Los Angeles Dodgers’ Postseason Roster Predictions By Position
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Postseason Roster Predictions By Position
With the 2013 NLDS looming in the near future for the Los Angeles Dodgers, manager Don Mattingly has some tough choices ahead in regards to the team’s 25-man postseason roster.
Dodgers writer, Ken Gurnick, reported that Mattingly is not showing his hand readily but has hinted at a few of his thought processes. Gurnick said that Mattingly plans to utilize a four-man starting pitcher rotation which puts the fifth and sixth starters, Stephen Fife and Edinson Volquez, in jeopardy of not having a roster spot in the postseason.
Gurnick continued to say that Mattingly hinted at a possibility of having seven other pitchers on the roster besides the four starters. With the Dodgers’ bullpen being one of the most hit or miss groups of players in all of MLB, there are few relievers on the current 40-man roster who are guaranteed a postseason spot. Brandon League is probably the most controversial of these pitchers as League started the season with a massive tanking, then began to rebuild during the Dodgers’ fantastic stretch, but dropped off again in recent games.
Two other difficult questions Mattingly will have to answer are how many of his outfielders earned a spot on the playoffs roster and which ones will be joining the team in October. With the return of veteran and former rightful-MVP winner Matt Kemp and the injury worries of Carl Crawford, the Dodgers’ skipper will have a tough time deciding which of these or possibly even minor league reinforcement Scott Van Slyke has earned a slot.
With all of these possibilities and many others floating around, I will start my slideshow of a position-by-position breakdown of the 25 men I believe will be on the Dodgers’ postseason squad. Also, at the very end, I will highlight the top guys who were left off the opening round squad. Enjoy!
Obvious Answers: A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz
Ellis is the everyday catcher for the Dodgers and he will also be joined by regular backup Federowicz. The latter certainly saw some competition at times in the 2013 season, but FedEx, as they call him, certainly earned his spot on the squad by hitting .232 on the season, just a bit worse than Ellis’ .241.
Obvious Answer: Adrian Gonzalez
I mean, come on. There is not a snowball’s chance on a summer day in Death Valley that Gonzalez does not get a roster spot on this team. After Gonzalez, there are not actually any other true first basemen who make this list, so look out for the upcoming utility position slide for anyone else who might play backup to Gonzalez.
Obvious Answer: Mark Ellis
Ellis is an obvious shoo-in for Mattingly as he is the Dodgers’ everyday second baseman and will be the agile half of the right side of the diamond. There is a chance Ellis could take some at bats or games off per Mattingly’s orders. If this is the case, there is a very capable set of hands who will come in for Ellis, but that player will be mentioned in the utility player section.
Obvious Answer: Juan Uribe
Uribe has been one of the biggest surprises for the Dodgers this year. Not only did he renew his bat with his best hitting season in years, Uribe also made himself a contender for the NL 3B Gold Glove Award. Plus, the guy is so loveable. How could he not make the team?
Obvious Answers: Hanley Ramirez and Nick Punto
There was clearly never any question Mattingly would ever think about not having Ramirez on the roster. He is the clear catalyst of the offense and the Dodgers would be in big trouble without him. Also, I know what you may be thinking: Punto could very well be considered a utility man, but I believe that Mattingly will solely use him as a defensive substitute for Ramirez late in games the team is leading in the postseason. With a sure glove, the Dodgers’ Heart and Hustle Award winner locked up his roster spot long before the team even clinched a postseason berth.
Skip Schumaker is one of the better backups on the team. Schumaker has played 41 games in 2013 at second, but has played over 60 games in the outfield. He is one of Mattingly’s favorite pawns in his infamous double switches and simply could not be left off the roster. Similarly, Dee Gordon is my dark horse to get a spot on the team. Gordon struggles defensively, but is easily the fastest guy on the team and can steal bases in clutch situations. As every game counts in the playoffs, Mattingly will want that type of asset in his back pocket.
Finally, one of the newest Dodgers, Michael Young, will make the squad because of his bat. Young has hit an impressive .385 since being traded to the Dodgers at the beginning of September and his offensive contribution has undoubtedly been noticed by the team’s management.
Obvious Answers: Yasiel Puig and Andre Ethier
Puig and Ethier have been absolute fortresses of consistency in 2013 for the Dodgers. With Puig’s nearly indescribable year and Ethier’s not amazing, but still solid season, the two will team up with fellow outfielders Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp.
Although Crawford has been hurt recently, his contribution this season has been immense, especially with Kemp being on and off of the DL frequently. With Crawford looking healthy again, he seems to have a spot secured. As far as Kemp is concerned, you have to remember that when he has played, he has been good and even, at times, brilliant. Flashing glimpses of his former self will make it extremely difficult for Mattingly to leave Kemp off the team, even if just to have his bat as a possible pinch hitter to make opposing pitchers nervous.
Obvious Answers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco
This is one of the easiest choices of roster slots for Mattingly. The real test will be deciding which pitcher gets the third start after Kershaw and Greinke throw, but smart money would bank on Ryu who has been solid all season long.
Obvious Answer: Closer Kenley Jansen
Unfortunately for Mattingly, Jansen, who has been great in 2013, is just about the only no brainer as far as roster spots go. Two other relievers who almost assuredly get a nod from the skipper are J.P. Howell and Chris Withrow. Howell has been solid for the Dodgers all season and Withrow has performed exceptionally well, especially for a rookie.
After these three, things start to get sticky. Of the remaining relievers, I believe that Brian Wilson has pitched himself to a spot in the postseason. Since his signing with the Dodgers and return in 2013, Wilson has a 0.79 ERA in 15 major league appearances. Although his velocity seems to have gone down a bit, Wilson has figured out how to continue to fool batters and Mattingly will not take his playoff experience for granted. Further, although they have been shaky at times, I believe Paco Rodriguez and Ronald Belisario will too make the playoff roster. These two have been with the team almost all season and Mattingly trusts them more than any of the others.
Finally, if Mattingly does indeed take seven relievers, I believe the final spot goes to Carlos Marmol and not Brandon League. Marmol has not wowed anyone since coming to the Dodgers in July, but he has been solid. Aside from his very first appearance with the club in which he gave up three earned runs in 1.2 innings pitched, Marmol has been consistently good. In his time with the Dodgers, Marmol has accumulated an ERA of 2.79 in 19 appearances. League has been hot and cold all season while amassing a 5.43 ERA, but Marmol has been sturdy, allowing no hits and no earned runs in nine of his last 11 games pitched. As such, Marmol gets the nod over League.
Top Players Left Off
Jerry Hairston will just miss being on the roster if Mattingly gets down to the cold hard facts. Hairston has been a poor hitter on the year, hitting only .215 and has been worse in the second half. With only three hits in his last 21 games played, Hairston sadly misses the NLDS roster despite all of the time he has spent with the club in 2013.
Scott Van Slyke is also likely to get snubbed despite his great bat and ability to hit as a pinch hitter. Unfortunately for Van Slyke, Kemp and Crawford came back at just the wrong time and he will not make the squad. Nevertheless, rest assured, if any one of the outfielders goes down, Van Slyke will be the first man called up.
Finally, despite being with the Dodgers most of the season and appearing in 56 games for the Boys in Blue, Brandon League just misses the cut because of his inconsistent play highlighted in the previous slide.
That does it for my slideshow of my predictions of the 25-man Dodgers roster. I would love to read your thoughts on any of these players and whether or not you agree with me, so please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!