With all the recent emphasis on the prospective Dodgers big league roster, I thought it would be worth investing a few minutes to start laying out some names to get an idea of what the Opening Day Triple-A squad might look like at Oklahoma City.
In recent years, there’s been a bit of roster flexibility at OKC, giving the organization the opportunity to freely promote several of the youngsters from the lower levels. However, as the 2018 regular season approaches, the system is so deep that a handful of proven Triple-A prospects may be forced down a level to Double-A Tulsa.
I’m not going to take the extra time to throw out a bunch of overloaded player statistics just now, but instead create a shortlist of names which may appear on the Oklahoma City 25-man when the team begins the season at Iowa on April 6.
At this point, there are still a number of gray areas, most specifically when considering the destinies of both Trayce Thompson and Wilmer Font. I could be wrong, but presently I don’t have either making the big league Opening Day roster, which means that they will need to go unclaimed on waivers in order to return to OKC. Just looking at the potential ceilings of both players, one would think that somebody out there will probably take a flyer on one or both.
And, even when considering the current injuries, in some models the final big league 25-man roster spot may theoretically come down to two choices between Andrew Toles, Kyle Farmer and Joc Pederson. Whatever happens, the organization will indeed make room at Oklahoma City when the need arises.
As for the OKC starting rotation, there are several names which could double-back as relievers, but considering the lack of big league rotation depth, will probably begin the year as starters at Triple-A, if only to set-up reasonable cover. Walker Buehler, Brock Stewart, Dennis Santana and Zach Neal will headline the rotation, while talented arms like Henry Owens and Manny Banuelos will be right there as suitable swing-men.
The bullpen sets up nicely with the premiere arms being right-handers Joe Broussard, Yaisel Sierra and Dylan Baker, alongside lefties Adam Liberatore and Edward Paredes. Also battling for roster spots at OKC will be Cesar Ramos, Jordan Jankowski and C.C. Lee.
The catching crew, with or without Farmer, will likely consist of Rocky Gale and Shawn Zarraga, giving highly rated prospects Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz more time to season themselves at the lower levels.
The infield group may very well be one of the most talented in the entire Pacific Coast League. Battling for regular playing time will be Rob Segedin, Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty, Tim Locastro, Jake Peter and Donovan Solano.
All of the aforementioned crew has played a little outfield at some point or another, but the prospective regular outfield at Oklahoma City may be a little too stacked to allow playing time for everyone who needs it. Featured players in the group are Alex Verdugo, Henry Ramos and Travis Taijeron, while Jacob Scavuzzo can provide cover in all three spots. With the addition of Toles or Pederson, the OKC outfield crew may be among the best in the American Northern division.
A quick glance at the prospective big league and Triple-A prospective rosters creates a huge level of excitement for fans of the Dodgers everywhere. The abundance of talent the organization has at both levels is enormous.