The Los Angeles Dodgers have kicked off spring training a little early this year, with pitchers and catchers now reporting to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.
With an early season opener in Australia, the Dodgers needed to get to work sooner than most other teams. The full squad will report by Thursday.
At this point, barring any surprise late additions, the pool of players who will eventually make up the Albuquerque Isotopes' roster is fairly set. Over the next month-plus that pool will be whittled down to the eventual 25-man roster.
Here are how things stand at each position. Players on the Dodgers' 40-man roster are marked with an asterisk.
J.C. Boscan, Drew Butera*, Gorman Erickson, Miguel Olivo, Alberto Rosario
Butera is out of options, so he is tough to include here as he would have to be exposed to waivers in order to be sent down, and he could opt to become a free agent rather than report to Albuquerque. Boscan, Olivo and Rosario joined the organization as free agents. Erickson hit poorly (.199/.324/.414) at Double-A Chattanooga last year, but due to the lack of catching depth in the organization he will have to be considered for a spot.
Aaron Bates, Clint Robinson, Jamie Romak, Angelo Songco, J.T. Wise
Bates recently signed with the Dodgers after spending last season with Sugar Land of the Atlantic League, batting .306/.397/.411 with seven home runs. He can also play left field. Robinson is the leading candidate to start at first base. Romak can play both infield and outfield corners. Songco and Wise both played poorly at Chattanooga and are long-shots to move up. There is no true third baseman here, so that position will likely have a rotating cast.
Ryan Adams, Dee Gordon*, Brendan Harris, Ozzie Martinez, Daniel Mayora, Miguel Rojas, Justin Sellers*, Justin Turner
Adams is another recent signee. The former Oriole last played in 2012, almost exclusively as a second baseman. Most of this group will be competing for the vacant backup infield jobs in Los Angeles, with holdovers Gordon and Sellers vying against Turner, Harris and defensive wizard Rojas. Both Gordon and Sellers have options remaining. Due to the needs of the Dodgers, whichever players end up with the Isotopes will likely play multiple positions.
Mike Baxter*, Chili Buss*, Brian Cavazos-Galvez, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Joc Pederson, Trayvon Robinson, Scott Van Slyke*
Van Slyke is the favorite to be the Dodgers' fifth outfielder, with Baxter and Buss as his main competition. Baxter was acquired from the Mets and Hazelbaker from the Red Sox. Albuquerque native Cavazos-Galvez and top prospect Pederson both have a shot to move up from Chattanooga, with Pederson almost a lock. Robinson, who played for the Isotopes in 2011, rejoined the organization as a free agent after struggling in the Orioles' farm system last year.
Drew Carpenter, Stephen Fife*, Zach Lee, Matt Magill*, Red Patterson, Chris Reed, Henry Sosa, Ross Stripling
This is a relatively small group, so some pitchers in the relief category below could be stretched out to join the competition. Carpenter and Sosa joined the organization as free agents. Both have past big-league experience. Fife and Magill, barring injuries to other Dodgers starters, are pretty much locks to return. Patterson showed his ability to switch back and forth between starting and relieving. It remains to be seen if the Dodgers are willing to expose top prospects Lee, Reed and Stripling to Albuquerque's high desert air.
Juan Abreu, Geison Aguasviva, Pedro Baez*, Sam Demel, Jose Dominguez*, Onelki Garcia*, Yimi Garcia*, Juan Gonzalez, Javy Guerra*, Josh Judy, Jarret Martin*, Daniel Moskos, Hector Nelo, Fu-Te Ni, Josh Ravin, Romulo Sanchez, Steve Smith, Justin Souza, Michael Thomas, Chris Withrow*
Prospect Onelki Garcia leads the lefties here. Aguasviva, Moskos, Ni and Thomas are the other southpaws. Prospects Dominguez and Yimi Garcia figure to be key late-inning weapons for the Isotopes. Withrow might return to Albuquerque due to overcrowding in the Dodgers' bullpen despite pitching well for them last year.
The Isotopes will open their season on April 3 in Tacoma, with the home opener on April 11, also against the Rainiers.