Dodgers 2018 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

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During their quest for their sixth consecutive National League West crown, the Dodgers certainly made good use of the expanded roster, as plenty of players were given numerous opportunities to prove their respective values down the stretch run of the regular season. At first glance, many fans thought the process of determining the team’s 25-man playoff roster would be a difficult one; however, aside from a few bubble players, most of the decisions should be relatively easy.

Probably the simplest way of approaching a projection is to list the most common lineup, which features mostly left-handed hitters against a would-be opposing right-handed pitcher:

  • Joc Pederson – LF
  • Justin Turner – 3B
  • Max Muncy – 1B
  • Manny Machado – SS
  • Cody Bellinger – CF
  • Yasiel Puig – RF
  • Enrique Hernandez – 2B
  • Yasmani Grandal – C

Of course, the actual lineup itself will be the subject of scrutiny, but all of us can definitely agree that these will be the principal players.

As far as the bench players go—also known as the group who would likely be starting against an opposing southpaw—the team would have Austin Barnes as the secondary catcher, mainly because the club wouldn’t consider Kyle Farmer or Rocky Gale to call a game on their own. Farmer made a few previous postseason rosters, but in this year’s version, there’s just too much other bench talent to warrant his inclusion. Regardless, the final position player spots would be given to Matt Kemp, Chris Taylor, Brian Dozier and David Freese.

In theory, the final spot may come down to a decision between Dozier, Freese and veteran leader Chase Utley. The club may very well surprise pundits and include Utley, mainly because Dozier’s offense has been borderline invisible since arriving in Los Angeles. Still, Dozier provides an exceptional defensive option at the keystone, perhaps giving him a clear edge in the end. Nevertheless, an Utley inclusion—as small of a chance it may be—isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility.

And, while 22-year-old outfielder Alex Verdugo may be among the Top 3 most talented outfielders in the entire organization, the experience of all the other aforementioned outfielders, especially with regards to the postseason, weighs out his inclusion.

The starting pitching crew of Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill is a given. There could be a bit of uncertainty about the order until all the dust settles on the finalized NLDS schedule.

We already had a brief discussion about the bullpen almost a week ago. At the time, lefty Alex Wood was struggling to re-acclimate himself into the relief crew, but he has certainly proved his value in his most recent outings. Accompanying Wood will be Kenley Jansen, Kenta Maeda, Caleb Ferguson, Scott Alexander, Pedro Baez and Ross Stripling. The final bullpen spot could boil down to a decision between Dylan Floro, Josh Fields or Ryan Madson; but at the moment, Floro definitely has the best stuff among the trio, at least in my own opinion.

It’s possible that the club may opt for either seven or nine relievers, but right now, eight seems about right, considering they’re likely to use four starting pitchers and five bench spots for position players.

Please stay tuned, as we’ll do our best to report any team news or roster updates when they become available.

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30 thoughts on “Dodgers 2018 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

  1. I’m onboard with all of your picks Dennis. Would definitely take Dozier over the Silver Fox although I can understand others wanting to go the other way. As badly as he’s been hitting, it hasn’t had any kind of effect on his great defense (weren’t we saying the same thing about Logan Forsythe about a year ago?). I have a strange feeling that if Dozier makes the roster, he’s going to have some important offensive contributions. I would definitely take Floro over Fields and Madsen. My only question is that Jansen guy. I have my concerns about him. Strangely, he’s had the same kind of year as the Dodger offense. On some days a Hall of Fame performance while on others you think a minor leaguer would do better. Long story short, you gotta go with guy who brought you, so let’s just hope with everything on the line Kenley finds his command and brings us to the promised land.

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  2. Wood is getting plenty of rest. I think they will have him in the pen. The bullpen will be decided by HAL, based on historical matchup algorithms. Dozier starts at second. Utley? Not sure, but probably. Might depend on how well he matches up against the Atlanta bullpen. HAL will decide that too.

    I think we match up well against these guys. I saw a prediction I liked yesterday – Dodgers in 3. I’d never say that, but I’ll take LA in <5.

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  3. I agree with one exception. Ditch below the Mendoza line Dozier and add a pitcher. Hernandez the stud has earned starting at 2B throughout the post season, remember the Cubs ’17 NLCS.. If he gets hurt Taylor can fill in. I know I will get some negative feedback BUT Urias is dealing electric stuff and has earned a spot. So what if he can’t pitch two days in a row, as the 9th pitcher instead of 8 pitchers he doesn’t need to.

