Projected 2018 Dodgers NLDS Roster

Now that the regular season is through, we can begin to speculate as to what will make up the NLDS roster.  It really shouldn’t be that difficult for 23 of the 25 players, but those last two will surely draw some scrutiny. IMO the givens: Starting Pitching (4):
  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Hyun-jin Ryu
  3. Walker Buehler
  4. Rich Hill
 Bullpen (8):
  1. Kenley Jansen
  2. Kenta Maeda
  3. Alex Wood
  4. Pedro Baez
  5. Scott Alexander
  6. Ross Stripling
  7. Caleb Ferguson
  8. Dylan Floro/Josh Fields/Ryan Madson
 Position Players (8):
  1. Yasmani Grandal – C
  2. Max Muncy – 1B
  3. Kike’ Hernandez – 2B
  4. Justin Turner (3B)
  5. Manny Machado (SS)
  6. Joc Pederson (LF)
  7. Cody Bellinger (CF)
  8. Yasiel Puig (RF)
 Bench (5):
  1. Austin Barnes – C (R)
  2. Matt Kemp – OF (R)
  3. Chris Taylor – INF/OF (R)
  4. David Freese – 3B/1B/PH (R)
  5. Brian Dozier (R)/Chase Utley (L)/Alex Verdugo (L)
 I am going with Dylan Floro as the 8thRP.  As a LAD, Floro pitched 27.2 innings in 29 games.  He compiled a 1.63 ERA and 1.048 WHIP and .182 BAA.  He inherited 12 runners and only 1 scored.  In his 29 games, he was scored on in only 4 games.  He allowed 1 HR in his 27.2 innings.  He has done everything necessary to win the final spot over Josh Fields and Ryan Madson.  And I am a Josh Fields fan. He has been hurt for most of the 2ndhalf, but his last three outings were better than Floro’s.  I would not be surprised to see Fields named.  Even though Madson throws hard and has playoff experience, I would be very surprised to see Madson on the NLDS roster over Floro or Fields.  But then again, I do not see the bullpen the way that FAZ does. While the starting pitching will be RH dominant, the bullpen can trot out multiple LHP.  The first three Braves starting pitchers will be Mike Foltynewicz, Anibal Sanchez, and Kevin Gausman; all three RHP.  The 4thwill either be Julio Teheran (R) or Sean Newcomb (L).  The second choice will end up in the bullpen. Multiple Braves pundits predict that Teheran will get that 4thspot.  In addition to Sean Newcomb, expected relievers may include LHP, Jesse Biddle, A. J. Minter, Sam Freeman, and Jonny Venters.  I would not expect more than 4 LHRP, so either one will not make it, or Newcomb will be the #4 SP.  RHRP figure to be chosen from Arodys Vizcaino, Brad Brach, Dan Winkler, and Shane Carle. With the number of expected LHRP, I am reluctantly going with Brian Dozier as the final bench spot.  He represents a HR threat which we know FAZ and Doc love.  He is a good defensive 2B.  And he is RH to come off the bench to face some of the LH relievers.  Many would go with Chase Utley because…well he is Chase Utley.  He has certainly earned the right to be on the roster, and he will be the sentimental favorite.  Because of the lack of a LH bat on the bench, many would like to see Alex Verdugo on the roster.  Utley, also LH is a more experienced PH, but he has not had a hit in more than a month.  I would personally select Alex Verdugo, because he has best bat to ball skills, and I would not be disappointed if it was Chase Utley.  But because of the power potential, I believe FAZ will go with Brian Dozier. 

This article has 44 Comments

  1. AC–I agree with your picks 100%. The two spots with multiple possibilities I think you nailed perfectly. Floro is the “incumbent” for that last bullpen spot but Fields wouldn’t be a surprise at all, especially if recent performance is prioritized over the entire season. Madson is the “safe” [meaning experienced] pick which would probably anger many around these parts. Smartly, you noticed him warming up in the 9th last night so you have to include him. For the other spot, it’s Dozier’s to lose. Utley is on the way out and Verdugo is just too “outside the box.”

  2. Braves announce Folty will start Game 1, also it’s doubtful Swanson will be available for the NLDS. Based on what was said this afternoon, I’m now thinking they may give Newcomb a start in the NLDS. That’s a little (a lot?) surprising given how much the Dodgers improved vs LHPs after Machado arrived and Turner returned.

