Opening Day roster prediction for 60-game season

Ross Stripling (Photo: Stacie Wheeler0

If it feels like it’s been four months since we’ve talked about anything pertaining to the roster, and that’s because we live in the worst timeline.

Back in early March, I attempted to figure out what the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster might look like. With the pandemic thriving in this country because it has been politicized, we’ve been without baseball for months. And honestly, we probably shouldn’t have baseball until this thing is truly under control, but I digress.

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With the 60-game season and modified rosters, the Dodgers (and all teams) will begin the season with 30 players for two weeks, all of whom will come from their 60-player pools. After that, the roster will go down to 28 for two weeks, before ultimately settling at 26.

The Dodgers, technically, have 64 players, but some of them are excluded because they’re on the injured list due to COVID-19. A lot of them probably won’t sniff Dodger Stadium, but if the Dodgers are to make trades by the Aug. 31 trade deadline, only players from the 60-player pool are eligible to be dealt.

The only real recent roster move we have seen so far is that Tony Gonsolin has been optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. He isn’t going to OKC, rather he will be with the taxi squad that is set to train at USC. He missed the first five workouts and was behind the 8-ball. However, he’s still viewed as an important piece to the 2020 squad and should make his way to the big club at some point this season. And of course, David Price opted out of the season last month.

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With that said, let’s see how this might shake out.

Opening Day Roster Prediction

Rotation (5)
Clayton Kershaw
Ross Stripling
Julio Urias
Alex Wood
Walker Buehler

Bullpen (11)
Pedro Baez
Brusdar Graterol
Caleb Ferguson
Dylan Floro
Kenley Jansen
Joe Kelly
Adam Kolarek
Dustin May
Jake McGee
AJ Ramos
Blake Treinen

Catchers (2)
Austin Barnes
Will Smith

Infielders (4)
Max Muncy
Corey Seager
Edwin Rios
Justin Turner

Outfielders (3)
Mookie Betts
Joc Pederson
A.J. Pollock

Infielder/Outfielder (4)
Matt Beaty
Cody Bellinger
Enrique Hernandez
Chris Taylor

Pinch Runner (1)
Terrance Gore

Not a lot of real surprises here. The rotation looks a little funky, as that 1-5 is the probable order for the start of the season. Urias and Wood could flip-flop, but Kershaw-Stripling 1-2 is set. That’s because Buehler was a bit behind schedule when he got to Summer Camp, so he’ll be eased in a bit more. There could be a piggyback situation with he and May in Buehler’s first start.

The 11-man bullpen looks silly, mostly because it’s composed of 11 pitchers. But there’s a fairly nice balance in there when it comes to lefties/righties, types of pitchers (strikeout, ground ball, etc.) and short and long relief. Recent signings in Ramos and McGee might get a chance to show what they can do right away. Ramos is particularly interesting. He’s on the way back from a torn labrum two years ago. If his brief appearance in Monday’s exhibition game against the Diamondbacks is any indication of his ability, he could end up being a sleeper for significant innings out of the Dodgers’ bullpen this season. McGee is a guy I’ve liked for a long time, but he has really struggled in Colorado the last four seasons.

Injured List (1)
Jimmy Nelson

Nelson had back surgery last week and is out for the season.

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Normally, I’d attempt to figure out the lineups, but it doesn’t really matter that much. Betts will probably hit leadoff, Turner and Bellinger will be 3-4, Muncy and Seager will play almost every day, Kiké will play against lefties and Joc will play against righties. Those are the basics.

Baseball is almost back, whether it’s smart or not. Here’s hoping all goes well on and off the field.

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.