We’re finally into September and it’s about time to start figuring out just what the Dodgers’ postseason roster could look like. This will be a deeper dive than my far too early bullpen prediction from just about a month ago. We’ll limit this to just the National League Division Series. They carried 12 pitchers and 13 position players, and I’ll replicate that here.
Before the official prediction, there are a couple injured players who could make this prediction look different. Rich Hill is still recovering from a strained forearm. However, it looks like he could be activated next week. If that’s the case, the Dodgers will have about three weeks to figure out how best to use him.
Note: If you haven’t read Andy McCullough’s profile on The Rake Man at The Athletic today, do so. It’s worth the subscription by itself.
Max Muncy‘s status is still unclear. He’s been out with a fractured wrist, which has cleared the way for Gavin Lux to potentially make the postseason roster. Muncy doesn’t have the brace on his wrist anymore and was taking grounders at first base yesterday, so we’ll see if he’s healthy in a month.
The final main injury concern is Alex Verdugo. He had a setback on Monday in his rehab with Ogden.
It ended up being his back. He was attempting to come back from an oblique injury, so it isn’t a reaggravation. In fact, Dave Roberts said it’s something Verdugo has been dealing with since the middle of May. Since that time (May 17), Verdugo has a .277/.325/.446 batting line. His postseason availability is up in the air at this point. For shiggles, I’m going to leave him out of this prediction.
Here are the locks, as I see them.
Starting Pitchers (3)
Relief Pitchers (6)
Don’t think I’ll get much debate on these 19 players.
Before we get to the candidates for the roster, here are the 40-man roster guys who have no chance.
Chargois, Garlick, Rios, Santana and Schultz weren’t given September call-ups, so it’d be the upset of all upsets if they made the postseason roster. Ruiz is out with a broken finger, and everyone else was beaten out by better players.
Also, Scott Alexander and Tyler White are on the 60-day injured list and won’t be back this season. Andrew Toles is still on the restricted list, and he’s joined by Yadier Alvarez (sigh) for different reasons.
Here are the remaining candidates.
On the pitching side, Hill will be in if he’s healthy, so let’s count him. That leaves three more pitchers. Ferguson is making a late push for the pen and his left-handedness gives him an advantage. Floro is back and could also be making a late push. Gonsolin has shown well in his short time, while May has struggled after a strong start (liner off the head notwithstanding). Stripling has the postseason experience and multi-inning capability that could come in handy.
As for position players, Barnes is a mercy inclusion. It’s crazy how he has gone from key cog and catcher-of-the-future in 2017 to legitimate third-string catcher. Gyorko hasn’t done much in limited time, while Negron had a quick start before cooling off. But if the Dodgers go with 13 position players and Barnes isn’t one of them, then one of these guys should get the nod. Plus, the Dodgers have a couple other Swiss Army knives in Hernandez and Taylor. Beaty has been impressive — much more than expected — so he might get a long look (especially if Muncy and/or Verdugo are out). Lux is here because of Muncy’s injury and since Muncy isn’t on this prediction, well, you can figure out the rest.
Final six spots: Gonsolin, Hill, Stripling, Beaty, Lux, Negron
I opted for Gonsolin over May, while Hill’s inclusion is health-based and Stripling would be a lock on most clubs. Beaty is a nice bat to have off the bench. Lux has the best chance to replace Muncy’s production on both sides of the ball. Negron gets the nod over Gyorko because he can play multiple positions and is a better runner. He benefits from injuries ahead of him.
We’ll do one more prediction closer to the end of the month. Until then, tell my why I’m wrong.