Dodgers Playoff Roster Notes: Adrián González, Joc Pederson, Kyle Farmer & More

The Dodgers have finally clinched the division, and are one win away from reaching 100 wins this season. Their PECOTA projections was 98 wins, so in that respect they have exceeded expectations. What was not expected, however, is the makeup of the roster heading into the playoffs.

The core group is there, of course. Clayton Kershaw will be the game one starter. Corey Seager and Justin Turner will be anchoring the left side of the infield. Yasiel Puig will be in right ( he and Dave Roberts will work out whatever issues they are dealing with right now, I’m sure of it. Something would have to be incredibly egregious to not have the best right fielder in the National League at his position). Other than that, one would not have been able to foresee who would be manning the other positions.

Behind the plate, Yasmani Grandal would have no doubt been the starter through the playoffs with Austin Barnes just being the backup. But between Grandal’s horrid slump and Barnes’ solid play, it could very well be a righty/lefty matchup behind the plate. Barnes has played so well everywhere, that it could be that Kyle Farmer makes the playoff roster, to have to ability to use Barnes at second. Grandal has started to turn things around behind the plate lately, and I hope it continues. The team is better when his bat drops are a big part of the lineup.

At first base, it will be Cody Bellinger and not Adrian Gonzalez. It still remains to be seen if Gonzalez will even make the first round roster because of the injury to his back. AGon had never been on the disabled list prior to the season, and now hasn’t played the majority of the year. Bellinger was just hoping for a September call-up, and now has broken the NL rookie home run record, and has a very good chance to hit 40. It will be sad not to see the Butter and Egg man out there playing, but he will be behind the scenes helping the other players in any way that he can.

The Dodgers traded for Logan Forsythe during the offseason, and re-signed Chase Utley. More offense was expected from Forsythe, and I don’t know if anyone can quite put their finger on what could be the issue there. Although again, he, like Yasmani, seems to be on the upswing at the right time. Utley, affectionately dubbed “Granddad” by people on Dodgers Twitter, could be used in platoons with Forsythe, and still remains a formidable bat off the bench.

The outfield is the most surprising to myself, though. The year started with Chris Taylor in Triple-A, primarily he didn’t play the outfield. Fast forward to the end of the season, and he will be the starting center fielder in the playoffs, batting leadoff. Who could have possibly seen that coming? Andrew Toles‘ unfortunate injury started it off, and through bad play of other players, Taylor garnered more and more chances to prove himself, and has done a fine job of it.

Injuries make sense as a reason someone different is starting at certain positions. Joc Pederson possibly not starting the playoffs in centerfield is a little different, though. Joc has seen flashes of brilliance with the bat, but hasn’t quite gotten it all together. After a truly sub-par season offensively, a great deal of tinkering with his swing, and a stint in Triple-A, Joc is back with the team, but is not starting full regularly. Pederson defensively is the best center fielder the Dodgers have, but if his bat doesn’t improve he will find himself not on the roster at all, and Curtis Granderson in left.

Granderson is not such a surprise, in that who he is as a player and person is exactly what the front office looks for. Exemplary character both on and off the field. He’s not as great defensively as maybe he once was, and he has not hit well since he has arrived in Los Angeles. Like with Forsythe and Grandal, maybe he’s on the upswing offensively? Hopefully?

Andre Ethier is back to playing again, sooner than he did last year. Could he be in left and Taylor in center? So many interesting possibilities, and so many veteran, clutch hitters to have on the bench.

As far as pitching goes, there are none more surprising than Alex Wood and Yu Darvish. Wood had an incredible first half, after starting the season in the bullpen, so much so that he made the All-Star team. He has regressed a little in the second half, but has worked on his mechanics and velocity to where he is back to being dominate. There has been chatter about moving him back to the bullpen for the playoffs, but I don’t think you can find a better number four pitcher on another staff.

Darvish was the last minute acquisition at the trade deadline that all the fans were clammering for. The right-hander is a good compliment to the left hands of Clayton Kershaw, Wood and Rich Hill. This addition also makes it possible for Kenta Maeda and/or Hyun-Jin Ryu to be used out of the bullpen in the playoffs. Both could be quite formidable coming in for longer relief if needed.

Speaking of relief pitchers, Waker Buehler, the Dodgers’ number one pitching prospect, made his way from Single-A to consideration of being on the postseason roster in just one calendar year. That in itself is no small feat.

If you had told me at the beginning of the year that there could be a starter in the playoffs at first, left, center and behind the plate other than whom everyone was expecting, I don’t know if I would have believed you. Maybe one or two, possibly. We’re all aware of the injuries that have plagued this team in last years. But here we are. Oh, and still with a record higher than was projected, and the best record in all of the majors. I’d take all that, even if you told me there was a major slide somewhere there in the season. Still better than all the other teams, still a great bench, still winning the division. It doesn’t matter where the season goes, as long as you get to the goal in the end.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)

 

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The Dodgers Won’t Find Their Way Back to Winning by Looking Forward

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Our beloved Dodgers need to look back to July.

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Some of These Starting Lineups Are Downright Ugly

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Being that the San Francisco Giants have resided in the cellar of the National League West for almost the entirety of the season, coupled with the fact that they are only a few games away from the Philadelphia Phillies for having the worst record in all of baseball, one would have presumed that a three-game series at AT&T Park was just what the doctor ordered to ease the Los Angeles Dodgers out of perhaps one of their worst team slumps in decades.

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Dodgers Roster: How Exactly Does Adrián González Fit In?

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A lot has happened since veteran first baseman Adrian Gonzalez played his last big league game for the Dodgers on June 11.

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Dodgers Roster: Applauding Several of the Year’s Most Surprising Contributors

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Well, I suppose it had to happen at some point — the Los Angeles Dodgers actually lost a game. It seems like it has been forever since that has happened. In fact, it had been — 11 games, an All-Star break and one off-day ago. One would believe they’ll start on a new winning streak soon enough.

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The 7 Biggest Differences Between the 2016 and 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers

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While many fans of the Dodgers couldn’t be happier with the remarkable script of the first half of the season, there’s still plenty of baseball to be played in the second half — 72 games, to be exact. And as there are quite a few similarities between last year’s club and the 2017 version, there are indeed a handful of favorable differences which could eventually propel Los Angeles to an even more successful campaign by season’s end.

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Without Bellinger, Where Would Dodgers be in NL West Divisional Race?

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Much has already been written about Cody Bellinger over the past few months, but until we did some of the math for ourselves, it was difficult to perceive where the Dodgers would be in the standings of the National League West without the presence of the 21-year-old slugger.

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Cody Bellinger Quietly Emerging as Dodgers’ Best Bat

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At the trade deadline last year, and then again over the winter, Cody Bellinger was labeled absolutely not available for trade. And now we are seeing why.

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Dodgers Activate Joc Pederson, Place Adrián González on Disabled List

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The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday reinstated outfielder Joc Pederson from the seven-day concussion disabled list and placed first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on the 10-day disabled list with lower back discomfort. González’s stay on the DL may be retroactive to June 12, if needed.

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Fans of Dodgers Going Extra Mile to Support Prospective All-Stars

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All-Stars can be a somewhat divisive subject. Is it truly a showing of the greatest players in MLB, or is it just a popularity contest? There are arguments for either side. It does usually showcase the best of the best, but as last year’s NL All-Star team showed with the number of Cubs, some of whom were definitely not the best of their position, it can just be a popularity contest.

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