My NLDS Roster Predictions

The NLDS is set to kick off tomorrow. The Dodgers will welcome the San Diego Padres to town, as they’ll meet in the division series for the second time in three years.

Here are my predictions for the 26 players that will make the NLDS roster.

Position players (13)

Austin Barnes

Will Smith

Freddie Freeman

Gavin Lux

Trea Turner

Max Muncy

Justin Turner

Miguel Vargas

Mookie Betts

Cody Bellinger

Joey Gallo

Trayce Thompson

Chris Taylor

Figuring out the position players was actually super easy. 12 of the 13 are locks at this point, with the final spot essentially coming down to two players. My guess is that the final spot is between Hanser Alberto and Miguel Vargas.

Both players had disappointing 2022 campaigns. We’ll start with the veteran Alberto. He finished the season hitting .244 with an OPS of .623 and OPS+ of 70. Both of those numbers are well below league average. Alberto was expected to hit left-handed pitching, which he did, as he slashed .279 against southpaws.

With that being said, Alberto doesn’t offer much more than that. He posted a solid average against LHP, but 70 percent of his hits were singles. For the year, Alberto walked only three times in 159 plate appearances, so he’s not necessarily working counts. He also offers infield versatility, as he played all four infield positions this season.

Meanwhile with Vargas, his numbers were much worse. In a much smaller sample size, Vargas hit .170 with an OPS of .455 and OPS+ of 25 in 18 games. Not great at all. He offers infield versatility as well, along with the ability to play left field.

Although the numbers weren’t there, Vargas offers much more upside with the bat. He was named Baseball America’s Triple-A Player of the Year in 2022. In 113 games with OKC this season, Vargas hit .304 with an OPS of .915. He hit 17 homers, 32 doubles and drove in 82 runs.

With this being the final bench spot, I can’t see either one of these players seeing more than just a few at bats during the series. They won’t be starting a game and there are better bench options available. With that being the case, I went with the player who offers more upside with the bat, which is Vargas. He’s got a great eye at the plate, can draw more walks and offers more power.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Alberto gets the final nod, but my pick would be Vargas.

Pitchers (13)

Julio Urias

Clayton Kershaw

Tyler Anderson

Tony Gonsolin

Andrew Heaney

Dustin May

Evan Phillips

Alex Vesia

Chris Martin

Tommy Kahnle

Yency Almonte

Brusdar Graterol

Blake Treinen

This was when things got extremely difficult. You can make the case there are 16-17 pitchers who are worthy of one of the 13 spots. Ultimately, these were the 13 names I chose. The biggest name missing is Craig Kimbrel. If I were to guess, I think he’ll be on the roster. I just don’t think the Dodgers have it in them to actually leave him off the roster. He easily should be left off, as he’s been arguably the worst pitcher in LA’s bullpen all season, but it’s tough to see them actually doing it.

Two wildcard names on my list are Dustin May and Blake Treinen, as both are returning from injuries. As of right now, we don’t know if either pitcher is going to be on the roster or if they’re healthy yet. Guessing now, I think both pitchers crack the roster, but that’s obviously depending on health.

If one of those pitchers isn’t ready to go and is left off, Kimbrel takes their spot. If both pitchers aren’t healthy and are left off, my guess is that Caleb Ferguson takes the other spot.

Now the real question is if Kimbrel makes the roster, along with Treinen and May. Then who gets left off? This is the difficult question, as I honestly have no idea. If I had to pick a pitcher to leave off in this scenario, it would probably be Yency Almonte. Even though he posted a 1.02 ERA (!!!) in 33 games, I just think he’d get the shaft in this situation.

But then again, maybe it’s someone else.

This is the deepest the Dodgers’ bullpen has been in recent memory. There are deserving pitchers who will get left off, which sucks. It all comes down to the health of May and Treinen. If one or both guys aren’t able to go, the decisions are pretty easy. But if both are healthy and on the roster, the Dodgers will have some difficult decisions ahead of them.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x