The second half of the 2023 season has arrived, as the Dodgers’ pursuit of yet another playoff appearance kicks into high gear. While the team has players who have been focal parts of championship winning teams, there are some questions regarding if the team’s rookies can become reliable enough to earn significant playing time in October.
The Dodgers currently have seven players who made their major league debut this season alone, and have a combined ten players on their 40-man roster that are classified as rookies. The most outstanding offensive rookie this season has been James Outman, who after a meteoric start to his season, has settled into a roughly league average hitter overall (.236/.318/.419, 97 OPS+ in 302 PA). As far as the pitching side is concerned, the most impactful rookie arm this season has been former first round pick Bobby Miller, who after a fantastic first few starts has allowed a combined 20 earned runs in his past four starts (5-1 in 8 GS, 4.50 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 1.23 WHIP, 97 ERA+).
The Dodgers are expecting several big names to return to the team before the end of the regular season such as Walker Buehler, who is in the midst of rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery. As the rotation begins to bring back many household names such as Buehler— and inevitably, Clayton Kershaw— it begs the question as to which rookies will be apart of the playoff picture. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register notes how team president Andrew Friedman has felt about which rookies have stood out and what direction the team will go within the upcoming months ahead:
“‘I think the experience that Michael, Bobby and Emmet have gotten has been incredibly helpful – not only for their long-term development but also the short term... So I can see those guys being a part of a strong October pitching staff. In what role, we’ll figure out based on getting in and based on what our pitching looks like.’”
- Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times writes about Mookie Betts’ comfortability manning the middle infield positions and compares the toll of Betts being an outfielder with him playing the infield.
- Levi Weaver and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic discuss if injury issues will continue to restrain the Dodgers from reaching their ultimate goal in October in the latest edition of The Windup.
- Ryan Pepiot, having been out since the beginning of the season with an oblique strain, is slated to begin a rehab assignment in Oklahoma City tonight, tweets team broadcaster Alex Freedman.