The Los Angeles Dodgers released their roster for their NLDS matchup against the Washington Nationals and many fans are surprised. For example, Andre Ethier, who was out for most of the season, made the roster. Another player is fan favorite Kiké Hernandez who was cut and instead sent to the Arizona League to stay hot.
Here’s what the 25-man roster looks like:
Starters: Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Julio Urias
Relief: Kenley Jansen, Joe Blanton, Josh Fields, Pedro Baez, Luis Avilan, Grant Dayton, Ross Stripling
Yasmani Grandal, Carlos Ruiz, Austin Barnes
Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Charlie Culberson, Chase Utley, Justin Turner
Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Howie Kendrick, Andrew Toles, Josh Reddick
Looking at the roster, there are definitely a few names that make you think twice about it. But just as confusing is some of the players who were left off it.
Andre Ethier getting the nod
The first surprise to some is that despite only playing in 16 games and having just 24 at bats, Andre Ethier will be suiting up for the Dodgers instead of Kiké Hernandez. In his short stint this season, Ethier is only batting a .208 average in 24 at-bats. On top of that, he is a left-handed batter in a club that has been known to struggle against left-handed pitching.
However, it does make a little sense as Ethier is a veteran left-handed hitter that can come off the bench if needed and provide leadership in the clubhouse. On top of that, he has been known to be “Captain Clutch” to fans because of his tendency to come up clutch late in the game!
J.P. Howell Being Left Off
With the Ethier decision, it looks as if Dave Roberts wants veteran presence on the roster, but that all goes out the window with leaving Howell off the roster. Not only is Howell an 11-year veteran, he has experience in the postseason as well. Howell could have been used as a good setup pitcher for Kenley Jansen.
However, in 50.2 innings pitched this season, Howell put up a 4.09 ERA, striking out 44 and walking 15. Looks like the Dodgers thought that their other pitchers matched up better with the National hitters.
Third catcher Austin Barnes makes it
Austin Barnes was able to edge out players such as Rob Segedin because of his ability to play the infield as well as catch. Barnes only appeared in 21 games this season and was only at the plate 37 times. In those 37 at bats, he posted just a .156 batting average.
However, Barnes is a versatile player that can offer the Dodgers a lot of flexibility. He can be a runner off the bench for Grandal or Ruiz, since both are fairly slow, and still come in to catch the next inning. There are a lot of uses for Austin Barnes that will give Dave Roberts much more flexibility and options to hopefully help the Dodgers out in a big way.
Alex Wood might be saved for later
Although he won’t be pitching against the Nationals, if the Dodgers advance, Wood could see some time on the mound.
Wood spent much of the season on the DL, and only started 10 games, with just four of them since September. However, the Dodgers would love to have his presence should they face a lefty-heavy batting order.
Charlie Culberson gets rewarded
Making the roster is Culberson’s prize for his division clinching home run. Not really, but it certainly didn’t hurt. Culberson has had 67 at bats this season and is batting a respectable .284 average. Not only that, he provides an excellent glove to back up not only Chase Utley, but Corey Seager as well.
He is a good utility player, and like Barnes he offers flexibility to the Dodgers roster.