The Dodgers, with an 88-49 record and +217 Run Differential mark on the year, are hardly in need of anyone’s help–but help is just what they’ll be getting in the coming weeks, as recent announcements foreshadow the additions of new and old faces alike to the L.A. active roster.
First up is the imminent return of the impressive young outfielder Alex Verdugo. Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times reports that Verdugo is set to join Rookie-level Ogden tomorrow, where he is expected to remain for a week’s time before returning to the Blue’s lineup next weekend (Twitter link). Verdugo’s been down since Aug. 6 with an oblique strain–the apotheosis of pesky injuries. Before that point, the left-handed hitter had logged very nice production for a 23-year old, with a .294/.342/.475 slash line that felt a little like the vintage work of Andre Ethier, a former Dodgers outfielder that had his own share of success from the left side of the plate in a decade-plus career.
Two more notes from perhaps the scariest team in the National League…
- The Dodgers rotation already boasts Hyun-Jin Ryu–the man who tied with Jacob deGrom in a recent MLBTR poll on the NL Cy Young race–and will now be supplemented by the return of the underrated Ross Stripling. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register indicates that Stripling will start for L.A. on Sunday, with rookie Dustin May expected to enter the game after 2-3 innings (Twitter links). It may be a short return for Stripling, but it could be that the club will utilize the 29-year-old in a swing capacity in the postseason. After all, the club has received a sub-4.00 ERA in a mixed bullpen-starting role from the righty in four consecutive seasons.
- While Verdugo and Stripling are certain to be welcomed back with eagerness from the L.A. fanbase, far more excitement surrounds a possible first-look at prospect sensation and shortstop Gavin Lux. Any number of verbs–destroyed, obliterated, crushed, brutalized–would be accurate in describing what the 21-year-old has done to PCL pitching since being promoted to Triple-A this midseason. His .390/.478/.723 slash would be impressive in any run environment short of the lunar surface, and now again comes word that September roster expansion could precipitate Lux’s addition to the L.A. regular rotation. Prior reports had indicated that Lux would join the club in something of an “apprentice” role, but Dave Roberts has told Castillo that Lux may play a pivotal on-field role in the club’s pursuit of the NL pennant (link). Incumbent shortstop Corey Seager, for what it’s worth, is in the midst of a 2.4 WAR year with a 109 wRC+, indicating that he’s been a smidge above-average overall for a full-time position player. Though L.A. will likely have a little re-ordering to do in the future to accommodate full-time roles for Lux and Seager, the rookie’s handling of stretch-run at-bats likely has everything to do with Max Muncy’s recently broken wrist.