While the Los Angeles starting rotation and bullpen will likely see many significant changes over the next six weeks, the position player portion of the roster could be relatively set.
Sure, there could be a few arguments made for the inclusion of someone like James Outman — or Miguel Vargas, who can play a little outfield — but unless someone goes extremely cold or another injury occurs, the outfielders on the roster right now may be the ones we see come October.
If the team decides to give Edwin Rios a big league shot when he’s healthy enough to return from the injured list in the coming weeks, it could throw a wrench into the outfield landscape because he’d need to take a position player’s spot. Joey Gallo sticks out as that player because he’s a lefty hitter and the team doesn’t really need him for defense. However, the club could just as easy keep Rios in the minors unless he’s needed as an injury replacement, specifically as a hitter and not so much as a third baseman or infielder.
What’s likely to occur, though, is activating Rios once the roster expand to 28 players on September 1, setting up a serious audition for about three or four position players for a single postseason roster spot.
Anyway, the bigger question here is which players will make up the primary outfield core and see the most playing time.
Aside from Mookie Betts, there probably isn’t a concrete answer at this point of the season. We would like to think that Cody Bellinger is the primary centerfielder, especially for his defensive prowess. Yet, when you consider his paltry .210/.267/.402 slash line, it makes you wonder if he’s worth keeping around for just his defense.
Bellinger has shown some power, and the crazy thing is that as soon as the majority of the fan base is about ready to give up on him, he has a breakout game, leading some to believe he’s about ready to emerge as his former self from several years back.
And, even though Chris Taylor will certainly be a part of the postseason roster for his versatility, one can argue that Trayce Thompson should be on the field as much as possible. Even though Thompson hasn’t been a regular since the return of Taylor and the acquisition of Gallo, he still continues to produce just about every chance he’s given.
Just as much as Gavin Lux has almost locked down the primary second base spot, Thompson could be well on his way to securing the regular left fielder’s spot.
Of course, if it’s up to skipper Dave Roberts, he’d tell you there are no “regulars” on the team aside from Mookie, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner and Will Smith. However, teams often benefit from a bit of regularity when the playoffs roll around rather than basing every night’s lineup on a righty/lefty hitting matchup.
If he continues to produce, Trayce Thompson could be one of those regular guys.