The Dodgers went 4-2 last week and, despite Monday’s loss, that allowed folks to relax and get back to thinking about the postseason. So this is as good a time as any to get discussion started on the roster for the NLDS.
This isn’t necessarily what I’d do, but what I think the Dodgers will do. The Dodgers are, more than likely, going to face the Diamondbacks. If not, it’ll probably be the Rockies.
Those are the 17 absolute, stone-cold locks for the NLDS roster. Hopefully, the Dodgers won’t need a fourth starter for the NLDS, but if they do, Wood is a pretty awesome luxury as a No. 4. Of course, if they’re down 2-1, just know Kershaw will be getting the ball whether we like it or not. The bullpen is where things get a little tricky, and there are a couple holes to fill with position players as well.
For reference, the Dodgers took 11 pitchers and 14 position players for the 2016 NLDS, and it’ll be that split again. In that case, we need three more pitchers and five more position players.
That’s a lot of pitchers. Even if Wood’s in the bullpen, I think the Dodgers will take one more long-reliever type. That guy would be Maeda due to his ability to get loose normally, which eliminates Ryu from the NLDS roster because the Dodgers won’t need three multi-inning relievers. Ryu could be in play for the NLCS should the Dodgers make it, though. Dave Roberts loves him some Baez, so he’s a strong candidate for the roster, while Fields and Stripling also appear to have an inside track to NLDS bullpen spots.
Buehler is tempting, but his situation isn’t like Julio Urias‘ last year. I don’t think he makes the cut. Cingrani has been great with the Dodgers, but he has a track record of not being great and I’m not sure the Dodgers want to chance it. Stewart has delivered mixed results, which is enough to keep him off the roster. McCarthy is coming back this week, but I’m not sure there’s enough time for him to earn a spot.
The Baez-Fields-Stripling conundrum comes down to dingers. All three of them are home-run prone out of the bullpen:
Baez: 12.2%, 1.37
Fields: 14.7%, 1.70
Stripling: 15.1%, 1.07
Gross. Stripling has the best overall numbers of this trio and despite his home-run struggles, I think he gets a spot. Baez vs. Fields is such a tough one to call. Baez has been bad of late and not great on the season. Fields has better strikeout numbers and his June (14.63 FIP, 5 HR, 5 2/3 IP) has inflated his numbers in some regards. As much as Roberts likes Baez (publicly), his poor performance keeps him off the roster in favor of Fields.
Final Three In: Fields, Maeda, Stripling
Position Player Candidates
Oof. Roberts is on record saying Hernandez will be the Dodgers’ primary left fielder against left-handed pitching, so he’ll get in. Last year, the Dodgers carried three catchers in the NLDS, so let’s assume Farmer gets in as well. We still need a starting left fielder against right-handers, and there are really only three candidates: Ethier, Granderson or Pederson. I don’t see Segedin or Verdugo making it, and I also don’t see Gonzalez making it because he hasn’t looked good since his first week or so back (and even then, he wasn’t great).
So, let’s look at this left field situation for a moment. Granderson was brought in because Pederson had been struggling. The front office knew Granderson wasn’t the player he was 5-6 years ago, but it also didn’t see Granderson posting a 52 wRC+ in 97 plate appearances. Ethier has a 120 wRC+, but in just 21 plate appearances. Pederson has just a 10 (!) wRC+ since coming back from Triple-A (16 PA), so he hasn’t exactly separated himself either. Man, if only Trayce Thompson were healthy and effective.
Honestly, this has been a little for naught because I think all three of them make the initial postseason roster. I’m guessing the starter against right-handers comes down to Ethier or Granderson.
Final Five In: Ethier, Farmer, Granderson, Hernandez, Pederson
Lineup Vs. RHP
Lineup Vs. LHP
Not bad, all things considered.
Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about the lineups is Barnes being the primary catcher, making Grandal a bench piece for the postseason. Andy McCullough believes this to be the case, and it wouldn’t be surprising.
2017 NLDS Postseason Roster prediction, Version 1.0
|Clayton Kershaw||SP 1|
|Yu Darvish||SP 2|
|Rich Hill||SP 3|
|Alex Wood||SP 4|
Naturally, this is all subject to change as the rest of the season unfolds (and it probably will at least one more time). We’re now 17 days away from Game 1 of the NLDS, and it can’t get here soon enough.