Dodgers 2014 Player Previews: Justin Sellers Fights For A Spot

Justin SellersEntering his sixth season in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, infielder Justin Sellers heads into spring training as one of several infielders competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster.

2013 stats: 27 games, 69 at-bats, .188 batting average, one home run, two RBIs.

With shortstop Hanley Ramirez still recovering from injury, Sellers was the starting shortstop through April and into May. In total, Sellers appeared in 28 games throughout 2013 — starting at shortstop for 22 games, third base for one game, four as a pinch hitter and one as a pinch runner.

Although Sellers struggles at the plate, he does have a career 1.000 fielding percentage at second and third base and .973 at shortstop. While it isn’t the most expansive sample size, his reliable glove could be of some value for the Dodgers.  Ramirez did state he’s fully recovered from the broken rib he suffered in Game 1 of the NLCS and a back injury, but the unpredictability of a back injury should be some cause for concern.

Sellers’ primary competition for a roster spot is comprised of, Chone Figgins, Dee Gordon and Justin Turner. Unfortunately for Sellers, Turner and Gordon are the two players who may beat him out given their recent MLB experience. The former All-Star and World Series champion Figgins could also play his way onto the roster, but considering he didn’t play baseball in 2013, his minor-league contract is likely just that.

The 28-year-old utility man’s best games of the 2013 season came within a span of three days. First, Sellers went 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI in a 7-2 win over the New York Mets on April 23. Three days later, Sellers had a 2-for-4 effort, including a double, against the Milwaukee Brewers. Sellers also scored two runs in the Dodgers’ 7-5 victory.

Not only is Sellers at risk of not making this season’s roster, future years could prove troublesome with the Dodgers closing in on signing Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, the non-roster invite to Miguel Rojas and the likeliness of an extension for Ramirez.

2014 projection: Barring unforeseen circumstances, Sellers will be spend time with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, but could potentially see playing time at the big league level if there are injuries or when the rosters expand to 40.

Sellers is currently signed to a one-year, $494,000 million contract, with the Dodgers holding two option years to send Sellers to the minors and the earliest he would be up for arbitration is in 2015.


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