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.
Although starting pitching isn’t the main part of the problem for the 2018 Dodgers, it is one of those areas which could have a significant impact on the success of the club for the remainder of the season. Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was one of the squad’s strongest starters before his groin problem, is out until at least July. Clayton Kershaw still has no timetable set for a potential return. And when considering the injury history of veteran Rich Hill, many fans have been scanning the box scores of Triple-A Oklahoma City every morning just to see what kind of talent’s available on the farm—just in case.
Considering everything that went down in both legs of Saturday’s doubleheader in San Francisco, there’s bound to be a few roster moves on the horizon, especially in the bullpen. Righty Pedro Baez suffered his biggest pummeling of the season in the first game; however, it was the southpaw Scott Alexander who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for the emergency promotion of outfielder Alex Verdugo. With the move, the Dodgers are back down to eight arms in the big league bullpen, but not many of them are fresh, to say the least.
For as much as the big league club has been struggling with its offense so far this season, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have been making up for it with their own bats. The Triple-A crew is off to fine 5-1 record as a team, as they’re hitting a combined .306/.377/.447 through the first six games of the young campaign. Although the 19-run output against Round Rock earlier this week represents a big chunk of their production, they still have put 40 runs on the board so far, which translates to 6.67 runs scored per game—a very impressive number any way you look at it.
Nothing seems to be coming easy early in the Dodgers‘ 2018 season. It currently feels like the team is stuck in a two steps forward, one step back rut. After a nice little two game winning streak where it felt like maybe things were turning around, the Dodgers got drubbed by the Oakland A’s Wednesday night, 16-6.
If you’ve been a long time reader of this column or a follower of mine on Twitter, you know that I always do my best not to overreact to the ups and downs of a long baseball season. Admittedly, sometimes this is much harder than other times. The beginning of this season has definitely been a challenge. Still, I am not overly worried overall about the state of the Dodgers.
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.
With all the recent emphasis on the prospective Dodgers big league roster, I thought it would be worth investing a few minutes to start laying out some names to get an idea of what the Opening Day Triple-A squad might look like at Oklahoma City.