  3. So, I decided to compared last year’s postseason roster with our projected current one. No science was involved [just a quick second tab opened and some scribble on a post-it note], so please excuse any errors.
    Starting rotation–This to me is the biggest difference between last year and this year. Ryu just missed the cut last year so basically it’s Darvish and Wood out (even though Wood is still on this year’s roster) and Buehler and Ryu in. Despite the fact I was a big Darvish fan at the time, this change is purely for the better and probably the biggest single reason why I’m feeling optimistic heading into the next round.
    Starting lineup–Let’s be generous and call Seager for Machado a push. Forsythe [along with Utley, who platooned] is out and Keekay [along with Taylor/Dozier] is in. Similarly, Granderson [who platooned with Keekay in LF] is out and Kemp is in. It is very hard to differentiate starters and bench players on this team, but Muncy kinda takes Taylor’s place and Freese is added to the mix as well. This feels like an upgrade to me.
    Bullpen–Lots of changes here but I’m not sure how much the names mean as opposed to the results. Last year’s Morrow, Cingrani, Watson, are out [as well as Avilan, who didn’t make it] and Alexander, Wood, & Floro [or whoever takes that spot] are in. (Note: Fields was on last year’s squand still could make this one–Madson’s new.)
    Hard to tell with the big guy struggling but I’m taking an optimistic view that at least we won’t see Jansen in the 8th this postseason. Anybody want to take that bet?
    Bench–What a difference a year makes. Out are Ethier, Utley/Forsythe, & Farmer [we assume]. In are Freese, Dozier, probably Taylor, and whoever else sits. I had forgotten that Joc Pederson didn’t make the 2017 NLDS roster! I like this bench a lot. Roberts will need to be very smart and not over-manage. He doesn’t have 40 men to fall back on.
    Analysis: I think because of the improved rotation and more dangerous bench, this team is better than last year’s postseason version. Jansen remains the biggest question mark but maybe if used more judiciously he can be more efficient than last year. If the starters do their job and bats come alive, we could be onto something big.

  4. AC: I also agree with your picks. However, I’d love to see Chase Utley there also. Why can’t the Dodgers make him a “dugout coach” for the PS?

  5. Thx AC solid roster and good eye about Madson yesterday. I believe he will be on the roster. If Floro is not hurt I believe he makes it over Fields and Stripling. If not the last two spots go to Madson and Fields. I believe Stripling is out of gas and I believe FAZ puts out what they see as the best 25 for the win and not the most deserving based on contribution. Thx for the early season performance Ross but I don’t see you making it. Urias’s stuff plays but not built up enough and just too much recovery time needed at this point.

    I like Verdugo as well for the last roster spot but I would be shocked if He made it over Dozier. I believe Utley was already told he would not make it barring some unforeseen injury.

    I hope Freese gets more play in the postseason, but I doubt we will see him much in the first series especially with the possibly an all righty starting staff for the Braves. As much as a I hate all the platoons they have worked in September and the players seem bought in, even if they are disgusted inside.

    Go Dodgers let’s go!!

    1. Interesting thought on Stripling and I’ll be sure to credit you if you’re right. To me, Stripling is a Roberts-favorite and unless his velocity is way down and/or he’s hurting, I fully expect him to be on the roster as a Swiss Army Knife/Jack of all Trades.

  6. Roberts managed a very good game yesterday, did not try to over-manage, Taylor in CF and moving Bellinger to 1B for the bottom of the 9th was fine.
    Time for Jansen, and Kershaw, to take this team on their backs, and win every time they pitch, no excuses.
    Love to see Verdugo, and Utley make the roaster, but they won’t.

    1. I think it was easily the best managed game of the year for Roberts. I hope he continues with the less is more approach moving forward… it will help the team out immensely.

    1. Here’s the deal: When you are dealing with many individuals from the Dominican you are dealing with greedy, corrupt people on the take. As you may know, I am on a non-profit called the Gift of Water. We do water treatment in Haiti… and to get our Life-Saving products into the country, we have a slush fund with which we bribe, some board members call it “gift” but I call it what it is. It is a bribe so that we can get the products into the country to save lives. I don’t like it, but what am I going to do? Let people die?

      1. Mark

        How long did it take you to have your hip replacement, after your hip was blown out?

        And were you limping a lot, at that time?

        1. It ran out of cartlidge in February and I had it replaced in July. Yes, I was limping a lot – I went to Physical Therapy trying to stengthen it (not knowing the cartlidge was gone) and after therapy, I couldn;t walk for 3 days. 😉

          1. Mark thanks!

            I went to a orthopedic doctor today, because I thought I tore my gluteus medius, with the way I was limping.

            But this doctor turned out to be an orthopedic surgeon, that does hip replacements.

            He said my hip was blown out, and I needed a hip replacement.

            But Mark, I only had an X-ray that this surgeon looked at, no MRI.

            But with the metal plates and bolts, I have had in my hip, all these years, that isn’t surprising.

