We’re 17 days (hopefully) from Opening Day. 11 players have already been optioned or reassigned to minor-league camp, so I figure it’s time for an Opening Day roster prediction.
There has been more uncertainty around this time in years past, but there are quite a few 100 percent locks (barring injury) to break camp with the team.
There are 51 players remaining in Major League camp (23 pitchers, 28 position players). Here are the players who have been optioned or reassigned.
- Stevie Berman
- Tyler Gilbert
- Josiah Gray
- Marshall Kasowski
- Kyle Lobstein
- Cristian Santana
- Jordan Sheffield
- Edwin Uceta
No big surprises here. The optioned players should probably get to Los Angeles at some point this season, especially Gonzalez because of his left-handedness. Sborz has never gotten a real shot, but with as much depth as the Dodgers have in front of him, it’s hard to see him getting much of a shot.
As for the reassigned, Gray impressed in his lone start with his stuff and should get some good experience in Triple-A. Kasowski showed a little something in his 5 1/3 scoreless innings. He’s a sleeper for bullpen work this season. Uceta was also impressive in his outings and could be a viable bullpen option sooner rather than later.
And here are the remaining non-roster invitees in camp:
- Jacob Amaya
- Omar Estevez
- Rocky Gale
- Anthony Garcia
- Terrance Gore
- Connor Joe (Not With Team)
- Jeren Kendall
- Jose Lobaton
- Zach Reks
- Cody Thomas
Without further delay, here’s my prediction.
Opening Day Roster Prediction
Injured List (1)
Nelson has been dealing with lower back and groin issues this spring and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him start the season on the IL. Pederson is also a candidate, seeing as he has yet to appear in a game this month. He’s slated to play on the back fields this week and should be ready in three weeks, but there’s a non-zero chance he starts the season on the IL as well.
The only contention appears to be in the bullpen. I went with Kolarek over someone like Scott Alexander, despite the new 3-batter rule. Kolarek has gotten knocked around a bit, but he is so good against left-handed hitters that I think the Dodgers figure out a way to make it work — at least early on.
The lineups may not be 100 percent ironclad, but there might be a little less platooning early on, as long as guys like Muncy, Seager and Lux produce against southpaws.
There are some 40-man (Gonsolin, McKinstry) and non-roster (Santana, Thomas) players having impressive Springs, but it’s hard to see any of them cracking the Opening Day roster if there are no injuries. But that just goes to show how deep the Dodgers are and how well prepared they should be if/when injuries strike.