On Thursday the Dodgers wrapped up their first week of spring training with a loss that dropped them to 2-5 through the first seven games.
The Dodgers are obviously not concerned about their spring training record because they are starting a majority of their players slow like Kenley Jansen, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger. This spring is mainly a time for the Dodgers to sort out their left field, bench, and bullpen battles. The rest of the squad is pretty much set.
Although the Dodgers had planned to start most of their starting players off slow, due to the deep post-season run of last year, the team has been hit by a flu epidemic. This has caused various players to miss games they were scheduled to play in such as Ross Stripling and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers did find enough bodies to throw out on the field, which is also a factor in their slow spring start.
Kyle Farmer – The Dodgers entered spring training with arguably the best catching depth of any organization in baseball. Kyle Farmer is currently third on the depth chart but has prospects like Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz on his tail. The one thing working for Farmer is that he can play all over the infield in addition to playing catcher.
Through the first week of games, Farmer has a .625 average to go along with a ridiculous .700 on-base percentage. Farmer also has 3 RBI’s and has been hitting the ball hard. Although he is likely going to start the year in Triple-A, he is making a strong push to make the opening day roster.
Jake Peter – Peter is a new addition to the Dodgers as he came over in the blockbuster trade that brought Matt Kemp back to the Dodgers. Peter is in the original Chris Taylor mold in that he can play all over the infield and also some outfield. Through the first week of games, Peter has a decent average at .273 but he is making his hits count as he totaled five RBI’s in the first week of games.
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Like Farmer, Peter is likely destined for Triple-A to begin the season. While he can get himself on the radar for a call-up later this season, his chances of making the everyday roster are slim to none.
Cody Bellinger – This third and final spot could have gone to Logan Forsythe or Matt Kemp, but I gave it to Bellinger because he is showing no signs of last October when he slumped and swung at terrible pitches in the World Series. Through the first week every time Cody has connected with the ball, he has hit rockets all over the diamond. He has three RBI’s and collected two doubles in the first week of spring. His lone single was a rocket line drive to right field off of a left-handed pitcher which is also a good sign.
Yasmani Grandal – Grandal is not the only Dodger catcher slumping as Austin Barnes is also hitless, but at least Barnes is putting the ball in play. Grandal, on the other hand, has struck out in seven of his eleven at-bats and is supporting the case for starting Austin Barnes. This is a contract year for Grandal so he figures to have a big season but for the first week of spring, he has been as cold as the weather.
Joc Pederson – Joc came into the spring on the heels of a resurgent World Series where he had a couple of clutch home runs. His spring start has been slow through the first week. Joc has a .154 average to go with five strikeouts in his thirteen at-bats. While Matt Kemp has gotten off to a fast start, Joc and Toles have not but at least Toles has a home run. Joc needs to heat up quick or he could be headed for Triple-A to begin the season.
Chase Utley – I think we all know why the Dodgers brought Chase Utley back. Outside of torturing the Mets, Utley is essentially a player-coach who many of the young players look up to and he helps install a workmanlike attitude in the Dodger clubhouse. Through his first eight at-bats, Utley might as well have been coaching as he struck out looking four times and most of them were looking. Utley is in virtually no danger of losing his bench spot on the Dodger roster but it would be nice to see him start contributing on the diamond.