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    1. I can’t argue with any of that John. I think the organization loves Dozier’s power potential, and that’s the only reason I believe he starts. Hernandez will continue to play every day everywhere. I like Urias too, I just wonder how many left handers they would intend to carry. Feels like an abundance of riches at this point.

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      1. Scoop I loved it when they picked up Dozier for his power and defense and gamer attitude. But he just isn’t close to getting it done at the plate, perhaps do to injury. Which pitcher we add as his replacement I’ll be happy with Mattingly and Roberts choice. I just love how Urias looks against lefties and righties in his few appearances. He’s got Buehler stuff, minus a few miles on his fastball but a more complete package of pitches.

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  4. Yeah John, I was excited to get him because he had a second half reputation. Well deserved as I recall. Methinks he might have a scroinge in his medial bipleziac and it has stymied his getalong. Hopefully he is healthy and inspired about a chance to perform on a big stage. He’s a small town kid from Mississippi. But, so was Brett Favre. In the words of the Indians manager Lou Brown – “Go get ‘em kid.”

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    1. Scoop, you’re one of the very few people who even knows about the existence of the medial bipleziac. I’m sure you are also aware that it was only discovered after the launch of the Hubble telescope. Which med school did you attend?

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  5. So, Ryu is starting Game 1. In my mind that’s the right decision but I sure wouldn’t have wanted to be the one to tell Kershaw. Even if Ryu gives up 10 runs, I’ll still think it was the right decision, especially considering CK’s recent outings. If it goes 5 games, either Ryu or Kershaw could start Game 5 on full rest.

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    1. No med school Jeff. I did my undergraduate work and received a teaching credential from Chico State. Adaptive PE and Special Ed. I then got my Masters and Doctorate in Epistemological Philosophy from Pacific University of Hawaii. Funny story about that….. but I don’t want to bore you with it.

      Hubble huh? I thought it was in his leg. You’re telling me it was in his stars? Far out. (bet you haven’t heard that in a while)

      I have no problem with Ryu starting. He’s pitched well. We will win if we hit. It won’t matter who’s pitching if we don’t.

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      1. Starting with your last point. Completely agree.
        Epistemological Philosophy? I can’t even believe you would lower yourself to converse with me.
        Far out? No, I haven’t heard that one in a million years but I went to Cal Berkeley in the 60’s and those were the only two words I ever used during those four years. 🙂

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      2. I almost went to Berkeley in ‘66 to play football and baseball. Got a letter from them, but I think it was as a favor to a coach. Truth is, I wasn’t good enough and neither were my grades. Joined the Marines instead. Made varsity on that team.

        The funny story I left out was this: PUH was an online university run by a friend of mine and the degrees were Honorary. There is no such program as Epistemological Philosophy. I made it up. I do have a beautiful diploma hanging in my office. Impressive, huh? The stuff about Chico is true.

        So much for my Cubs pick. I got the A’s today. Not that I think they will win in NY, I just don’t like the Yankees.

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      3. Epistemological Philosophy is just about the most impressive sounding degree I’ve ever heard of. The fact that you made it up only adds to its magnificence and is just testimony to your excellent imagination and word skills. I salute you! With regard to the A’s, I figure the chances of their pulling it off tonight are about 48% which ain’t bad odds. Severino could implode at any time and the A’s have some very good hitters. I share your disdain for the Yanks so at least there will be two of us rooting for the Boys from Oakland. That play down to the World Series in the AL is going to be an absolute brawl. I’m hoping that the survivor is so battered and bruised that the NL representative (hopefully us) will just sneak past them and win it all.

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      4. Thank you Jeff. Much acute epistepercipience went into the construction of that major. (I made that up too)

        Yanks favored -185. 8.5 runs. I’ll take the A’s in a close one – 4.5 to 4.25. Yeah, I got the over. No line on the Crockies yet, Dodgers of course are favored. Who cares about Cleveland. Rams favored by 7.5……. so…. there’s that too.

        538 has us favored to win the pennant. We’re at 46%, Brewers at 24%. Astros favored in the AL, and to win it all. That’s how I see it. A month ago I wasn’t sure we’d get through the NL tournament, but September changed my thinking on that. My confidence level is now high.

