Get excited Dodger fans, as Opening Day for the 2021 season is just 15 days away! After its first round of roster cuts earlier this week, the club is already starting to come together for Opening Day. While much of the Dodgers’ future (prospects) was sent back down to the minors, there’s still plenty of talent left in camp.
Spring training is the time for all players, veterans and rookies alike, to shake off the rust, yet there are a handful of players who are way ahead of the curve.
Let’s take a look at 5 players who are absolutely killing it this spring.
You just can’t have a list about standout players and not include Corey “World Series MVP” Seager. Yes, these games aren’t official and they’re not always filled with Major League caliber players, yet you can’t ignore how locked in Seager looks at the plate. So far he’s produced a .462 batting average with 5 home runs and 11 RBIs. You couldn’t ask much more from the 26-year old shortstop.
.@coreyseager_5 managed to stay hot all offseason.
That's 5 homers this spring for the World Series MVP. ? pic.twitter.com/EYSyirHZlm
— MLB (@MLB) March 15, 2021
Dave Roberts has already mentioned that he likes what he’s seeing from his star player and wants the season to start already to get him in some meaningful games. With his impending free agency lurking at season’s end, we could see Seager go on an absolute tear this year. Fingers crossed.
It doesn’t quite feel the same this spring without the presence of the departed Kiké Hernández. However, Zach Mckinstry is quickly making fans forget all about him with the impression he’s making. Moreover, the 25-year-old already caught the attention of several teammates as well.
? Zach McKinstry 2-run HR! ? pic.twitter.com/AbbvDVagoe
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) March 15, 2021
He’s stated that he wants to seize the utility man job that is currently vacant, and he’s backed that desire up with a .348 batting average so far. With what he’s shown so far, he doesn’t deserve to spend another inning in the minors.
Since tearing up the minors in 2019 and making his debut that September, Lux has been somewhat of a disappointment. He showed up late to camp last year and looked dreadful. he couldn’t make a throw or even make contact with pitch to save his life. Despite that, the Dodgers are not yet willing to give up on the 23-year old middle infielder.
— Blue Heaven (A Dodgers Podcast) (@BlueHeavenPod) March 17, 2021
He’s responded to that dedication with a sizzling .400 average and knocking in 4 runs. This new and improved Lux is what we’ve been waiting for as he seems determined to prove he belongs. He clearly still has work to do on the defensive side, namely his throws. However, if he could get back to that 2019 form and rake at the plate, the Dodgers may be willing to overlook the occasional error.
With all potential that Gonsolin has, it’s ridiculous how he still doesn’t have a defined role almost two years since his debut. That’s just a testament to how stacked this Dodgers team truly is. He would crack just about every other rotation in the league with ease. Add in the fact that he’s only allowed one hit and struck out 7 in 6 innings of work, and it only strengthens that notion.
Baseball and FANS are back ? pic.twitter.com/o3JIkd5kCB
— Tony Gonsolin (@goooose15) March 2, 2021
It’s possible that his strong showing this spring could at the very least earn him a spot in the bullpen, but with the sudden willingness of David Price to fill whatever role necessary, that could very well increase the likelihood that Gonsolin can nab a rotation spot to start the season. No matter what role he fills, he looks poised to make an impact.
Speaking of the depth that Los Angeles holds, it’s easy to forget about Jimmy Nelson. The right-hander missed all of last season after undergoing back surgery. He seems to have healed quite well as he’s shown no signs of rust whatsoever.
??Jimmy Nelson's Pitch Grips??
Jimmy Nelson throws a Filthy, High Spin Rate Slider & Curveball.
Learn his pitch grips directly from him!
[h/t @Watch_Momentum for the editing!]
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— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 17, 2021
He’s tossed 5 innings so far this spring, allowing 1 hit and 1 unearned run while recording 7 strikeouts. Nelson could be another candidate to be moved to the bullpen which has been depleted with many pitchers unlikely to break ready by opening day. Yet, the Dodgers have been trying to stretch him out as a starter, so it’ll be interesting what they do following his strong spring.
The Dodgers will have some hard decisions to make as the club looks to pare down its roster to 26 for Opening Day in Colorado on April 1st. With that said, and with the way these guys are playing, there are at least five names that should be an easy choice for Dave Roberts and company.