The Dodgers enter the 2018 season as deep as any organization in baseball at catcher. Despite having two legit starting catchers, they also have two legit prospects at catcher.
The Dodgers also have another intriguing catcher in Kyle Farmer. Farmer made his first major league hit count as he had a pinch-hit walk-off double against the rival San Francisco Giants. Just as Dodgers Way touched on Austin Barnes versatility yesterday, Farmer is another catcher who is capable of playing even more positions than Austin Barnes.
Kyle Farmer played all around the diamond last season for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. Farmer appeared in games at catcher, first base, second base, third base, and shortstop. That completes the infield cycle as Farmer literally appeared at every spot in the infield. That is quite an impressive feat, especially for a catcher which is usually stereotyped as a non-athletic position.
Ordinarily, there would probably be no chance the Dodgers would carry three catchers on their roster for a prolonged period of time, but that may happen this season. Grandal is capable of playing first base, Austin Barnes can play second and third base, and Farmer can play all over the infield. The Dodgers could keep Farmer on their active roster in order to use Grandal or Barnes as a pinch hitter during a key moment of the game. They would still have one more catcher left on the bench and if they wanted to pinch-hit, Farmer, they could do so, and leave him in the game at another position.
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The competition for the Dodgers bench will be very stiff. The Dodgers usually carry seven or eight relievers on the team which means the bench will have four players, five at the most. Chase Utley, Austin Barnes, and Kike Hernandez are seemingly the only locks to make the opening day bench. Outside of those three, the other bench spot or two will come down to Joc Pederson, Kyle Farmer, and likely other outfielders like Trayce Thompson and Andrew Toles. This is assuming that Matt Kemp starts in left field.
The versatility of Farmer could allow the Dodgers to carry only four players on their bench and keep more relievers in the bullpen. As we all saw last season, the Dodgers front office loves to limit their starting pitchers not named Clayton Kershaw, to five or six innings at the most. Carrying a smaller but versatile bench could allow the Dodgers to max out with eight relievers.
Kyle Famer has done nothing but tear the cover off the ball early this spring. On Monday, Farmer went 3-3 with three RBI’s and is now hitting a ridiculous .625 with a .700 OPS. While those numbers will likely cool off a bit, it’s clear that Kyle Farmer is going to make the Dodgers front office have to make some very tough decisions with who they choose for their opening day bench.
Outside of the Dodgers trading Grandal, Farmer will probably start the season in Triple-A just because he has options left. If he can keep hitting as well as he has so far, then he just might have a shot at making the opening day roster. Regardless of whether Farmer is on the opening day roster or not, it’s safe to assume that he will be back in Los Angeles delivering more clutch hits at some point this season.