On Sunday, one of our dedicated readers, the venerable Jeff D., brought up utility infielder Donovan Solano and the fact that he was having an exceptional year at Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 30-year-old Solano is slashing an insane .376/.421/.517 through 54 games this year and would probably have garnered a bit of big league consideration if he was in an organization other than the Dodgers. Solano’s success reminded me of a handful of other players, most specifically several on the Los Angeles 40-man roster, who would likely already be in the majors if they were in a different system.
After Monday’s convincing 17-1 victory over the Pirates, not many fans of the Dodgers are in the mood to discuss any potential roster moves as the club readies themselves for the second-half of the 2018 campaign. However, there are a handful of players on the upper levels of the farm who are conceivably worthy of a spot on a big league roster, whether it be for the Dodgers or somebody else.
Despite a recent series struggle against the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have been the gem of the PCL this season as they still control the American Northern division and lead the entire league with a 24-12 record.
There’s no question that the Dodgers‘ big league, 25-man roster is structured to handle a short-term absence from just about any player on the squad. The team has relief pitchers who can start, starters who can relieve, outfielders who can play the infield, and even a utility man who can handle the catching duties. However, if another type of unfortunate, long-term injury occurs at any point during the season, the club may find themselves forced to dip into the minor league depths for added cover.
Just in case you’ve missed a few of our recent columns, last week Andy took a look at the potential fallout if Corey Seager wasn’t ready for the season opener, while I shed some light on the Dodgers‘ overall bench picture a few days prior. Consequently, after digging a little deeper into the positional depth, I thought today would be a good opportunity to take a glance at how the middle infielders line up from an organizational perspective.
Although there are just four weeks before the Dodgers take the field on Opening Day against the Giants, there’s still plenty of speculation as to how the club’s 25-man roster might shake out. Currently, there are more than 60 players in big league camp, but that number will soon start to shrink as management starts trimming off some of the fat. With last year’s core group steadily intact, most of the big league roster spots have been cemented, however, there are a few which will likely go right down to the wire.
As the spring training reporting dates for players are drawing ever so near, there haven’t been a typically high number of story lines surrounding the Dodgers so far, outside of a few potentially tight positional battles at catcher and left field. Many people don’t expect much to happen during the time between the first squad workout on February 19 and the Cactus League opener against the White Sox on February 23, but we made a list of five things to look for during the early days of camp, which could impact the landscape of the squad come Opening Day.
The Dodgers are masters of the unexpected. They win when many have begun to lose faith, and they cultivate talent that few knew they had. At the start of the 2017 season, we were unaware as to what kind of reliever Brandon Morrow would become, but come October, he was pitching in high-leverage situations during nearly every postseason game.
When the Dodgers began their regular season campaign last year, starting pitching was at such a premium that the best five pitchers on the club weren’t even in the Opening Day rotation. Lefty phenom Julio Urias began the year in extended spring training in an effort to conserve innings, while southpaw Alex Wood was forced to start his year in the big league bullpen. There was also a ton of marginal depth with arms like Brock Stewart and Trevor Oaks on the fringe, and experienced guys like Justin Masterson, Wilmer Font, Fabio Castillo and Jair Jurrjens providing depth at Triple-A Oklahoma City. There was even hope for Scott Kazmir to join the major league rotation at some point, once his ailing hip healed and he sharpened his throwing mechanics.