As many media outlets of the Dodgers have already ventured some sort of guess regarding the Opening Day 25-man roster, most are in agreement that there’s a good chance the club elects to carry a traditional seven-man bullpen to begin the season. But although there haven’t been many hints by management in terms of a preferred direction, an eight-man relief corps is certainly still in the realm of possibility.
As a whole, quite a few factors will determine how the starting rotation of the Dodgers compares to those of others around baseball as the 2017 campaign progresses. First and foremost, good health is particularly critical, while overall stamina and endurance will also play key roles in the team’s prosperity. The presence of resident ace Clayton Kershaw probably warrants a Top 20 MLB ranking in itself, yet without the luxury of a true No. 2 starter, the Dodgers slide somewhere right in the middle of the Top 10, at least in the eyes of most informed fans.
The exact make up of the Dodgers outfield is still unknown. Manager Dave Roberts has come out many times saying that Yasiel Puig will be starting in right field, and Joc Pederson will retain his roll in center. Left field is a bit uncertain, but look for Andre Ethier to have the starting role there. Where the real fun begins is determining who will make the team as reserves.
With the arrival of Opening Day now hovering right around the three week mark, much of the fan focus has steadied on the prospective starting rotation of the Dodgers, as each passing day seemingly has one small happening or event which somehow affects the future makeup of the pitching staff.
As spring training games for minor league affiliates of the Dodgers are slated to begin on Monday, we thought it would be an opportune time to scatter in a few more profiles of some of the best prospects on the organization’s farm. Today, we turn our attention to 21-year-old Will Smith, who many pundits believe to have the highest ceiling of all the catchers in the entire system.
The Dodgers just had their first day off of spring training, but some were playing games anyway — just not with the Dodgers. Various players were off competing for their native countries in the World Baseball Classic. There are thoughts against letting MLB players play in this tournament, as risk of injury is always high on the list. I’m sure we all remember Hanley Ramirez and his thumb injury in 2013. But for some players, it’s a way to represent their country, while also working on their skills for the upcoming season.
When the Dodgers signed veteran righty Brandon Morrow to a minor league deal back in January, it didn’t create much buzz among the fan base, much less signify any type of major upgrade in the bullpen. However, if the 32-year-old Santa Rosa native can conceivably put his injuries behind him and earn a spot on the club’s 25-man roster, the relief corps just might end up being a bit stronger.
The answer is yes, although there’s a slim chance he’ll be among the 25 players suited up for Opening Day.
As it stands now, assuming Andre Ethier comes away from a bout of back spasms unscathed, the primary outfield crew for the Dodgers‘ big league squad will consist of Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson, along with the 34-year-old Ethier. And according to our latest projections, newcomer Franklin Gutierrez warrants a spot based on his contract alone, while utility man Scott Van Slyke sneaks on the 25-man primarily for his ability to effectively provide cover at first base.
While the Dodgers survived the first three weeks of spring camp without any significant harm, a few potentially notable injuries occurred during the early days of March, three of which came to light in Monday’s contest against the Rockies.