One Week To Go, Who Makes It To Opening Day?

I think I meant to do a roster prediction contest a few weeks ago. I think I meant to do a lot of things, if only I had the time. We’re now just a week away (!) from the Dodgers kicking off the 2015 season against San Diego, and that means it’s time to update the 25-man roster projection based on what we’ve learned. I did this nearly three weeks ago, and things have changed a little since then. At the time, we knew Kenley Jansen would start the year on the disabled list (along with Chris Withrow and Brandon Beachy.) We didn’t know that Brandon League and Hyun-jin Ryu would be joining him. (And also Chad Gaudin and Erik Bedard got hurt, but again, meh.)

So now what’s our latest best guess? Things are getting complicated.

 

Hitters (13)

C: A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal
IF: Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Juan Uribe, Justin Turner, Alex Guerrero
OF: Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Scott Van Slyke

There’s just not a lot of drama here. Angst over Guerrero’s contract situation and defense disappeared when he started crushing the ball. Chris Heisey only had a chance if Pederson flopped, which of course he didn’t, and Heisey has looked awful anyway. Enrique Hernandez has shown surprising power to go with his versatility, but the presence of both Guerrero and Ethier always meant he was doomed to return to Oklahoma City for the second year in a row. No matter, though — we’ll see plenty of him in Los Angeles this season, and he might even be more valuable than Dee Gordon right now.

Pitchers (12)

SP: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Joe Wieland
RP: J.P. Howell, Chris Hatcher, Joel Peralta, Sergio Santos, Paco Rodriguez, Dustin McGowan, Juan Nicasio

This part’s a little iffier. Dustin thinks that David Huff gets that fifth starter spot to sub for Ryu, and maybe he’s right. After all, Wieland was sent to minor league camp a while ago. Huff could be used as a reliever around that spot start on April 14. Maybe Wieland needs to be on a regular schedule in Triple-A more than Huff does. For now, though, I say Wieland, if only because it’s hard to see the team opening up three 40-man spots, for Huff, Santos, and Hector Olivera. League’s likely departure to the 60-day DL is one. I’ve guessed that Darwin Barney is another, and that we don’t know the timing of Olivera’s paperwork adds another wrinkle.

But this is all such a house of cards that one move affects so many others. If McGowan doesn’t make the team, as has been floated, that opens up another spot, and maybe adding Huff isn’t so hard. If Rodriguez doesn’t make the team, perhaps in favor of Yimi Garcia or Pedro Baez, then having that second lefty around in Huff makes more sense. It’s possible, I suppose, that Nicasio is in danger too — which would clear up another 40-man spot — but though he’s been hit hard, I can’t pretend I’m not enjoying that 11/2 K/BB.

Also throwing a wrench into things is that when Ryu went down, Mattingly said the team was “leaning towards carrying an extra position player rather than an extra pitcher,” which would mean that Hernandez (or less likely, Barney) would make the team, but to be honest, I have a hard time seeing that. This could be anything. This could be everything. This isn’t getting simpler.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.