            I know you said you wouldn’t do it again, because you just don’t feel right.

            But I am thinking, that since I do have those two metal plates, and eighth bolts, it might turn out better for me.

            But it could also go the other way, too.

            I had an experience like you had, in physical therapy after my accident, because I had nerve damage, and they didn’t know it at the time, either.

            But I am sure, it wasn’t as painful as your PT must have been, at that time.

    2. Red Sox are probably a much better analogue than the Dodgers.
      The Braves’ actions were more egregious than those here.
      The Dodgers already replaces those in charge of International at that time.

        1. From what I’ve read, Ruiz is probably the 3rd catcher in our system behind Smith assuredly and probably behind Cartaya in the long run.
          But how could the Dodgers lose him (or Cartaya/Smith for that matter) they weren’t part of the allegations were they? None were mentioned in that article.

          1. Ruiz was signed out of Venezuela in 2014. From what I hear that’s the time frame under review. I always jump to worst case scenario. Black swan.

    1. unless I missed it, the article didn’t mention the 2 guys who were thrown out at the plate on the same play in 2004 vs the Mets!

      1. AC

        I agree with all your choices, but as you said, we don’t know what they will do.

        Who thought Brandon McCarthy would be on the World Series roster, last year?

        Bobby thank you for the info too!

        1. MJ,

          I would do it again…. I’d have to or not walk. It’s just that they told me I would not know it was thee and I know it every minute because its’s “uncomfortable,” but it’s not painful and I can walk fine. I was on in PT two weeks. I just missed a week of work, so it wasn’t that bad.

          1. Mark

            Thanks again, for your imput!

            That is exactly what I wanted to know!

            I am thinking the same thing, I have no choice, because I like to keep active.

            I have rode an exercise bike, since I was able to, after my surgery, from my accident.

            I am thinking since my hip hasn’t been normal for quite a while, I wouldn’t feel it as much, as you do.

            Thanks again!

  7. For some reason, I have a feeling that Alex Wood could be a pivotal player for us this offseason. He could piggyback a starter [like Houston did], have multi-inning appearances to keep us in games, or come in in key situations and shut down a threat. Every year there are unsung heroes and unexpected producers. Alex Wood receives my vote as a potential difference-maker.

  8. Outside of the Dodgers and Red Sox I am most excited to watch the A’s.
    They do very interesting things with pitching that may be indicative of what we will see over the next few years.
    What teams and tactics are others interested in?

  9. I think AC nailed the nlds roster… I’m guessing the 5th guy on the bench will be Dozier… although I’d personally prefer Verdugo.

    Stripling scares the hell out of me right now. And just based on how he looked in his last few starts… I wouldn’t trust him in any spot with less than a 4 run lead at this point. I don’t trust Alexander either… but it looks like Dave has been mostly bringing him in for certain lefty batters… then pulling him if he doesn’t get the job done… so I’m ok with that.

    Any chance of Urias being chosen for the nlds roster… or has the team decided to shut him down for the year?
    He’s looked really good in his few appearances since he’s been back… I hope he gets some consideration.

  10. the non-usage of Floro is quite confounding, but I don’t think in can be overlooked in predicting the playoff roster.
    The Dodgers have made 16 pitching changes in the four games since Floro’s last appearance. He’s thrown eight pitches in the past 10 days.

  11. #1 – Floro has an injury (what and how severe is the question).
    #2 – The Athletic Staff picks the Dodgers over Cleveland in the World Series.

    1. Only one staff member out of eight actually picked the Dodgers to win the WS although I appreciate your enthusiasm.

    2. On the Dodger radio show today, someone asked about Floro.

      And Steve Sax was on this radio broadcast, and he said he thought Floro would be on the roster, but he might not know the inside stuff, concerning Floro.

      1. I don’t know anything inside, it’s just that someone from an organization Floro was with this year thinks he is hurt. Maybe…. Maybe not….

  12. We all know that Kershaw has not been great in the playoffs. I think part of the reason is the pressure he puts on himself always being the ace – he is expected to win. It almost seems like he is trying too hard. With Beuhler and Ryu both pitching like they are the ace I’m hoping that Kershaw will be able to pitch more relaxed (and better).

    1. Sets Kershaw up for Game 5 on normal rest. Gives Ryu and Kershaw an extra day of rest instead of giving Ryu two days of extra rest.

  13. I really hope they sign Ryu for next year and beyond. He is too important to lose. I really hope Kershaw accepts the last two years of his contract. If he opts out, I am not sure I would go after him. I want Kershaw to be a Dodger for life, but at what cost. We have Urias coming back next year. Just not a need to break the bank to sign Kershaw.

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