When news surrounding the Dodgers was quite slow early in the winter, we ended up taking a preliminary glance at what the club’s 25-man roster may look like. As there have been a few changes since that time, we thought it might be a good idea to roll out another set of projections ahead of the first spring workout for pitchers and catchers, which begins on Wednesday.
Obviously, injuries always play a huge factor when it comes to roster selection, but assuming everyone stays healthy, most of the choices aren’t that difficult.
Aside from a few bubble spots in the bullpen, the roster itself is nearly set. The biggest factor in determining the final choices will be whether or not management elects to utilize a seven or eight-man bullpen. The way I see it, if it’s an eight-man pen, the final position player spot may boil down to a Cactus League competition between Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo. If the team opts for a seven-man relief crew, there may be room for both.
Being that the team named eight relievers on last year’s Opening Day roster and used eight arms for nearly the entire year, I’m predicting that Verdugo is included over Toles, just because Alex has a bit more versatility and conceivably has better contact skills at the plate.
Furthermore, it may be wise to keep an eye on the progress of shortstop Corey Seager. All indications reveal that he’s healthy, but if there are any setbacks, it could result in a few twists on the 25-man.
As far as the starting rotation goes, there’s not much to discuss except the depth beyond the starting five. The rotation was solidified with the departure of Alex Wood last month. But, as far as depth goes, Dennis Santana will be ready to go at the beginning of the year while Ross Stripling is always capable of being stretched for four-plus innings. Julio Urias will emerge at some point, and if our guess for Caleb Ferguson holds true, he’ll be stretched out at Triple-A Oklahoma City and ready for big league starting action at the drop of a dime. Still, Ferguson could be a relief option at some point should the big league club require his services.
The bullpen is the main area of the team with the most speculation, and depending on the effectiveness of a handful of the arms during Cactus League play, several of the roster spots won’t be decided until the final moments before Opening Day. Brock Stewart and Yimi Garcia will be fighting for their respective lives, as both are out of options and could see themselves on the outside if they’re not included on the 25-man. Joining them on the fringe are Josh Fields, JT Chargois, Adam McCreery, Jaime Schultz and Josh Sborz. Conceivably, the final spots in the bullpen may come down to a six or seven-man fight.
Much like the starting rotation, the group of position players is very stable, unless, of course, Andrew Friedman decides to make a huge, late splash and sign somebody like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Presently, aside from Toles, there isn’t much fringe depth to write home about unless you consider the veteran minor league trio of Shane Peterson, Paulo Orlando and Cameron Perkins as notable. Moreover, it may be wise to keep a close eye on Matt Beaty and Edwin Rios if the club decides to mostly stand pat on the 40-man roster.
Looking ahead, we’ll put together another projection a few days before Opening Day, but as of right now, here’s my vision:
Starting Pitchers (5) – Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenta Maeda and Rich Hill
Bullpen (8) – Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez, Dylan Floro, Ross Stripling, Tony Cingrani, Scott Alexander and Yimi Garcia
Infielders/Outfielders (3) – Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez
Outfielders (3) – A.J. Pollock, Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo
Infielders (4) – Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Max Muncy and David Freese
Catchers (2) – Austin Barnes and Russell Martin
22 thoughts on “Dodgers 2019 Opening Day Roster Projections: Second Edition”
It will interesting to see how much second base Muncy plays which would allow both JOC and Verdugo to play the corner outfield spots especially against righties. I’d be interested to see everyone’s projected starting lineups against righties and then lefties
I think I read somewhere that the Dodgers used like 108 different lineups last year. During certain stretches it seemed like Roberts utilized a completely different lineup every single night–just to be spiteful. So, as much as I try to guess, I’m willing to wager we’ll probably see something different. At times last year, some of the batting orders didn’t even seem logical.
As I’ve said before, Muncy OPS’d left handed starters at a 1.022 clip. Why in the world would you start someone else over him? He’s done exactly what he’s been asked to do. You want to platoon Joc, fine. But Muncy proved himself against everybody. He starts at first.
I know that won’t happen. As Dennis just alluded to, different lineups every night is Roberts’ M.O.. I get that so I expect that. But unless he plays his way out of the lineup in Spring Training, our best OPS guy, Max Muncy, starts.
I agree with your Muncy sentiments. My guess is that it will take a fairly long stretch of not producing until they view him as a platoon option.
I don’t see Taylor as a 5-hole hitter, especially if they can cut his strike outs down this year which may also cut down on his homers but improve his OBP. Against righties, I would switch Belli/Muncy and Taylor. Against lefties I would be tempted to lead off with Taylor and put Pollock in the 5 spot. And as far as Joc/Kike, I would make that Verdugo/Kike and move Joc for a relief pitcher such as Will Smith or Watson, or if AF feels he doesn’t need another bullpen guy, get a prospect or two.
I just can’t imagine many clubs out there offering up a decent return for Pederson. Honestly, I think Friedman would have bitten by now if there was something at least a little profitable in his eyes.
If Verdugo has a good spring and they decide he’s going to be a starter, the next decision will be if they want to play Bellinger in the outfield or at first most of the time. Of course, Muncy at first or second will factor into that. Long story short, if Joc winds up as a pinch hitter and 2-day a week starter, he absolutely needs to be moved because he will not be even slightly effective in that role and he will then be one of those guys that (like Puig, Wood, Kemp) Friedman will want to move out of the clubhouse because he won’t be a happy camper. That’s a lot of ifs but I think Verdugo’s play will have a lot to do with Joc’s future.
