It can be assumed two months ago 95 percent of Los Angeles Dodgers fans had never heard of Justin Ruggiano (and that might be generous), but today, Ruggiano is the face of what is quickly becoming a compelling competition for the 25 spots on the team’s playoff roster.
While many sports experience the competition for roster spots at the beginning of the season, the sport of baseball provides teams with the unique opportunity to audition youngsters and waiver-wire newcomers over the final few weeks of the season.
For most teams, the competition is fairly uneventful — there may be some drama surrounding the decision between a 13th pitcher and a 13th hitter on the roster, but with the Dodgers (and their renewed emphasis on depth across the 40-man roster), things are getting pretty interesting.
When you look at the roster, there are (of course) some who are obvious selections — but by my estimation, those only account for at most 22 of the 25 available spots. For accounting purposes, I’m including (alphabetically by position) Brett Anderson, Luis Avilan, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia, Zack Greinke, Chris Hatcher, JP Howell, Kenley Jansen, Jim Johnson, Clayton Kershaw, Juan Nicasio and Alex Wood for pitchers.
AJ Ellis, Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Justin Turner, Chase Utley, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Joc Pederson for positional players.
Now, in 2014, the Dodgers opted for 13 pitchers and 12 hitters on their postseason roster, but given the lack of bullpen depth (unless they decide to go with Mike Bolsinger or Mat Latos as a relief pitcher experiment) and the abundance of bats, my guess is they will go with the 12 pitchers listed above and add three more hitters. So which three bats would they add?
CONTINUE READING: Projecting Which Additional Position Players Dodgers Will Carry