Perhaps one of the best problems a team can have during Spring Training is a wealth of talent. With some many players competing for a spot on the big league roster, everyone is always looking to put their best foot forward. The Dodgers realistically have two starting positions up for grabs this spring: left field and catcher. Their left field has been a revolving door of journeymen and super utility players for years, and they finally have some stiff competition to fill the spot out. But there is an interesting battle going on behind the plate as well.
We’ve known for a long time that Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal are the top two Dodgers catchers. Barnes broke out late last year proving that he is more than likely the everyday catcher of the foreseeable future. And then Dave Roberts announced there would be a rotation at catcher between the two, making things very interesting this spring. Both Barnes and Grandal haven’t gotten the bulk of the load in spring, and the young guys are battling it out for the possible third catcher spot.
Kyle Farmer, Keibert Ruiz, and Will Smith are they three main young catchers in camp this spring. Smith has not had a terrific spring, so it’s safe to say that he’ll be heading to minor league camp. But Ruiz and Farmer are two of the best hitters on the team thus far. The only defining difference is that Ruiz is not on the 40-man roster yet. Combined, the two backstops are hitting .591 in their combined 12 games. While Ruiz has a few less at bats than Farmer, he still has 6 hits in 9 at bats. All six hits have been singles.
Farmer himself has 7 hits in 13 at bats, and 3 of those have been for extra bases. The interesting part is, both of these guys are drastically outplaying Grandal and Barnes. The two major league catchers are hitting a combined .121 in their shared time. Barnes was set back by the sickness that haunted the clubhouse and his throwing program, so he only has 11 at bats.
With all of this said, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out for the Dodgers. There are several guys on the roster just looking to fill a bench role in the big league club. Yasmani Grandal is in the final year of his contract, and the way these young guys are playing might encourage upper-management to seek out trade partners for him. That would allow Farmer or Ruiz to get to the next level without filling a needed bench spot. The glut of outfielders is sure to factor into this decision, especially since Trayce Thompson is out of minor league options.
Regardless, too much talent is a great problem to have. What a team, and what a season this will be.
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