        Ok, time for aerobics. Sometimes I pull weeds, sometimes I rake my decorative rock. It’s the baseball playoffs, so this morning I rake. (see what I did there)

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      5. Considering the fact that the Brewers have been even hotter in September than the Dodgers, I don’t understand how 538 can say the Dodgers have about twice as good a chance at the WS as the Brewers do. They must really be marking them down for the starting pitching because their hitting is good and the bullpen is very good. On second thought, they are no doubt factoring in that they expect us to have a much easier time with the Braves than the Brewers will have with the Rox. Also, they give us about a 70% chance of beating the Braves. In a short series, I would think that might be a bit steep because any team, the Dodgers in particular, can go into a hitting funk for a few games. In conclusion……………………..I don’t agree with their analysis and I fervently hope they prove me wrong.

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  6. “70% a bit steep”

    I got this one Jeff – in the last 28 days our pitching has been better. 3.16 ERA to the Braves 4.1. And, we are hitting better than they are in the last 28 – Dodgers 139 sOPS+, Braves 99 sOPS+ And, we have home field. Hell, we might win this in 2.

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    1. Yeah, but if you extend it out to 31 days………………………….oh never mind.
      So do you think everyone else is busy Scoop, or are they so sick of our repartee that they’ve just decided to have nothing to do with TBPC any longer? If that’s the case, I think we both owe Dennis an apology.

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      1. Not sure what is going on. It’s been quiet in here. If not for our conversation, which I’ve enjoyed, this would be a rather empty page. Should pick up before tomorrow’s game.

        Ryu, Kershaw, Buehler, Hill. A team sOPS’n near 140. A bullpen that, though looks like it could be the weak link, could also be quite good. (Which Kenley Jansen shows up?)

        Yeah, I like our chances. I still don’t like the SABR approach, but it’s vogue and we look pretty good at it.

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      2. I guess the expression “It’s not the destination, but the journey” might apply here. Everyone was here for the journey but now that we’ve reached the destination (the playoffs) they’ve found other things to do.

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  7. Some of us have to work for a living, we don’t have the time to sit around and write posts, or rake our rocks all day, or what ever your doing scoop, plus with all that witty wordsmithing, I’m a little intimidated of you guys.

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    1. Hey Keith, good to see you back here again. We retired folk are just trying to show you younger, still working guys what you have to look forward to in retirement. Wake up, have that first cup of coffee, check TBPC, post an inane comment, have lunch, take a nap, check TBPC to see if you’ve intimidated anyone, post another inane comment, have dinner, make sure to go to sleep before 7:00 PM except during playoffs when you can stay up until 8:00, rinse and repeat. It’s a truly stimulating life.

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    1. I’m retired Keith. I got the time to play around.

      I used to post on a few blogs, wrote for one, but suddenly people everywhere seem to be wound a bit tight, so I’ve backed off most of them. Wonder what happened to make people so angry?

      Intimidated? Believe me, if you knew me you wouldn’t say that. I’m just trying to lighten things up a bit. Maybe I should not try so hard?

      Yankees do suck. But I like Stanton. It’s my opinion he should be wearing a Dodgers uniform. Same with Yelich. They are both Southern California boys and grew up wanting to be Dodgers. Can’t imagine being a Dodger fan all my life and having to play for the Yankees. Wait a minute… maybe I can imagine it. Making around $28,000 a night league minimum? To play baseball? Yeah, I could do it. I’ll go get my glove.

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  8. I knew Jeff was retired, I thought you were too. You and Jeff, keep up the creative banter, it keeps things light and fun. I hate when I see people insulting each other on the blogs, that’s why I like it here, there may not be thousands of people posting, but everyone is fun, and respectful.
    I’m with you on Stanton, if it wasn’t for the damn salary tax reset,this season, I think Stanton would be a dodger.
    My wife, and a couple of her girl friends are going to the game today, hope they bring some good luck with them. Dodgers in four.
    Lastly, and most importantly, thank you for your service, scoop.

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    1. Thanks. I appreciate the thought Keith. And am glad you are sticking around.

      Yeah, many, including me, figured since it was a reset year we might come up short and have an excuse for it. That, and we lost Seager early, why not just push the reset button? But, even with those excuses I still didn’t see any West teams that looked like all that. And I kept reading experts opinions saying we were pretty good. Turns out we are. Better than the stros? Not really. Yankees? F them. Better than Boston? Nope. But, we weren’t better than the A’s in ‘88 either.

      We’re here. Let’s see what happens.

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