Second 2019 Dodgers postseason roster prediction

The Dodgers’ postseason roster — for the National League Division Series, at least — is beginning to take shape. As long as they don’t collapse, they’ll maintain the best record in the NL and host one of three teams in the NLDS: The Brewers, the Cubs or the Nationals. Two of those three will play in the Wild Card Game, and the Dodgers will host the winner of that 1-game playoff.

Two weeks from now, the Dodgers will be preparing for Game 2 of that series, so let’s have another postseason roster prediction.

Since last time, Alex Verdugo has been ruled out for the NLDS and Rich Hill suffered what was supposed to be a season-ending knee injury, but he’s trying his best to get back. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to exclude them from this prediction because of injury. In a spot of good news, Max Muncy is back, so he’ll be in this version. Let’s get into it.

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Here’s what I’m thinking, keeping in mind the Dodgers used a 13 position player, 12 pitcher split in last year’s NLDS.

Starting Pitchers (3)

Walker Buehler
Clayton Kershaw
Hyun-Jin Ryu

Relief Pitchers (9)

Pedro Baez
Caleb Ferguson
Tony Gonsolin

Kenley Jansen
Joe Kelly
Adam Kolarek
Kenta Maeda
Ross Stripling

Julio Urias

Catchers/Infielders (7)

David Freese
Gavin Lux
Russell Martin
Max Muncy

Corey Seager
Will Smith
Justin Turner

Outfielders (2)

Joc Pederson
A.J. Pollock

Infielder/Outfielder (4)

Matt Beaty
Cody Bellinger

Enrique Hernandez
Chris Taylor

The first-round pitching staff is basically set. Ferguson’s improvements of late land him a spot in the ‘pen. Gonsolin and Stripling — along with every other non-starting pitcher — could be deployed in a potential Game 4 of the NLDS. Lux’s positive impression also gets him a spot — and he might even start a few games in October.

The only other guys on the 40-man roster I could see having a claim to a postseason spot are Yimi Garcia, Dustin May, Edwin Rios and Casey Sadler. Garcia has substantial home run issues, but he’s more adept at pitching in short relief than the vast majority of the bullpen above. Still, that isn’t enough for him to crack the roster. May has a lot of promise, but it’s pretty clear that Gonsolin is the better pitcher right now. Plus, I haven’t really dug what May has done in the non-starting pitcher role over the last few weeks. Rios could slide in there if there’s an injury, but I don’t see him leap frogging over anyone of the bench bats.

And I’m merely including Sadler here because — for some reason — people have a strong affinity for him. He’s a pretty mediocre reliever, yet his shiny ERA has people thinking he’s better than he actually is (4.34 FIP). His control/command numbers are good (6.0 BB%), but he doesn’t get enough ground balls (52.2 GB%, 50.7 with LA) to offset his below-average strikeout rate (16.4 K%, 18.3% with LA).

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It’s hard to see much changing over the next 13 days. If it does, we’ll have you covered. But expect this to be the 25-man roster for the first round of the playoffs.

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.