Predicting the 2018 Dodgers’ Opening Day roster

The Dodgers have just four more cuts to make to set the 25-man Opening Day roster, so I understand it’s a bit late to be making any bold predictions. I meant to do this post earlier in the month, but hey, life happens.

Before I make my Opening Day roster prediction, let’s take care of a little housekeeping.

The Dodgers have three players still in camp who won’t opening the season with the team because of injury — Tom Koehler, Justin Turner and Julio Urias. Koehler suffered a shoulder injury, while Turner suffered a fractured wrist in Monday night’s game. Both will miss significant time. Urias is recovering from late-June shoulder surgery and won’t be back before the All-Star break (and hopefully not even that soon, as the main goal is to have him 100 percent for 2019).

The Four

There are four more players who need to be cut before the Dodgers set their roster, but the competition is among more than just four players. Here are the players who are on the roster bubble:

Chargois has been awfully impressive since being claimed off waivers from the Twins, but he has options and could use some low-leverage work in the minors. He’s a nice guy to have in your proverbial back pocket for later in the season. Font started off spring well, hasn’t looked good of late, but the Dodgers aren’t likely just to let him go for nothing (he’s out of options), so he’ll get an Opening Day assignment to the 25-man roster. Garcia is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery. His stuff is reportedly good, but like Chargois, some low-leverage work in Triple-A could do him some good. Venditte has been a pleasant surprise and much more than a gimmick/sideshow guy, but his ceiling is limited and probably shouldn’t make the roster over a guy like Font.

Farmer may be the biggest beneficiary — in terms of making the roster — of Turner’s injury. The fact that he has improved behind the plate and can play the corner infield spots makes him much more than a third catcher. Toles also appears to be on the team after hitting incredibly well this spring. Meanwhile, Pederson and Thompson seem to be vying for the last bench spot. Pederson is the superior player, but Thompson has no options remaining while Joc has two. If the Dodgers can’t trade Thompson, they risk losing him on waivers. He looks healthy this spring and is hitting decently, so there’s a chance another team takes a flyer on him. For now, I’ll project Thompson onto the roster because having both Toles and Pederson is redundant.

Roster

Rotation (5)
Clayton Kershaw
Alex Wood
Kenta Maeda
Rich Hill
Hyun-Jin Ryu

Bullpen (7)
Kenley Jansen
Scott Alexander
Pedro Baez
Tony Cingrani
Josh Fields
Wilmer Font
Ross Stripling

Note: Dave Roberts said after the Turner injury that the Dodgers could go with seven relievers instead of eight to start the season, hence this prediction.

Catchers (3)
Austin Barnes
Kyle Farmer
Yasmani Grandal

Infielders (5)
Cody Bellinger
Logan Forsythe
Enrique Hernandez
Corey Seager
Chase Utley

Outfielders (5)
Matt Kemp
Yasiel Puig
Chris Taylor
Trayce Thompson
Andrew Toles

Lineups

Vs. LHP
Taylor CF
Seager SS
Bellinger 1B
Kemp LF
Forsythe 3B
Puig RF
Hernandez 2B
Barnes C

Vs. RHP
Taylor CF
Seager SS
Bellinger 1B
Puig RF
Grandal C
Forsythe 3B
Toles LF
Hernandez/Utley 2B

——

Turner’s injury opened the door for Farmer, and Thompson gets almost a mercy inclusion at the expense of Pederson. Pederson is more than worthy of an MLB roster spot, but he’s a victim of the numbers game. Plus, it doesn’t make much sense to have him on the same roster as Toles because they’d be splitting time between each other, and both need semi-regular reps.

There’s room for differences, but not a whole lot, and it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see these 25 players break camp with the defending National League champions.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.