Dodgers: Predicting the Bench For Opening Day
We’re officially just two weeks away from the Dodgers Opening Day. They will kick off their 2022 campaign in Colorado against the Rockies with Walker Buehler taking the ball for them. But with such little time left, the roster crunch is just on the horizon for Dave Roberts.
With the latest MLB rule changes, the Dodgers will be able to carry 28 players through May 1st. There also will not be a limit on the number of pitchers they can have on the roster. This rule was put in place to protect player health with the short Spring Training that came as a result of the lockout.
The Dodgers will go into Opening Day with some combination of 5 starting pitchers, that much we know. They’ll likely carry 1-2 extra pitchers for the bullpen and could end up with 13-14 position players. That leaves roughly 4 bench spots if you account for the designated hitter role.
So who cracks the Opening Day bench? Well, it all begins with who you consider a starter at this point. The lineup will almost certainly feature Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Trea Turner, Will Smith, Justin Turner, Max Muncy, AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger, and Chris Taylor. We’ll let you decide the order there.
An easy choice because there really is no other backup-catching option right now. Barnes will probably be in the lineup as early as game 2 when Clayton Kershaw is lined up to start. With the DH now in place, there is a chance that lineup could also feature Will Smith still.
A free agent pickup, Alberto should shine off of the bench for the Dodgers. He mashes left-handed pitching and can play all of the infield spots they need some help at. Alberto is almost a certain lock for the Opening Day roster.
Lux has yet to find his spot on the team, but the Dodgers really need him to force the conversation. Once a top prospect, he’s been relegated to a bench role that he will have to play his way out of. If there’s anyone that can do it though, it’s him.
Dodgers Related: Miguel Vargas Blasts a Monster Homerun
A slugging left-handed hitter, Rios brings some much-needed pop off of the bench. The Dodgers’ recent DFA of Matt Beaty almost certainly means they’re buying stock in an Edwin Rios comeback season. The fact that he ‘can’ play third base and cover for JT is just an added benefit.
Unfortuantely, that leaves someone like Zach Mckinstry as the odd man out. He’ll get some more work in at the minor league level and hopefully regain some of his early 2021 form. An oblique strain completely derailed his season, and he never found that stroke that got him to the big leagues.
Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin Looks Rotation Ready in His First Spring Start
I don’t think they will DFA
newly signed KEVIN PILLAR so
it’s an even split (14) ‘tween pitchers
& position players! They could even add
Lamb for the bench at the very start of the season!
Is it true that if you are on the MLB roster on opening day you are paid MLB minimum even if you are sent to the minors? Would be a nice perk for the two extra roster spots for April!
Btw, it appears to be, “opening night” @ Dodger Stadium, for their for first home game of the season. Does anybody out there know if this is true? If so, when was the last time, they actually started “Opening day” @ night?