Dodgers: Projecting What LA’s Opening Day Roster Will Look Like
Soon enough Dodger baseball will be upon us. A lot has happened over the course of the offseason as well as in Spring training. Now, many of the Boys in Blue have gotten off to a hot start while others have been slow to get into season form.
With the hopes of hoisting a second straight
piece of metal Commissioner’s Trophy, Dave Roberts and Co. will certainly put out the best possible roster. Although the Dodgers have a history of constantly shifting what that roster looks like, let’s take a crack at what it could look like for Opening Day on April 1st.
- LHP Clayton Kershaw
- RHP Walker Buehler
- RHP Trevor Bauer
- LHP Julio Urías
- RHP Tony Gonsolin
Dave Roberts has already given the Opening Day nod to Kershaw. Although he isn’t what he once was, he’s earned the respect of starting out the season for Los Angeles. Here’s where it gets complicated. On one hand, you have Walker Buehler who has essentially become the ace of this staff despite Kershaw’s presence. On the other, you have Bauer who is fresh off a Cy Young winning season and the owner of a historic deal.
Both could easily be swapped back and forth between the No. 2 and 3 guy but we’ll give it to Buehler just for the sake of his time on the team.
Urías might still be having first inning troubles but after the pure dominance he showed during last year’s playoff run, he’s earned his spot. As for the last spot, David Price may end up in the bullpen. That just leaves the likes of Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, and Jimmy Nelson to fight for the last spot.
In reality, Gonsolin and Nelson are neck and neck, with both having a great chance, but Gonsolin has shown a little bit more this spring.
- RHP Kenley Jansen
- RHP Blake Treinen
- LHP Victor Gonzalez
- RHP Corey Knebel
- LHP David Price
- RHP Dustin May
- RHP Jimmy Nelson
- RHP Dennis Santana
Despite all the downs of last season, Jansen will likely remain in the bullpen and get another chance to closeout games. Blake Treinen and Corey Knebel will surely join and help bridge the gap. All signs point to Victor Gonzalez being the go-to lefty out of the pen with Price being the other. May and Nelson should shift to the pen but it wouldn’t be out of the picture to see them in the rotation at some point this year. Joe Kelly and Brusdar Graterol have yet to appear in a Cactus League game which leaves their availability in question despite Robert’s refusal to rule them out. That leaves Dennis Santana the chance to crack the roster after a strong showing this Spring.
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- RF Mookie Betts
- SS Corey Seager
- 3B Justin Turner
- CF Cody Bellinger
- C Will Smith
- 1B Max Muncy
- LF A.J. Pollock
- 2B Gavin Lux
The top half of the lineup is unlikely to change from what it was last year. Mookie leading off with Seager and Turner both backing him up is a no-brainer. After rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Cody Bellinger is back playing in games and should be ready for the start of the season. Will Smith is a stud, simple as that. Look out for a big year from him. Muncy and Pollock should get the bulk of appearances at their respective positions, but the true difference this year will be Gavin Lux. He’s had a difficult time adjusting to the Major League level the past couple of years but he seems to have put that all behind him.
- C Austin Barnes
- INF Edwin Ríos
- INF Matt Beaty
- UTL Chris Taylor
- UTL Zach McKinstry
Barnes is an excellent defensive catcher and should see a good amount of starts, yet Smith is the main guy at this point. Taylor will be just about everywhere this year with Kiké Hernández gone so although he’s listed on the bench, he’s more of a ninth starter. Matt Beaty and Edwin Ríos will provide left-handed bats off the bench and could fill in at multiple positions. Beaty could also be one half of a platoon in left field with Pollock. The Dodgers may have Kiké 2.0 on their hands, but possibly even better. McKinstry has been one of the shining stars this spring and his impact this season shouldn’t be overlooked.
Anything can change between now and Opening Day, so this could very well change. No matter what it does end up looking like with the start of the season, you could bet it will look different at the end of the year. We may get more clarification in the coming days, yet the Dodgers have enough talent to be crowned back-to-back champions.
I have a hard time understanding who is enamored with Pollock. Taylor is a much better defensive outfielder and more productive hitter as well as a superior baserunner.
I completely agree with this. Also, I believe the Dodgers have got to make some moves. We have Rios, Neuse, Busch, McKinstry, DJ Peters, Beaty, we need to trade some of these guys and give them an opportunity somewhere in the big leagues. I’d prefer we keep Busch and McKinstry, both of these guys and dudes that can rake.
That’s actually a good point about Taylor vs Pollock.
I think the bench is really up in the air: Rios will make the opening day roster but will have to show more consistent offense to stay there; Beaty may get set aside for Neuse because we need more righties on the bench and Sheldon plays numerous positions; Mckinstry could end up seeing time in left field if Pollock doesn’t maintain his offense against righties but A.J. doesn’t have traditional splits against right and left-handers so any shared time there could look unusual.
It all comes down to balance. Assuming Peters in on the roster, and with Barnes entrenched, they need two lefties off the bench, but have three; Rios, McKinstry, and Beaty. I think Neuse starts at AAA. The “solution” is to keep Rios, McKinstry and Beaty, but they rotate time on the 10-day to keep them all up. JMO