With six of the expected 13 position players on the Dodgers opening day roster leaving to play in the World Baseball Classic, the next week-plus feature lots of opportunity for playing time in major league camp.
With both main catchers — Will Smith and Austin Barnes — in the WBC, Diego Cartaya figures to get some playing time in Cactus League games, along with the three non-roster catchers David Freitas, Patrick Mazeika, and Hunter Feduccia. So far in spring training, Cartaya has played in three games, batting six times. Two of Cartaya’s games were as designated hitter, with just once behind the plate through the first 10 Dodgers games.
Mookie Betts, David Peralta, and Trayce Thompson are at the WBC, which means plenty of time for James Outman to make his case for a roster spot. Though even with a full camp, Outman played in seven of 10 games so far, including four starts, and playing all three outfield positions. Non-roster invitee Jason Heyward has played in five of 10 games so far, all of them starts in center field. Though he’s only played on back-to-back days just once so far this spring. That could change while the bulk of the outfield is away.
Opportunities likely abound for Jonny DeLuca and Andy Pages, who are on the 40-man roster, plus defense-first non-roster invitees Bradley Zimmer and Steven Duggar to see some outfield time.
Freddie Freeman being with Team Canada likely means more time at first base for Michael Busch, who has already started twice there this spring in addition to two starts at second base.
JJ Cooper at Baseball America dug into every team’s spring training television broadcasts, or lack thereof. The Dodgers are on the high end, televising 30 of their 32 exhibition games. But that’s far from the norm.
“The average MLB team broadcasts 13 spring training games on TV,” Cooper wrote, “but the median number of broadcasts is 11, as teams like the Dodgers and Cubs raise the overall average.”
Luca Evans at the Los Angeles Times wrote about the uptick of student-run broadcasting programs at various high schools across Southern California.