Oklahoma City Dodgers 25-Man Roster Projections: March 2017 Edition

Not long after the 25-man big league roster is submitted the morning of April 3, the entire management crew of the Dodgers will find itself spinning its wheels drawing up a prospective draft for the Triple-A Oklahoma City squad. Opening Day for OKC falls on Thursday, April 6 at home, so there’s basically just a few days to decide which players remain on the upper fringes of the farm and which players head for the plains of Double-A Tulsa.

The amount of talent contained within Oklahoma City’s 2017 roster can simply be described as “overwhelming.” Even the OKC bullpen, which was stretched a bit thin heading into last year’s Pacific Coast League Championship against El Paso, is stocked with a number of arms that even a group of other major league clubs would envy.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that a number of our projections are based on a few players opening the season on the major league disabled list. In addition, several determinations may also come down to the wire due to a handful of roster battles, most specifically competition in the big league bullpen as well as a few utility roles.

Beginning with the outfield, and assuming that Andrew Toles replaces the injured Andre Ethier on the Los Angeles Opening Day roster, the OKC crew quite possibly could consist of Alex Verdugo, Trayce Thompson, Brett Eibner, O’Koyea Dickson and Tyler Holt. As far as who starts and who doesn’t, your guess is as good as ours, as at least three of the names shown are certainly considered to be MLB-ready by many standards.Depending on how the roster in constructed, though, there may not even be room for Henry Ramos, who could conceivably begin his campaign on the shelf because of a groin injury, or super-utility man Stetson Allie, who can capably man all the corner spots in the infield and the outfield. Consequently, when considering that management likes to keep players such as Rob Segedin and Cody Bellinger well-versed in the outfield, there’s really not much room for maneuvering. And that’s not even mentioning Scott Van Slyke, Enrique Hernandez or Chris Taylor, if for some reason one or two are left off the big league 25-man roster.

Moving along to the infield, the primary core will consist of Segedin at the hot corner, Taylor/Hernandez at short, Willie Calhoun at the keystone, and Bellinger at first base. Charlie Culberson and Darnell Sweeney should competently handle all the utility roles. Leftover players on our list include the likes of Ike Davis and Drew Maggi, who may eventually opt for free agency or even accept an assignment with the Drillers. Either way, the high number of these fringe players who may not even make the Triple-A roster absolutely speaks volumes about the overall depth of the entire organization.

At catcher, Kyle Farmer is likely to handle the primary duties, while journeyman Bobby Wilson will presumably stick around to mentor Farmer and be the first to get the big league call in case of injury. Because of the crowded bench, we couldn’t find room for Jack Murphy, who may even have a hard time being squeezed in at Tulsa due to the presences of Paul Hoenecke and Wynston Sawyer. In any event, it’s good to finally see the system stocked full of so many receivers who can adequately handle the duties behind the dish.

Looking at the starting rotation, our guess is that lefty Alex Wood still finds a way to nail down a spot on the big league squad, and that Ross Stripling find a place in the Los Angeles bullpen. That leaves Brock Stewart, Trevor Oaks, Josh Sborz, Fabio Castillo and Andrew Thurman as the OKC starting five. As there’s a good chance Stewart won’t be ready for Opening Day, Oaks may get the honors to throw in the first game against Iowa, while either Madison Younginer or Patrick Schuster, both starting pitchers in their early minor league days, could be used in a pinch until Stewart is stretched out and ready to go.

As far as the bullpen goes, based on our current major league projections, the Oklahoma City staff will consist of Jacob Rhame, Adam Liberatore, Josh Fields, Steve Geltz, Josh Ravin, Joe Broussard and Ralston Cash. Because of the huge amount of depth, we have Kyle Grana, Layne Somsen and Edward Paredes all listed on the bubble and potentially destined for Tulsa.

In the end, depending on which types of matchups the management crew has a desire to see, there’s no question that OKC skipper Bill Haselman will have his hands full when constructing his lineups throughout the upcoming campaign. Undoubtedly, fans of the Dodgers everywhere have tons of reasons to be excited in 2017, as the amount of promise that the organization has at all levels is enormous.

2017 Oklahoma City Dodgers Projected Roster

Outfielders (5) — Trayce Thompson, O’Koyea Dickson, Brett Eibner, Alex Verdugo and Tyler Holt

Infielders (6) — Rob Segedin, Chris Taylor, Willie Calhoun, Cody Bellinger, Charlie Culberson and Darnell Sweeney

Catchers (2) — Kyle Farmer and Bobby Wilson

Starting Pitchers (5) — Brock Stewart, Trevor Oaks, Josh Sborz, Fabio Castillo and Andrew Thurman

Bullpen (7) — Jacob Rhame, Adam Liberatore, Josh Fields, Steve Geltz, Josh Ravin, Joe Broussard and Ralston Cash

Bubble (10) — Madison Younginer, Patrick Schuster, Kyle Grana, Edward Paredes, Layne Somsen, Ike Davis, Henry Ramos, Jack Murphy, Stetson Allie and Drew Maggi

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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Dodgers Starting Rotation: How Can Alex Wood Secure a 25-Man Roster Spot?

