With October games just around the corner, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office and coaching staff will have some important decisions to make regarding the playoff roster. This will be the first attempt of predicting the players who make the team.
Alex Verdugo has not played with the Dodgers since August 5 but is rehabbing and should return this week. If Verdugo is not healthy, his spot could go to Kristopher Negron or rookie sensation Gavin Lux. Matt Beaty’s role could also be affected depending on how Lux performs. If Lux can perform in the MLB like he has across the minors this year, he will be the starting second baseman for the Dodgers come October.
This week, Max Muncy was hit by a pitch on the wrist from San Diego Padres’ Matt Strahm. He will be out for two weeks and will return for the October games. The rest of the infield should be no surprise. The only question is: will Gavin Lux be the second baseman?
The versatility of Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor make them guaranteed locks to make the playoff team.
Will Smith is the starting backstop for the Dodgers come playoff time. But will Russell Martin be his counterpart? During the month of August, Martin had a batting average of .167 and an OPS of .546. If Austin Barnes can perform in September like he did in Triple-A, in August, then he should be given the opportunity to back-up Smith. Regardless, Martin and Barnes should be a part of the meetings to develop pitching game plans.
The first three starting pitchers should come as no surprise. Kenta Maeda should start to feel some pressure to lose his playoff roster spot heading into September after he did not perform well in August. He had a 4.26 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. On the contrary, rookie Tony Gonsolin has performed well and wants to continue his development. Gonsolin seems more ready to slide into the fourth spot than Dustin May. In the month of August, Gonsolin had a 1.80 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has had more questions than answers this last week. Jansen, Baez, Kelly, and Kolarek seem like locks to make the playoff roster. If Stripling and Floro are healthy, both will have a playoff spot. Both right-handed pitchers have been good this season, sporting ERAs less than four. Casey Sadler has pitched well this year as well. With lefty-specialist Kolarek being the only lefty reliever on the roster, Julio Urias should be the other lefty to support the bullpen in longer stints.