State Of The Dodgers: Early Prediction Of 25-Man Roster
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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After analyzing the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster from top to bottom, it’s time to shift the attention to predicting their 25-man roster for the 2017 regular season. If you’ve read along in the ‘State of the Dodgers’ series thus far, you know the one word that comes up over and over again in regards to the roster is depth.

On a 40-man roster, depth is critical. But when you take a look at the 25-man roster, depth makes life a little more difficult. In taking a deep dive into the roster, it’s clear that while the Dodgers have some players that are shoe-ins for the 25-man roster, others who fall in the 15-25 range of the roster don’t have a whole lot that separates them from those who will find themselves in the Minors to begin the season.

So here’s how we’ll do this. We’ll start with the obvious selections and move down the list.

Sure-fire 25-man roster players (alphabetical order): Pedro Baez, Austin Barnes, Grant Dayton, Logan Forsythe, Adrian Gonzalez, Yasmani Grandal, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Justin Turner

So there you have it – just over half (13) of the 25-man roster is already complete and we didn’t even have to break a sweat. The group includes some surprises — such as Baez and Dayton — while it’s also noteworthy who isn’t on the list, but we’ll get there.

Baez and Dayton make the roster for different reasons. Baez, because he’s clearly a reliever the Dodgers like (125 appearances over the past two seasons), while Dayton is currently projected to be one of the five best relievers in the National League this season.

My gut? Both are safe bets.

“If I had to guess, I’d say ‘yes’ selections”: Mystery reliever, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Andrew Toles, Scott Van Slyke, Alex Wood

This brings our total up to 20, and while I’m not 100 percent confident in this batch, there’s still a strong feeling with most names here. Obviously, Ethier and Puig not making the roster would require them being cut or traded.

Puig technically can be optioned to the Minors, but it’s difficult to envision the Dodgers making such a decision prior to Opening Day. At this point, they appear to be really safe bets to be included on the roster.

Joining Ethier and Puig in the outfield are Toles and Van Slyke. While both have the ability to be sent down, each provides enough value to justify keeping them around. Van Slyke might be the best option as far as a platoon option who can hit lefties.

Not to mention he’d provide some relief at first base for Gonzalez. Toles, on the other hand, was simply too good last year not to assume he’ll be a major contributor this season.

The most surprising name on the list has to be Taylor, but at the moment, the Dodgers need someone who can play both middle infield spots in a pinch, and Taylor might be the only option who fits the bill.

As far as the pitchers, it’s clear the Dodgers are trying to add one more arm to their bullpen, so that deserves a designated spot. That’s likely to be filled by former San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo, but his reported one-year agreement has not yet been finalized.

Wood is someone most projections are bullish on for this season, and he’s been really good when healthy. While the “when healthy” is a caveat for every Dodgers starter from here on out, Wood has been the most consistently effective and so he gets the nod.

CONTINUE READING: Players on the bubble, near-misses, and more