DODGERS ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
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In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Dodgers roster to begin the season:
The Dodgers are expected to be the class of the National League, if not all of baseball, and seem like a lock to reach the postseason for an eighth consecutive season. The club had very little roster turnover and added perennial MVP candidate Mookie Betts to the mix. Last season, the Dodgers ranked fifth in batting average, second in on-base percentage, and first in slugging percentage and OPS. Adding Betts to a cast that includes reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Corey Seager is just ridiculous.
Clayton Kershaw, entering his 13th season, will lead the rotation and get the Opening Day nod against Johnny Cueto and the Giants. Kershaw has been mostly healthy, but hasn’t crossed the 30-start threshold since 2015. He obviously won’t this year, either. When he has been on the mound, he has been effective. In 2019, Kershaw went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks over 178 1/3 innings. Walker Buehler, in the No. 2 spot, has quickly established himself as one of the game’s best starters and has the potential to challenge the likes of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom for the NL Cy Young Award.
The Nos. 3-5 spots in the rotation are a little more iffy for the Dodgers and represents the club’s biggest weakness, which is not to say it’s that much of a weakness. Julio Urías will move to the middle of the rotation. He was quite good last year, finishing with a 2.49 ERA over 79 2/3 innings split across eight starts and 31 relief appearances. Alex Wood, who missed most of 2019 with the Reds due to back problems, returned to the Dodgers. When he’s healthy, he can be great, such as 2017 when he went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA in 152 1/3 innings. The “when he’s healthy” clause is big, though. Ross Stripling will handle the No. 5 spot and could be bandied back and forth between there and the bullpen as needed.
Kenley Jansen will once again handle the ninth inning for the Dodgers. Despite a recent uptick in ERA, no doubt due to his heart ailment, he remains one of the game’s better closers. Last season, Jansen closed out 31 games with a 3.71 ERA and an 80/16 K/BB ratio in 63 innings. He’ll be backed up by Blake Treinen, Pedro Báez, and Joe Kelly. And don’t forget about Brusdar Graterol. In 9 2/3 innings in the majors after debuting with the Twins last season, the right-hander struck out 10 and walked two.
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.
July 23-26: vs. Giants
July 28-29: @ Astros
July 30-August 2: @ Diamondbacks
August 3-5: @ Padres
August 7-9: vs. Giants
August 10-13: vs. Padres
August 14-16: @ Angels
August 17-18: vs. Mariners
August 19-20: @ Mariners
August 21-23: vs. Rockies
August 25-27: @ Giants
August 28-30: @ Rangers
September 1-3: vs. Diamondbacks
September 4-6: vs. Rockies
September 8-10: @ Diamondbacks
September 12-13: vs. Astros
September 14-16: @ Padres
September 17-20: @ Rockies
September 22-24: vs. Athletics
September 25-27: vs. Angels