2018 Los Angeles Dodgers Depth Chart
When you have the bankroll and booster team that the Dodgers do, you can get a little carried away with your spending. Los Angeles once again becomes a hot destination for big free agents and key signings. This wasn’t the case a decade ago, when the team was throwing all sorts of money down the drain with failed chemistry experiments. The team now plays owner to a mold that is settling and maturing at an impressive clip. Not only do the Dodgers play owner to one of the highest cost rosters in the league, but their team is also one of the youngest in the league. Money also doesn’t buy homegrown talent, a large dent-maker when looking across their starting lineup. They are able to run 3-deep at almost all position points and their depth is stacked with players that could be featured as starters within other organizations.
|Catcher||Yasmani Grandal||Austin Barnes||Kyle Farmer|
|1st Base||Max Muncy|
|2nd Base||Brian Dozier||Chris Taylor||Chase Utley|
|3rd Base||Justin Turner||David Freese|
|Left Field||Matt Kemp||Andrew Toles|
|Center Field||Cody Bellinger||Joc Pederson||Enrique Hernandez|
|Right Field||Yasiel Puig||Alex Verdugo|
The Dodgers fortitude was put to the test this season when Clayton Kershaw went down with injury. This marked the second occasion where he missed more than a month of time due to injury. Therefore, the team was prepared to handle and structure the rehab assignment at the correct speed, pace, and other tangibles. Kershaw has only pitched in 137 innings this season, but that has stopped him from claiming nearly 1 strikeout per inning pitched. Kershaw plays developer for the first time in his career with the team’s brightest call-up being slotted at the middle of the rotation. Buehler’s body of work is trending beyond the success of Kershaw, hosting 110 innings pitched with 122 tallies in the strikeout department. The team was able to slowly bring Buehler along. Kershaw climbed the ranks quickly, but he was a generational talent time. Buehler has mirrored his game to the liking of Kershaw, creating a duo that will foster wins for this organization for years to come. Kenta Maeda has had a slowed roll to 2018. He finally sent his ERA below 4.00, which is something to build upon as he works to keep his role within this rotation.
The infield got a huge boost when the team won the Manny Machado sweepstakes. Having a sound starter at third base in Justin Turner afforded the team to move Machado to a more natural position at short stop. Shortening his throwing motion and decreasing the range he has to cover will take the high usage rate that he became accustomed to. This will also work to keep his stamina high and reduce upon wear and tear a long, grueling season can possess. The team finally found their second baseman in Brian Dozier. Dozier is a second addition to the infield from Minnesota. Dozier was the do-it-all guy for the Twins leading the team in home runs and run creations the past 2 seasons. These additions find Max Muncy in a favorable position at first base. The rookie has had some falloff after starting the season atop the Rookie of the Year discussion. He is quietly climbing his sub .250 average back into a positive light and continues to be an instrumental piece of the infield. The back-up players are also noteworthy in guys like Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor. These players produce far beyond the request of a utility bat, which makes for a strong effort against any opposing pitcher.
The outfield gained a revived Matt Kemp to start the year. He rejoined the organization after a few years of travel to different organizations. Not only is Kemp the lifetime Dodger type, but he also brought his bat with him this season. A .282 batting average is good for second on the team and he plays owner to a team lead in RBIs by nearly double-digits. This revamped production has slotted him at the clean-up position and afforded him opportunities to produce in big spots. Cody Bellinger has had his share of sophomore struggles, which can be expected after being named Rookie of the Year a season ago. Pitchers figure out his mantra and do everything they can to work his weak points. His bat may have cooled, but he will adapt and get back to the production pace he favored last season.
The infield is consistent in terms of pooling their starters. The team likes to shift Machado to third base every now and then, allowing for Taylor and Hernandez to gain spot starts. Most of their talents are flex plays, which allows Bellinger time at first and in the outfield. The same can be said for ranging Muncy from first to third to the outfield. The team loves to play their match-ups, creating some interesting starting lineup combinations. They play owners to the depth, so why not use it to their advantage?