I remember the time when the Dodgers sent out Trent Oeltjen a couple years back and Don Mattingly, then in his second year as manager, predicted Oeltjen could be a fourth outfielder somewhere in the major leagues. Maybe that wasn’t factually incorrect. Still, no team ever gave Oeltjen that chance. He spent a year in the minors, went back to his native Australia for a while, then retired.
So take this quote with a grain of salt:
Don Mattingly: "I think every player we sent out yesterday (Britton, Sweeney, Zarraga, Seager, O'Brien) plays in the big leagues." #Dodgers
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) March 19, 2015
Mattingly said that after I asked him to reflect on Corey Seager‘s camp. Here’s the full quote:
“It’s hard to look at Corey without looking at all those kids: (Scott) Schebler, (O’Koyea) Dickson, (Darnell) Sweeney, all those kids. I think every player we sent out yesterday plays in the big leagues — Britton, both catchers. … I don’t know what Andrew and the guys are thinking, about September call-ups. I think if we’re fairly healthy, I don’t expect to see him with us on an everyday basis.”
This isn’t as sexy as trying to guess the major league Opening Day roster. Still, it’s a more intriguing question than it’s been in years past. For one thing, the Dodgers’ major-league roster is mostly set outside of the bullpen, so this is actually a feasible exercise. Two, as you go down this list you’ll find few journeymen minor leaguers. Most seem just short of reaching (or just past) their full potential as major leaguers. It might represent the “B” squad in this camp, but this hypothetical roster actually doesn’t make you cringe.
Triple-A rosters are even more fluid than major-league rosters. There’s almost no such thing as an “everyday lineup” in the minor leagues. But if you had to ask me roughly three weeks into spring training who might be in OKC on Opening Day, this is an honest stab: