As Dodgers regroup Walker Buehler makes his 2018 minor league debut
While the Dodgers get a travel day to figure out their offense and why they can’t win when the two best pitchers pitch, the minor league schedule opens with Walker Buehler highlighting the schedule.
Buehler is the odds-on favorite to get the first call when the Dodgers need a starter. Heck if Kenley Jansen has to hit the DL, they might even consider using him in the bullpen. If it was something they seriously thought about last Sept for October, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t consider it if they were to lose their best arm in the bullpen.
AAA Opening Day Notes:
Helping out Buehler in AAA will be Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo as they jockey to be the first outfielder recalled if/when the Dodgers give up or an injury hits Matt Kemp. Following Buehler in the rotation will be Manny Banuelos and Brock Stewart. You would expect Buehler to be second on the depth chart behind Buehler. In the bullpen, Pat Venditte, Adam Liberatore, and Edwardo Paredes will all be trying to impress enough to get back to the major leagues. The dual throwing Venditte was fantastic this spring but has had only moderate major league success. Back in 2016, Adam Liberatore was one of the best left-handed relief pitchers in the National League but injuries set him back in 2017. Edwardo Paredes gave the team a big lift in 2017 but was unable to crack the major league roster this spring.
1st/3rd baseman Edwin Rios who tore up spring training is not in the starting lineup nor is he listed on the roster. They say he is in extended spring training which I don’t quite understand given he played all spring. Matt Beaty is also not on the roster so I guess he’s also in extended spring training.
With both Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz in AA, the catching depth in AAA consists of Rocky Gale. Hopefully, he’ll never be needed. Jake Peter, Tim Locastro, and Rob Segedin all have the talent to be fringe major league utility players and provide the Dodgers some depth in case of short-term injuries.