Though the vibes heading into Opening Day for the 2023 season aren't as spectacular for Los Angeles Dodgers fans as they were back in 2019, 2020, 2021 or 2022 ... it's still the start of a new baseball year. No matter the outlook of your team, you can't deny the inherent excitement that comes with a fresh start.
While the Dodgers aren't MLB's (or even the NL West's) top dog, fans are still eager to see this new-look lineup/roster that will feature promising young sluggers in Miguel Vargas and James Outman, as well as newcomers JD Martinez, Jason Heyward, David Peralta, Miguel Rojas and Noah Syndergaard.
This really won't be a bad stopgap year with the second-tier talent the Dodgers added this offseason. The front office, after passing on the league's top free agents, did the next best thing by elevating some top prospects and surrounding them with experienced, accomplished veterans.
But what will the Opening Day lineup look like on March 30 against the Arizona Diamondbacks with right-hander Zac Gallen on the mound? That's still not set in stone when you realize the Dodgers will spend much of 2023 playing matchups and cycling guys in and out.
Better yet, what would it look like if the fans could have their way? It's safe to say guys like Chris Taylor and Trayce Thompson have fallen out of favor, so here's our best attempt to make everyone at home happy when the season begins Thursday.
Projecting the Los Angeles Dodgers' Opening Day Lineup
- Mookie Betts, RF
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Max Muncy, 3B
- Will Smith, C
- James Outman, CF
- JD Martinez, DH
- David Peralta, LF
- Miguel Vargas, 2B
- Miguel Rojas, SS
- Julio Urías, SP
With Gallen on the mound, there's no reason for Thompson and Taylor to be starting, especially since it's been made clear they'll both be utilized against left-handed pitchers with the addition of lefty bats in Outman, Peralta and Heyward. Not to mention, Thompson and Taylor (even after homering the last two games), have been dreadful this spring.
Outman has legitimately earned a start on Opening Day, as well as a premier spot in the lineup. If the Dodgers want to ease a struggling Taylor into action, he should be facing lefties at the onset as he gets back into a groove. JD Martinez probably can't live in the top five until he works out the kinks (.192 AVG, .577 OPS this spring).
If there was any year the Dodgers could tinker with the personnel on the roster outside of Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, it's 2023. Experiment from the jump and see how everything develops.
Since a number of these players won't be here beyond 2023 or 2024, there's no reason to commit to anybody from the jump. Let the fans have what they want on Day 1.