The Los Angeles Dodgers announced their initial player pool for the 2020 season.
As the Los Angeles Dodgers prepare to report for spring training 2.0, the team announced their initial list of players who will be included on their 60-man player pool to start the season.
Let’s get you caught up on everything you need to know about the player pool.
Who is included on the Dodgers’ initial player pool?
The Dodgers released their initial player pool on Sunday afternoon before the 1:00pm PT deadline set by Major League Baseball. While the player pool consists of 60 players, the Dodgers only included 51 names on their initial public release.
Every player on the 40-man roster is included in the Dodgers’ player pool, as well as eleven additional players. Most notable of the players not on the 40-man roster are pitching prospect Josiah Gray and 18-year-old catching prospect Diego Cartaya. They are both top-10 prospects in the Dodgers’ system.
Rounding out the pool players not on the 40-man roster are catcher Rocky Gale, infielder Omar Estevez, outfielder Zach Reks, and outfielder Cody Thomas. The rest of the players were pitchers: Marshall Kasowski, Edwin Uceta, Gerardo Carrillo, Michael Grove, and Andre Jackson, all right-handers.
What was the Dodgers’ strategy in picking their player pool?
As a team looking to compete for a championship this season, with a few exceptions, the Dodgers clearly prioritized players who are ready to play in the major leagues this season. Of the eleven non-40-man-roster invites, only Diego Cartaya and Omar Estevez haven’t reached at least Triple-A competition yet.
With nine open pool spots, the Dodgers might balance their potential 2020 supplements with prospects who could use reps this season, as explained by Dodgers president Andrew Friedman last week (via the Los Angeles Times):
"“As deep as we are, as excited as we are about our 26 man 40 man, the prospects behind it — we don’t have 60 guys that we feel like could step in and help us win a major league game this year. So we’re going to train and make sure we balance depth and then figuring out which of our prospects either need reps or pitchers who could really use some increase in workload, and just try to balance them sure that we’re protected and covered, where we need to be, but also a really good experience for some of our prospects so we’re still working through that.”"
Why did the Dodgers only list 51 players instead of 60?
It was reported over the weekend that the Dodgers plan on including recent draft picks Bobby Miller (RHP) and Landon Knack (RHP) in their player pool. While Miller is signed, Knack still has not come to an agreement with the team. It’s possible these players will be added after the paperwork and signing of each is complete.
The same could be said of draft picks Clayton Beeter (RHP), Carson Taylor (C), and Gavin Stone (RHP). Taylor and Stone are both already under contract. It’s unclear if the team would want to bring high school prospect Jake Vogel into the player pool. He was drafted in the third round out of Huntington Beach High School.
Friedman spoke last week about the possibility of staggering the timing of filling out the full player pool.
"“We may stagger it a little bit to buy some time, learn more and figure out which way we want to go with different things,” Friedman said (H/T Dodgers Digest). “So we’re going to try to make sure we balance depth and figuring out which of our prospects either need reps or pitchers that could really use some increase in workload, and just try to balance to make sure we’re protected and covered where we need to be but also a really good experience for some of our prospects.”"
Dave Roberts indicated on the Joe and Orel podcast last week that there are up to a handful of players who are out of the country trying to make it back in time for the opening of camp next week. It’s possible some of the additional spots in the player pool could be filled by these players once they are able to return to the country.
And as we will explain in a minute, once a player who is not on the 40-man roster is added to the player pool, they cannot be removed unless they are released (or removed via trade, injury, or suspension). It’s possible the Dodgers want to give themselves some flexibility instead of filling up all of the open spots and needing to worry about losing a player they later wish to replace.
What is the MLB player pool?
Due to the unique circumstances surrounding the 2020 season, each MLB team is allowed to carry 60 players at a time who are eligible to play during the season. That includes the players already listed on the 40-man roster, as well as twenty additional players.
In order to be included on the “active” roster, a player must first be placed on the 40-man roster, as the traditional roster rules dictate.
What is different about this season is the process by which a player who is not on the 40-man roster must follow in order to reach the active roster. A player must first be included in the 60-man player pool in order to subsequently be added to the 40-man roster, and finally, the active roster.
Teams were required to submit their initial list of players by Sunday at 1:00pm PT. The player pool is not set in stone, changes can be made; however, if a player is added to the 60-man pool, a subsequent move must be made to remove an existing player.
A key note: a player who is not on the 40-man roster can only be removed from the player pool if they are released, traded, placed on restricted, disqualified, or ineligible lists, or suspended. Players on the 40-man roster must pass waivers before being removed from the player pool. There are special exceptions for all players who test positive for Covid-19.
What is the taxi squad?
The taxi squad will be in effect during the regular season. Teams will be allowed to bring three players from their player pool with them on road trips to act as a “taxi squad” of replacements in case of a roster emergency. If a team brings three players, one must be a catcher. These players are in addition to the players already traveling with the team on the active roster.
How many players can be on the active roster?
To ease into the season as pitchers slowly stretch out their arms, teams will be allowed to carry 30 players for the first two weeks of the season; rosters will be reduced to 28 players two weeks later, and down to the traditional 26 number by the fourth week of the season.
Players in the player pool who are not on the active roster will workout at an alternative site. The Dodgers will use the USC campus as their alternate site to start the season, but once the school year resumes, they will likely use one of their minor league affiliate locations.
Please check back as more information becomes available about the remaining players to be included on the Dodgers’ player pool.