On Tuesday, just moments after we began a pessimistic discussion about the state of the Dodgers prospective rotation, lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu took the bump against the Brewers and fired four solid innings of one-hit, shutout ball, making a clear argument for himself to be considered among the starting pitching crew when Opening Day rolls around on April 3.

This is fantastic news for Ryu, who fell off the radar the past two seasons due to his problematic shoulder. After missing all of 2015 recovering from surgery, he was initially scheduled to return during 2016 spring camp, but his shoulder never mended properly. Following numerous unsuccessful throwing programs, he finally began to throw hard late last summer and surprisingly made a big league start against the Padres on July 7, when he surrendered six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4-2/3 innings pitched.

Elbow soreness not long after his return to the mound ultimately led to an arthroscopic debridement procedure, which would eventually shut him down for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Notwithstanding, during 2017 Cactus League play, the 29-year-old native of South Korea has thrown nine full innings over three appearances, surrendering only five hits and one earned run while striking out a total of eight opposing batters. Many pundits believe that if Ryu remains healthy over the next 10 days, he’s a lock to secure a starting rotation spot, supplanting fellow southpaw Alex Wood, who could be destined for Triple-A Oklahoma City to remain on call in case of a big league injury.

At the beginning of spring training in 2016, Wood was right on the fringe of the starting rotation, often being discussed as the headliner at OKC, up until the point it was deemed that Ryu would remain on the shelf, and when team officials announced that Brett Anderson required surgery on his back to repair a damaged disc. Starting the 2016 season as the Dodgers’ No. 4 starter, Wood would go on to make 10 mediocre starts through May, before he was forced to the disabled list to rest his elbow for a month because of an apparent posterior impingement. Ultimately, he underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his elbow and missed an additional eight weeks. Although it appeared as if his season was finished, the 26-year-old Charlotte native persevered through rehab and went on to make four impressive relief appearances of shutout ball down the stretch of the regular season, eventually earning a spot on the NLCS roster against the Cubs in October.

If he’s 100 percent healthy and his mechanics are in tune, there’s no question that he’s among the best five in the Dodgers’ organization. However, injuries have been Wood’s downfall in his two years with Los Angeles after he made an impressive 30 or more starts during his first three years with the Braves.

So far this spring, Wood appears to be in good health, having pitched in a total of four contests, two of which were starts. Over 11-1/3 innings, he has surrendered four earned runs on nine hits, alongside two walks and 11 strikeouts.

If Ryu stays on his current pace and indeed earns a spot in the Dodgers’ starting five, it seemingly vaults Wood into a competition with veteran righty Brandon McCarthy for the final spot in the rotation. McCarthy has also had his own fare share of struggles in his quest of battling back from Tommy John surgery in 2015.

Yet because Wood has plenty of options remaining on his contract, he may be the odd man out. Since he has already proven himself to throw effectively in relief, though, Wood could be an option in the bullpen, especially if the Dodgers decide to begin the season with an eight-man relief corps. But keeping in mind the injury pedigrees of Rich Hill, Ryu and McCarthy, it may make more sense to have Wood stretched out as a starter, waiting for the phone to ring at Oklahoma City when a need arises on the big league roster.

As far as controlling his own destiny, it probably matters little. Just where exactly he fits into the Dodgers’ puzzle probably depends only slightly on how well he throws through the remainder of the spring, but more importantly, how the pitching staff shapes up as a whole on the injury front over the next 10 days.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

Dodgers Bullpen: Ross Stripling’s 25-Man Roster Chances Are Improving

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(Mandatory Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

While quite a number of spots on the Dodgers‘ 25-man roster are presumably set in stone, the bullpen is still a complex gray area that’s loaded with plenty of question marks. Yet after the dust finally settles at the end of March, versatile righty Ross Stripling may have found a spot among the big league relief corps.

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Better Utility Option: Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernández or Charlie Culberson?

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(Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Listening to the Dodgers radio broadcast yesterday, Rick Monday said something that piqued my interest. He said that he thought Chris Taylor might have a better chance making the 25-man roster because he was there, in camp, showing his hustle. Meanwhile, Enrique Hernandez was playing with the Team Puerto Rico, and not being seen or evaluated by the front office and coaching staff.

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Dodgers Roster: Is an 8-Man Bullpen the Best Route to Success?

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(Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

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.

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Dodgers Spring Training: Do All the Statistics Really Matter?

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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.

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Dodgers Bullpen: Making a Case for Brandon Morrow

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

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.

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Will a Healthy Trayce Thompson Contend for Dodgers’ 25-Man Roster?

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(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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.

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Dodgers Roster: Outlining the Battles that Could Go Down to the Wire

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(Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)

Now that a full week has passed since the Dodgers began their 2017 Cactus League campaign, we thought it may be a good time to revisit several of the roster battles that we’ve been discussing since the squad began taking shape earlier in the winter.

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Should Dodgers Just Give Joe Blanton the $4 Million Already?

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(Mandatory Credit: Rob Leiter/Getty Images)

At first glance, there no question that the prospective 25-man Opening Day squad of the Dodgers could easily considered among the best in baseball. Yet after breaking down all the areas of the roster, the bullpen may be one of those areas which could use a slight upgrade, and veteran reliever Joe Blanton just may be the guy who fits the bill.

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