The Dodgers looked nice and ready for Opening Day yesterday in their game against the Texas Rangers. Clayton Kershaw went for his longest outing yet, and was dominant — he struck out 11 of the 21 batters he faced in 92 pitches, allowing two hits and one walk. The prime time slot for the game last night showed MLB that its best pitcher he’s ready to go.
For many fans of the Dodgers, it’s beginning to become an annual occurrence — overwhelming optimism about a stacked rotation in the winter, eventually turning into genuine concern about the prospective starting pitching crew as Opening Day draws near. What was once a highly talented staff extending to the rafters at Triple-A Oklahoma City now has a few gray areas even at the big league level.
The countdown is on — just two weeks until the Dodgers open up the season against the San Diego Padres. Clayton Kershaw will be the starter that day, but on his last start he looked less than Kershaw-like. Kersh allowed three home runs, four runs total on six hits in five innings. He also had eight strikeouts and two walks.
While last week’s injury report brought on a bit of concern from many fans of the Dodgers, the outlook for this week is much better, as the two-week mark before the season opener is quickly approaching and the projected 25-man roster becomes a bit more defined.
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.
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.
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.
After outlining our intermediate 25-man roster projections yesterday, one notion that came to mind straight away was considering how the Dodgers might benefit from a potential deal with another club — in effect, adding another productive piece to an already very deep 40-man roster.
While we’re patiently waiting for a few plausible roster fluctuations to be ironed out before we publish our intermediate round of 2017 roster projections, we thought we’d take a look at another area of the Dodgers‘ organization that will certainly have a huge impact on the success of the club this year — the outfield.