Those three spots will likely come down to Yasiel Puig (will he be healthy?), Scott Van Slyke, Corey Seager, Kiké Hernandez (another health concern), and Ruggiano. (I believe Alex Guerrero gets left off based on his inability to play defense and his inability to post an on-base percentage over .300 since April — he’s 6-for-his-last-50 with one walk.)
From there, things get interesting.
In looking at the assumed roster spots, you’ll notice there are just three outfielders available alongside five infielders, meaning at least one of the fringe outfielders would make the roster unless Puig comes back from injury to claim a spot. But which outfielder would you choose?
Conventional wisdom says Van Slyke is the pick, given his tenure with the team and his deceivingly impressive defense, however Ruggiano hasn’t made this a simple decision. Since joining the team, Ruggiano is 9-for-26 with three home runs and four doubles.
Van Slyke, on the other hand, has struggled since getting off to a hot start with the Dodgers — hitting just .222 since April with four home runs in 171 at-bats. The biggest factor he has going for him is defense.
Then there are the infielders — Seager and Hernandez. Just a few days ago, this list would have included the speedy Jose Peraza, an attractive option giving his pinch-running ability. However, it appears Peraza’s season may be done. That said, Seager and Hernandez both offer radically different benefits to manager Don Mattingly.
For Seager, the man-child prospect who is absolutely mashing as a professional, the offering consists of a hot bat (.419/.528/.628 in his first nine 12 as a pro) with the caveat of youth and inexperience. And keep in mind, Joc Pederson was left off the playoff roster last season — although his bat wasn’t nearly as quick to adapt to the Majors as Seager’s.
Then there’s Hernandez, who may or may not be healthy by the time the postseason rolls around, but who offers Mattingly an incredible amount of positional flexibility. While the bat isn’t what Seager’s is (especially from a power standpoint), Hernandez can pinch-hit in essentially any situation given his versatility that would allow for him to remain in the game.
That said, the 24 year old is also slashing .308/.350/.492 in 71 games this season. In short, if Puig and Hernandez both remain sidelined, this could become an easy decision for the Dodgers given Peraza’s recent diagnosis.
But what if Puig returns? Do the Dodgers opt for Seager and the utility-man Hernandez? Or do they leave an extra infielder off the roster in favor of the power bats of Ruggiano and Van Slyke?