The Los Angeles Dodgers will most likely have a variation of five bench bats for the entire season that rotate in and out of the lineup. The team announced it will be starting the season with 16 pitchers, which means there will only be room for three hitters off the bench, but that’s expected to change as the season continues.
At the conclusion of spring training, the bench picture is seemingly becoming clear as to who will fill these roles throughout the season. These players include Austin Barnes, Edwin Rios, Gavin Lux, Hanser Alberto, and Zach McKinstry. All of these guys have shown flashes of improvement this spring.
Austin Barnes has had some good moments throughout his career with the Dodgers, but he’s only a lock to be a bench bat due to his experience and the fact that he’s a backup catcher, which every team needs. He’s likely only on the team until Diego Cartaya is MLB-ready.
Edwin Rios had an extremely productive 2020 season, but then had his 2021 derailed due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. But now, expect Rios to be a big contributor and even get some starts to give Justin Turner some rest days.
Analyzing the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bench for the 2022 season
The Dodgers farm system has been loaded for years now, and Gavin Lux is a prime example of that. He has been flirting with being an everyday player for about two years, and with Corey Seager and AJ Pollock gone, Lux will certainly get his opportunity. Lux had quite the streaky 2021 season, but showed promising flashes. While he’s had a disappointing spring, it’s not anything to panic about.
Hanser Alberto is an interesting name for the Dodgers this season, as he’s pretty much Matt Beaty’s replacement. He hasn’t had the most productive spring, as he’s posting below-average numbers at the plate, but this is common for many players during spring training as they use it as a testing ground to try out new mechanics or techniques. Alberto was productive for the Kansas City Royals last season, so there’s no reason to think he can’t replicate that production on an even better roster.
Zach McKinstry is the last wild card that could make a big contribution to the Dodgers’ bench in 2022 (even though he was sent to minor league camp not too long ago). Early in the 2021 season, it seemed as if McKinstry was ready to break out and become an everyday player for the Dodgers. Unfortunately, an injury ruined those plans and he wasn’t the same after going down. McKinstry’s advantage is that he’s extremely versatile on the defensive end and is also a lefty bat, so there will be times the Dodgers use him because of that.
Jake Lamb and Kevin Pillar are also both worth mentioning, as they’ve both had a productive spring trainings. Although, with the depth of this organization, it may be difficult for them to see any significant playing time.