The 2017 version of the LA Dodgers has nearly 40 players who have shown that they deserve to be on the Opening Day Roster, but many won’t. I am not going to include Willie Calhoun, Alex Verdugo or Cody Bellinger because they will be ready soon enough, but I am talking about players who have demonstrated that they belong on the big league roster. I am not even considering Charlie Culberson who is something of a Cult Hero, but has not earned a spot this Spring, and Josh Fields who has had a bad Spring. Brock Stewart did not make the cut either. I am listing the deserving players in alphabetical order with the ones I think will make the team in BOLD:
- Luis Avilan – .159 ERA and 0.71 WHIP – he’s on the squad
- Pedro Baez – If healthy, he’s on the team, but he’s not (although he is set to pitch today), so it’s the DL and AAA Rehab
- Austin Barnes – Despite hitting .194, he will make the team – sorry Bobby Wilson (you are a good dude)
- Grant Dayton – 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP – Another LH
- O’Koyea Dickson – .333 with 2 HR and 4 RBI – he could play for the Padres – maybe he will get a chance with someone -AAA
- Brett Eibner – .306 with 2 HR and 10 RBI and playing great outfield – he is a solid player – AAA
- Andre Ethier – Has not played a lot but is making the best of it. He will platoon in LF with Gutierrez… for now
- Logan Forsythe – .440 BA – 1.000+ OPS – Starting 2B
- Adrian Gonzalez – The highest paid 1B in baseball has to be on the team and start. $43 million is what he is making this year
- Yasmani Grandal – .400 BA with .946 OPS – In the best shape of his life and healthy – Monster year ahead
- Franklin Gutierrez – Slow start but he has the team made out of Spring Training
- Kike Hernandez – The WBC has hurt him, but I think he has a shot
- Rich Hill – He had a bad Spring last year and was unhittable. He’s the #3
- Tyler Holt – .429 and OPS over 1.000 – AAA
- Kenley Jansen – 8.10 ERA and it doesn’t matter… Because he is
- Scott Kazmir – They owe him $34 million so he deserves it but he is injured and can’t play – DL
- Clayton Kershaw – Duuuuuhhhhhh
- Adam Liberatore – Has no ERA – It’s 0.00
- Kenta Maeda – He’s there and ready to go
- Brandon McCarthy – His 1.04 WHIP is better than his 5.14 ERA – He is the #5 unless they can trade him before the end of Spring Training
- Brandon Morrow – 6.00 ERA – so far, I have not seen enough – AAA
- Trevor Oaks – He has been very good, but to make the team he would have to go to the pen, but he still is a starter who pitches deep into games – I don’t think he makes it because I see him as a starter – AAA
- Joc Pederson – Trying to improve over last year – has 4 HR
- Yasiel Puig – Not having a great Spring, but he will start the season in RF for what is Puig’s Last Stand
- Sergio Romo – Only has a couple of innings due to back issue. Possible DL
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – 1.80 ERA and 1.00 WHIP – If he can build more innings, why waste him in AAA? I think he’s ready
- Rob Segedin – .500 with 2 HR and 5 RBI – boy, I would like to find a spot for him – He can platoon at 1B – I like him better than SVS
- Russ Stripling – He’s the long man… or one of them
- Darnell Sweeney – .313 BA but he is using Calhoun’s glove – AAA
- Chris Taylor – .464 BA and 1.202 OPS and he has played a lot. You can’t keep him off the team
- Trayce Thompson – .267 and OPS of .930 – late start but is making a bid – barring injuries or trades he starts at AAA
- Andrew Toles – .281 is not great, but he can play all 3 OF sports and he’s fast – Probably needs a half season at AAA
- Justin Turner – Because he is Red-headed and Superman
- Scott Van Slyke – only hitting .226 and has cooled off. It’s possible he goes to AAA as he has options but the fact that he can play 1B is a plus for him as the Dodgers could use a platoon partner for A-Gon – AAA
- Julio Urias – Yes, he earned a spot, but I am all for keeping him on ice until later – Extended Spring Training
- Chase Utley – .310 BA and .767 OPS. Yes he can still play! But his intangibles are off the charts
- Alex Wood – .318 ERA and has pitched solidly – he’s either in the rotation or the long guy
If I counted correctly, that is 24 players. 12 Pitchers and 12 position players. If Segedin makes the team (he can play 1B, 3B and RF) then Kike gets the call over SVS. If Segedin doesn’t make it, SVS and Kike both make it… or they could send SVS down or trade him and keep Thompson. Are we clear? No, no we are not!
