It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers are a completely different team from the one that won 94 games and the NL West in 2014.
While Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke, Yasiel Puig and others returned, the team was overhauled this winter by Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. Injuries have already taken a toll on the team this year with the team’s third and fourth starters out for the season, and Puig and Carl Crawford out for more than half of the season thus far.
Manager Don Mattingly discussed the biggest difference from last year’s team: depth. “There’s definitely been a feeling of depth. Yasiel [Puig] has not really been a part of this at all this year. Andre [Ethier] has stepped up and kind of been Andre from the past. Scott Van Slyke has kind of stepped forward. Alex [Guerrero] we see has kind of stepped up,” Mattingly said.
While the depth is one of the biggest differences, so is the newfound youth on the 25-man roster and 40-man roster. While Joc Pederson has taken over center field, there are others that have made an impact. “Just the young guys, Kiké [Hernandez] has been able to come in and play. A lot of our guys in the bullpen are young guys that have stepped up. It’s definitely a little bit of a different look and a little bit of a transition from what we’ve been the last couple years,” added Mattingly.
Yimi Garcia, Pedro Baez, Adam Liberatore and others have made the Dodgers one of the top bullpens in the league so far. Mattingly went on to say that the youth and depth was first noticeable in the spring. “Spring Training was really fun because we had so many young guys that could play. All those guys didn’t make our club but it was just fun knowing what you have coming and how are they gonna develop,” said the Dodger manager.
It’s definitely an exciting time for the Dodgers currently and in the future.