Predicting the Dodgers Opening Day Roster

In an unforgettably unpredictable year, Opening Day is finally just hours away. This Dodgers roster is about as loaded as it’s ever been, and luckily they’ll have the luxury of starting the year off with a 30-man squad.

The rosters will go down to 28 players on the 15th day of the season, and then down again to the regular 26 on the 29th day of the season.

The two important pieces of news you need to know as we predict the Dodgers Opening Day roster are:

  1. Tony Gonsolin will remain off the roster due to his late arrival to Summer Camp, and will get his work in at the alternative site at USC.
  2. Gavin Lux will also not break camp with the team, as he too was a late arrival to camp, and will get his feet under him at the alternate site as well.

So while both were offseason locks to make the initial team, the Dodgers’ depth has provided them with the opportunity to let both players get in more work at the alternate training site, and bring them up to the club once both are fully back on track.

Additionally, while speaking to reporters on Monday, Dave Roberts said that the team will carry between 15-17 pitchers on the Opening Day roster.

With that, let’s dive into my predictions.

C: Will Smith, Austin Barnes

1B: Max Muncy, Matt Beaty

2B: Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor

SS: Corey Seager, Zach McKinstry*

3B: Justin Turner

OF: Cody Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Joc Pederson, AJ Pollock

DH: Edwin Rios

SP: Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling, Alex Wood, Dustin May

RP: Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez, Joe Kelly, Adam Kolarek, Caleb Ferguson, Brusdar Graterol, Dylan Floro*, AJ Ramos*, Jake McGee*

CL: Kenley Jansen

Most of these guys are locks to make the roster, so it’s only worth discussing the fringe guys.

With Lux starting the year at the alternate training site, the door is open for utility player Zach McKinstry, who not only had a strong Spring Training in March, but also an impressive showing at Summer Camp. If someone made a machine that molded a prototypical Dodgers player, Zach McKinstry would come out of it.

He can play all over the field, get on base, and put the ball in play. Andrew Friedman loves these guys (i.e. Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor) and I think McKinstry is the heir apparent to Hernandez should he leave for free agency after this season. Dave Roberts added on Tuesday evening that McKinstry is “an injury away” from making the roster, so it’s likely they simply carry another pitcher instead of him to start the season.

The Dodgers are going to carry 15-17 pitchers, so predicting the final two or three relievers here is a bit tricky, but I went with Floro, Ramos, and the newly signed Jake McGee. However, I could have easily gone with Victor Gonzalez, Dennis Santana, and Scott Alexander here. 

Floro has been a stalwart with the team for awhile now, so I think he’s going to be given a slight preference here.

As for Ramos and McGee, it will be interesting to see what the team does with them. In Summer Camp, Ramos has shown brief flashes of his 2015 All-Star season, and he seems to be fully healthy, so why not give him a go when rosters are at 30 men to see what he’s got in live game competition? I think it’s probably very likely Ramos makes the initial cut, but it’s possible. The team will probably go with Dennis Santana or Victor Gonzalez here.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Andrew Friedman has brought yet another one of his players from Tampa Bay to the Dodgers. Jake McGee was an All-Star caliber reliever for Tampa Bay during a three-year stretch, but when he joined the Rockies after the 2015 season, the demons of Coors Field prevailed. He struggled mightily over the last couple seasons, specifically at his home stadium.

He has the potential to be that go-to left-handed reliever the Dodgers have so heavily sought for years now, and I believe it’s better to find out if he’s that guy sooner rather than later. He was in camp with the Rockies, so it wouldn’t necessarily surprise me if the Dodgers include him on the Opening Day roster just days after signing him.

If Floro, Ramos, or McGee are left off, look for Dennis Santana/Scott Alexander/Victor Gonzalez to be on.

I also went with 16 pitchers, but as stated earlier, the team could very well carry 17 and leave off Zach McKinstry, so it will be interesting to see how they proceed in the next few days.

David Rosenthal is a writer and contributor for Dodgers LowDown. Follow him on twitter @_TherealDRose

Photo Credit: Keith Birmingham-MediaNews Group