Then, as I have been telling everyone for months: Watch out for Walker Buehler – I think he will pitch for the Dodgers THIS year! Maybe in the pen or maybe as a starter. He will probably only log 110 or so innings.
So, I almost hate to bring this up, but some teams need starting pitchers and Alex Wood has shown he is healthy and wise. He’s also LH and the Dodgers have a plethora. If ryu keeps progressing, I would consider trading Wood and Hatcher to Baltimore for Brad Brach. Would Baltimore do that? They need another starter. Wood might be their #3. I’d throw in another player if I had too. Why would they want Hatcher? Because of his arm – maybe Pittsburgh could fix him. Ray Searage has that effect on pitchers. I really, really want Brad Brach. He would solidify our 8th inning.
When you look at Chris Hatcher’s pitches and the results he gets, the two do not add up. If FAZ were nothing but sabermetrics, then he would have been off the team long ago. But then, you look at his stuff and at times, it is outstanding with a high 90’s fastball that sometimes moves and other times says “hit me!” Yesterday was a typical Hatcher outing: he got the first batter out and then Sweeney made an error at SS when he threw the ball 17 feet over Bellinger’s head and that was the beginning of his 4 runs allowed. Of course, only one was earned, so his ERA actually came down to 10.50. I’m not saying he’s a bad pitcher, but he just has bad luck when he throws a ball. I think his confidence is shot and he needs a new start… maybe as a Pirate.
Darnell Sweeney is a player I really like, warts and all, and his warts are his glove and his arm. He just has bad luck when it comes to defense. I feel bad for him at times because he is such a good guy. I see other blogs bad-mouthing players and I used to to do it (especially on Jon Broxton) but one day when the Dodger’s let Jason Repko go, I applauded the deal and said something derogatory about Jason . It was just talk and I meant no malice, but his dad was a reader of the blog and wrote back that I had no idea how hard it was to make it to the majors and all the injury issues Jason had. I felt really bad, so I try not to do it. Us fans sometimes have no clue!
I took that to heart and try not to bad-mouth these guys because they are so much better than we think and what they do is extremely hard. One thing I will caution you is not to make sweeping determinations during Spring Training because you have no clue (neither do I) what these guys are working on or where there heads are. For instance, if Urias comes into the game in relief and gets lit up, it would be ignorant to think he needs to go back to AAA to learn more. Why? I guarantee he is upset that he is not going to make the team out of the gate. Yes, he says all the right things, but he’s human and his head may not be completely in the game… and that is totally understandable.
Use your eyes, but also use “reasoning.” If Chase Utley were having a bad Spring, people would really be bad-mouthing FAZ for signing him, like they are with Gutierrez. Both are GUARANTEED roster spots, but you saw Chase on display yesterday: he can still play and boy can he run the bases! I’ll be the rest of the team emulates him. What he does is such a motivation factor for the youngsters. Gutierrez has shown flashes, but he is there to kill lefties – time will tell. He probably won’t see an AB against a RHP.
Today, here would be my position players:
- C Grandal
- 1B – Gonzalez/Segedin (Platoon)
- 2B – Forsythe/Utley
- SS – Seager
- 3B – Turner
- LF – Ethier/Gutierrez (Platoon)
- CF – Pederson
- RF – Puig
R.I.P. Chuck Berry.