigning Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger fouled a pitch off of his leg, and was removed from the game. Dave Roberts later said that Cody was “fine,” but Dodgers fans were still holding their collective breaths anyway.
One of the best things the Dodgers have going for them is their depth. Not a lot of teams would be able to absorb the loss of their All-Star third baseman for the first month or two of the season so seamlessly. Second baseman Logan Forsythe will be moving over to the hot corner, and a platoon will be manning his previous position.
With Turner being on the DL, that leaves a spot open for a player who may not have been previously scheduled to break camp with the team to do so. Currently, there are 29 players vying for a spot on the 25-man roster.
The infielders who will make the squad are Bellinger, Chase Utley, Forsythe, Corey Seager, and Turner, once he is fully healed. The starting rotation is also set, as we’ve discussed previously—Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Catchers Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes will be there too. Kyle Farmer, who was a September call up last season, is on the active roster, but not certain to be on the Opening Day roster.
The outfield definites will be Chris Taylor and Yasiel Puig. Enrique Hernandez will make it as utility man extraordinaire. He will be splitting time with Chase Utley, presumably, at second. It seems as though it will boil down to Andrew Toles, Matt Kemp, Joc Pederson and Trayce Thompson. Roberts has all but said that Kemp will be making the team. Kemp has had a great spring and seems rejuvenated. Toles also appears fully healthy following his surgery for a torn ACL last spring. Thompson has rebounded from his less than stellar year last year.
I think Kemp and Toles are locks, and Pederson and Thompson are in flux. This is most interesting to me, as Thompson is out of options. He could be a trade candidate, or he could make the team, until Turner returns. I think he’s the odd man out, though, as the Dodgers need more in the way of pitching than outfielders. I think if he doesn’t make the squad, they will try to trade him to at least get some return for him, rather than just letting him go.
As far as the pitching staff is concerned, we know the starters, as previously stated, and Kenley Jansen are definite. The rest of the relief pitchers on the active roster include Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, Wilmer Font, Ross Stripling, J.T. Chargois, and Tom Koehler. Koehler will start the season on the DL after hurting his shoulder earlier in Spring Training.
Alexander, Baez, Fields, Cingrani, Stripling and Garcia will all be on the squad. That leaves two open slots. Font had been considered early in spring training to have a good shot, but has regressed as time went on. Chargois has impressed so far this year. Pat Venditte, the only non-roster pitcher still left in camp, could be a dark horse to make the squad.
So here is my prediction for the Opening Day Roster –
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