Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dodgers set 25-man roster to begin 2015

It took until the very last Spring Training game to be played for the Dodgers to officially reveal their 25-man roster to open the new season.  Here's a look:

A.J. Ellis
Yasmani Grandal

Adrian Gonzalez
Howie Kendrick
Jimmy Rollins
Juan Uribe
Justin Turner
Alex Guerrero
Darwin Barney

Yasiel Puig
Joc Pederson
Carl Crawford
Scott Van Slyke
Andre Ethier

Starting Rotation
Clayton Kershaw
Zack Greinke
Brandon McCarthy
Brett Anderson

Joel Peralta
J.P. Howell
Chris Hatcher
Paco Rodriguez
Yimi Garcia
Pedro Baez
Juan Nicasio

Disabled List
Kenley Jansen
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Chris Withrow
Brandon League
Brandon Beachy

One point Don Mattingly and Andrew Friedman have been harping on over and over this spring is how much they like their depth.  And guess what?  It's true.  Just take a look at some of the names sent down after Saturday's game - David Huff, Sergio Santos, David Aardsma, Adam Liberatore, Chris Heisey, and Kiki Hernandez.  Sure, those names won't blow you away, but they are good enough to make many other clubs out of the gate.  This at least gives the team much more depth at the Triple-A level when the inevitable injuries occur.

The infield is especially loaded, one year after Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon have moved on.  All four starters are very good with the gloves, and all can still do damage at the plate.  Turner is coming off of a fantastic year playing the utility role, Guerrero hit .308 with three homers and eight RBIs this spring, and Barney did even better by hitting .354 with six doubles, a triple, a homer, and four RBIs.  With Van Slyke and his great spring numbers (.354, three homers, nine RBIs) able to play some first base as well, Mattingly can easily find time to spot his starters and not miss a beat.

As for the outfield, it's pretty obvious that Pederson will be the starter in center.  He put up big numbers in the spring (.338, six homers, 13 RBIs, three stolen bases), and is clearly the starter for years to come.  This leaves Ethier in a position he won't like, and for that I certainly can't blame him.  His contract is so bloated, I'm not sure if trading him is a realistic possibility, so he might have to just grin and bear it for awhile.

The starting rotation was a mixed bag of results in the spring, but it's not anything I'd be even remotely worried about over the long haul.  You know Kershaw and Greinke will do their thing.  Heck, they can worse numbers than last year and still be the top 1-2 punch in the game.  McCarthy and Anderson both allowed .300+ averages, but again, it's hard to get too worked up over such a small sample size.  The only bummer is Ryu's injury, and the Dodgers really need him.  Hopefully it's nothing major and a little rest to start the season will do him good.

Finally, the bullpen is the biggest question mark, and that was before Jansen hurt his foot.  Now that he's out for a few weeks, there's no clear-cut closer.  My best guess is that Hatcher and Peralta get the first crack, and Howell perhaps if the situation is warranted (lefty on lefty).  Nicasio can play the swing man role, so maybe he gives a spot start if the #5 slot in the rotation is needed.  The best part about the 'pen is that there's a few names ready to be called up if any of the ones who made the big club flop.  It truly is put up or shut up.

With all that said, the Dodgers have to like their ability to make some noise from every spot in the order.  There's no "Stanton or Cabrera" threat to put one out of the park at any point, but there's plenty of guys who will drive in the big runs.  I do think we need to acknowledge Matt Kemp and Ramirez's abilities to drive in big runs during their tenures with the team, so replacing them won't be easy.

As with any club, getting guys healthy again will be huge, because Ryu and Jansen's injuries really cast a dark cloud over the pitching depth.  It's not like they will be lost without them, but their injuries do have a trickle down effect, especially in the bullpen.  Let's see how the month of April goes without them and hope for the best.

No comments: