Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Speculating on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster

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For more images from Tuesday’s clinch and celebration, visit LA Photog Blog.

By Jon Weisman

Now that the Dodgers have won the National League West earned their spot in the National League Division Series, naturally we wonder who those 25 Dodgers in the next round will be. Here’s my look, and I’m speaking for myself here, not the organization.

The following 20 would appear to be locks, barring any late injury news:

Pitchers (8): Luis Avilan, Yimi Garcia, Zack Greinke, Chris Hatcher, J.P. Howell, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Juan Nicasio

Catchers (2): A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal

Infielders (6): Adrian Gonzalez, Howie Kendrick, Jimmy Rollins, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Chase Utley

Outfielders (4): Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson

That leaves five spots to fill. Expect at least three of those to go to pitchers. Here are the possibilities, with asterisks indicating the leading ones:

Starting pitchers Brett Anderson*, Alex Wood*: It’s really both of these guys for sure, except I leave open the chance that the Dodgers would completely commit before the NLDS begins to using Kershaw to start a Game 4, meaning that the Dodgers wouldn’t need a No. 4 starter. Even so, Wood’s splits against left-handed batters (.521 OPS in 2015) would argue for his inclusion.

Right-handed relievers Pedro Baez*, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, Jim Johnson, Joel Peralta: At least three of these names will get left off, if not four. From this group, Baez and Johnson have been used the most out of the bullpen in the past month, with Baez generating the highest strikeout rate. Opponents are 2 for 20 with no walks and seven strikeouts against Peralta in September. After recently coming off the disabled list, Frias should conclude his late audition this week.

Left-handed relievers Adam Liberatore, Ian Thomas: With Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Kelly Johnson and Daniel Murphy of the Mets all batting from the left side, it’s not inconceivable that the Dodgers would want an extra southpaw on the roster, though the infrequent use of Liberatore and Thomas in September would make either’s inclusion a surprise.

Position players Austin Barnes, Alex Guerrero, Chris Heisey, Justin Ruggiano*, Scott Schebler, Scott Van Slyke*: Probably two players at most from this group will reach the NLDS. Ruggiano’s September success makes him an obvious possibility — perhaps the leading one, perhaps even more so than Van Slyke (who can also back up at first base) — if the Dodgers want the opportunity to hammer a left-handed pitcher at a moment’s notice. Schebler intrigues me because the Dodgers will mostly face right-handed pitching in the NLDS, and therefore could use an extra left-handed bat off the bench. Longshots: Guerrero’s ability to sub in at third base is a point in his favor, while Barnes would allow the Dodgers to be more flexible with Ellis and Grandal.

Healing for the National League Championship Series: Jose Peraza, Yasiel Puig.


Dodgers went nearly wire-to-wire on title run


NLDS first look: New York Mets


  1. So Jon, would you start Kershaw in Game 1 even though Greinke is potentially more of a front runner for the Cy Young Award?
    Also, I really like Schebler but since the Dodgers won’t go with 7 outfielders, I don’t see him beating out Ruggs or SVS. If they even take both of those guys and not Barnes or perhaps a pitcher (Frias maybe).

    If I was setting it up, I don’t know if I would have Utley as a lock. I would consider Barnes over him and if Peraza was healthy I wonder if the Dodgers would try that instead of either of them.

    • Jon Weisman

      Yes, I would start Kershaw in Game 1 but not because I don’t think Greinke is worthy.

      Without Utley you become even more right-handed, which is a problem against the Mets — putting aside health concerns about Kendrick.

  2. I would have Wood as the #3 starter,
    (4) RHP; Jansen, Hatcher, Garcia, Nicasio.
    (3) LHP; Howell, Avilan, Liberatore.

    I’m not sure why I’m picking on Rollins & Utley but…
    Rollins (as LAD)
    vs lhp .303
    vs rhp .204
    batting 7th .350/.409/.625

    Utley (as LAD)
    vs lhp .188
    vs rhp .230
    batting 1st .429/.556/1.143
    batting 4th .400/.571/1.200

  3. Kershaw has to go game 1 and 4 (on short rest) IMO, and Greinke in games 2 and 5 (regular rest). Greinke probably can’t go on short rest is the reason. Anderson would be my game 3 starter, but Wood ready to go as soon as Anderson gets into trouble.
    Rest of pen would be Jansen, Hatcher, Availan, Baez, Garcia, Nicasio, Howell
    Position players- Grandel, AJ, AGone, Howie, Utley, Seager, Rollins, Turner, Crawford, Kike, Joc, Ethier, SVS, Schebler.
    Hate leaving of Ruggiano, and maybe you put him over SVS, but SVS to me deserves the spot over Ruggiano as he can play 4 positions (yes he can play CF in a pinch), Schebler I include over Ruggiano because Mets only have 1 left, so having an extra lefty bat would be useful. Plus Schebler can be used as a pinch runner better than Ruggiano.

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