The Dodgers added outfielder James Outman, shortstop Jacob Amaya, infielders Eddys Leobard and Jorbit Vivas, and pitcher Michael Grove to the 40-man roster ahead of Friday afternoon’s deadline to set rosters in preparation for the Rule 5 Draft.
To make room for them on the now full 40-man roster, outfielders Zack Reks and Billy McKinney were designated for assignment.
The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled for December 9, though the major league portion of said draft would have to be postponed if there is a lockout, which is becoming increasingly more likely as the December 1 expiration of MLB’s collective bargaining agreement approaches.
Amaya was a 2017 draftee out of South Hills High School in West Covina, with Grove and Outman picked a year later out of college. All three were non-roster invitees during spring training this year. In 2022, they’ll return to big league camp as full-fledged major leaguers. As will Leonard and Vivas, who were signed as international amateur free agents in 2017.
In addition to earning a major league salary for days they get called up to the Dodgers — the minimum salary was $570,500 in 2021, or $3,067 for each day of the season — players on the 40-man roster get a higher minor league salary, too. A new collective bargaining agreement will set the minimums for 2022 and going forward, but this year the minimum minor league salary for first-time players on the 40-man roster was $46,600.
For players off the 40-man roster in 2021, minimum salary in Triple-A was $700 per week, and $600 per week in Double-A. That translates to $16,100 over the five-month season in Triple-A, and $13,800 in Double-A.
Amaya hit .216/.303/.343 with 12 home runs for Double-A Tulsa in 2021, with a 10.9-percent walk rate in his age-22 season. He was a full-time shortstop this season, but has played second base and a little third base as well throughout his time in the minors.
Outman had a breakout season at the plate this year, hitting .266/.379/.490 with 18 home runs and 48 extra-base hits in 104 games across High-A Great Lakes and Double-A Tulsa, while providing capable defense in center field.
Grove had a 7.86 ERA, 6.30 FIP, and allowed 19 home runs in 71 innings for Double-A Tulsa, but improved as the season wore on with a 4.10 ERA and 30-percent strikeout rate over his final six starts.
Grove’s mechanical changes were detailed by Josh Thomas at Dodgers Digest in October. In July, Eric Longenhagen at FanGraphs had Grove listed as a “must add” to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, noting at the time that Grove “has the best stuff of the potential additions but has been wild this year.”
Leonard hit .296/.390/.539 with 22 home runs and 29 doubles across both Class-A levels, and just turned 21 last week. Leonard has played shortstop, second base, and third base in the minors, and in 2021 even added 11 games in centerfield.
Vivas hit .312/.396/.496 with 14 home runs and 26 doubles between Rancho Cucamonga and Great Lakes, and won’t turn 21 until March. His time in the field was split almost evenly between third base and second base, plus two innings in left field, as a treat.
The additions have the Dodgers’ 40-man roster at 40 players, including 18 position players. The lefty-hitting Outman continues a trend as the roster is currently constructed. Outside of the presumed starters, every person on the roster who might reasonably be expected to play at least some time in the outfield bats left-handed: Matt Beaty, Luke Raley, Zach McKinstry, and now Outman.
The lone exception might be the right-handed Sheldon Neuse, primarily an infielder who has played 14 total games in corner outfield spots in the majors and minors. Eddys Leonard also just added outfield, but again has only limited experience in even High-A.
Leonard (41 games) and Vivas (23 games) join the 40-man roster with High-A Great Lakes as their highest level, making one wonder if two spots will be used on players who won’t play in the majors in 2022.