Roberts said today that he sees Bellinger at both RF and 1B. Several minutes later he said he doesn’t envision as much platooning as last year with Pollock and Seager around. I like what you say about Pederson, but I can’t see Verdugo as a bench guy, either. With an outfield of Belli, Pollock and Verdugo, that puts Muncy at first and maybe Taylor at second. Makes you tired just thinking about all the possibilities. Would be nice to see a little regularity for a change. What’s more upsetting than anything else is when Roberts doesn’t play a guy on a night after he goes like 10-for-12 in his previous three games with two bombs, three doubles and 1O RiBs.
I’m with you Dennis. When a guy is hot, leave him in the lineup the next day. So much of hitting is psychological and likewise with slumps. If a guy is on a hot streak let him play his way out of the lineup.
I can’t wait to see how Bruce Bochy reacts when Farhan hands him the lineup card on Opening Day.
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He might use an intermediary like a clubhouse guy to get it to him. 🙂
I do not think Garcia has a snowballs chance in hell of making the roster. Fields is a better pitcher than he is. Hell, Chargois is better and i do not see him breaking with the team out of spring either. And none of the guys they traded for is going to make it. I think Ferguson starts the year, along with Urias at AAA in the rotation.
So you see them cutting ties with both Stewart and Yimi?
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Yep. I think it comes down to numbers and there is just not enough wiggle room to keep both. They pretty much did the same thing last year when they traded for Alexander. I thought at the time that Trevor Oaks had more upside than Stewart, but he was the one who got dealt. Look at the names of the guys you picked and Fields and Ferguson are not on that list and they were or have been a huge part of the pen. Roberts relied on Ferguson a lot last year. But it comes down to numbers. Yimi is going to have to have a outstanding spring, I for one do not think he will. But like everything else, I could turn out to be very wrong. Chargois in not on your list either, and in reality, though I think he will be in AAA, Urias is not on that list either, and we all know how highly the Dodgers think of him. Basically, I think there is one spot open on the roster and it is in the pen and I do not think Yimi ends up being the guy that wins that spot simply because he is out of options. Stewart on the other hand, has zero chance. Santana is ahead of him on my starter depth chart.
I mentioned Fiedls, Chargois among the group of five or six who will be contending for the final few roster spots.
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I know…but they are not on the final 25. I am not sure about Fields, but I think Chargois has options remaining.
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Both Fields and Chargois have one option year left.
If Yimi is 100% he has value. I don’t see him making the 25 either but if he’s healthy I’d keep him at the ready. If Urias is on a pitch count I would keep him below 70 every time out at AAA. I don’t care about an inning count. He’s good enough now to be in most starting rotations in this league. I want him available September through November.
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Garcia has to make the 25 man because he is out of options, so he does not make it they either trade him or release him. I think they will try to trade him first.
You’re right, which means he absolutely has a shot at being on the roster Opening Day. If he is whole, he has one of the best, if not THE best, spin rates in the organization. That alone could put him on the team. The only question is – is he back?
I was looking for updates and found this:
“The bullpen will have Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez, Tony Cingrani, Scott Alexander, and most likely Ross Stripling. But this leaves Josh Fields, Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson, Julio Urias, JT Chargois, Yimi Garcia, and Brock Stewart competing for two, or perhaps only one roster spot(s). Many teams in MLB would kill to have those seven guys in their bullpen on Opening Day.
It will not be surprising for Fields and Floro to make the roster and Chargois in the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers bullpen, with Urias probably staying behind in extended spring training or optioned to OKC along with Ferguson as starting pitchers. As such, OKC could very well start the 2019 season with the most dominant starting rotation in the Pacific Coast League comprised of Urias, Ferguson, Dennis Santana, Tony Gonsolin, and Mitchell White.
Stewart and Garcia are long shots to make the roster and both are out of minor league options. They could be transferred to the “Injured List” and remain in extended spring training, then at some point given up to 30 days on rehab assignments. This would buy them – and the Dodgers – additional time for a possible trade(s), or perhaps even being designated for assignment (DFA) a possibility before Opening Day.”
The IL. If Garcia is healed from his TJ surgery, and he should be, he could be kept by using the 10 day revolving door. Of course, with this alleged depth, they could decide to just DFA him. It would be a shame as pitchers who average over 9 K/IP with a WHIP of 1.068 are usually kept. His career WHIP is better than most of the guys that appear to be a lock. And that includes the year he was pitching hurt. His first 2 years here, 66 innings, it was well below 1. That’s rare air. Of course, there are no guarantees after TJ.
Josh Fields and Scott Alexander were not effective last year especially Alexander. Seems everytime he came in he poured kerosene on the fire and Fields tendencies are longballitis. No real moves in the off-season while finally giving up on Puig and dumping Kemp who finally got into a World Series hitting a homer then getting splinters for the rest of the series riding the pine. Finally I don’t see why Dave Roberts is still in the clubhouse? Extension? Really? This edition reminds me of the ’77’ and ’78’ Bums who got there only to be vanquished by the better Yankees. Oh well still love em after 50 plus years following. Hey maybe the pattern will repeat like 1977 and 1978 and they will skip out this postseason to emerge in 2020 to win it all? I must be dreaming but hope is all I have for this year. See you in the Coke Pavilion where all you can eat and strong possibilities of getting a ball either by bat induced air mail or fan friendly outfielders tossing the warm up ball into the stands. Cya at the game! Nastyniles 2019