5 Dodgers to keep an eye on during Spring Training

February 16th, 2024

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- While most teams are just getting their camp started, the Dodgers have been working out at Camelback Ranch for over a week now.

Though the 2024 Dodgers will be graded based on what happens over the course of the regular season and into the postseason, the road to those goals always starts in Spring Training. Cactus League games will get started next week, which will give Los Angeles some more intel heading into the season.

All the focus, rightfully so, is on the superstars such as Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. But for the Dodgers to accomplish their ultimate goal of winning a World Series, they’ll need contributions from up and down the 40-man roster.

With that being said, let’s take a look at five players in the non-superstar division who have been opening some eyes at Dodgers camp following the first week of workouts.

It’s easy to forget how dominant Treinen was over his first few seasons with the Dodgers given he missed the entire 2023 season after undergoing right shoulder surgery in November 2022. But Treinen came into camp this year fully healthy and ready to show that he could be another dominant late-game option.

Treinen threw live batting practice for the first time this spring on Thursday and he quickly became the talk of the hitting group he faced. The veteran right-hander had all his pitches working, getting plenty of swings and misses. After the session, Max Muncy and Gavin Lux both joked that Treinen’s deal could be “the best $1 million deal of all-time,” alluding to his $1 million club option that was picked up this offseason.

The Dodgers have a plethora of high-leverage options coming into the season, but getting Treinen back to a good spot is perhaps one of the biggest developments of the spring.

After tearing his right ACL, LCL and suffering severe damage to his right hamstring last spring, Lux is back on the field in 2024, ready to prove he’s the right man to be the team’s starting shortstop.

Lux is still getting back into the swing of things and playing in Cactus League games will be the final hurdle, at least mentally, towards his full recovery. On Thursday, Lux had the most impressive of the live batting practice session, smashing a long and loud homer off veteran right-hander Daniel Hudson, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee after missing most of the past two seasons.

It’ll be interesting to see just how much the Dodgers lean on Lux early in the season as he gets his legs under him, but the former top prospect has certainly opened some eyes early on.

With Walker Buehler set to start the season on the 15-day injured list, the Dodgers have a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation. That spot will likely be decided between Stone, Emmet Sheehan and Ryan Yarbrough. Sheehan has the leg up given his performance to close out last season, but Stone is showing signs of the pitcher that became one of the most coveted prospects in the organization.

Stone has worked on a couple pitches to pair with his four-seam fastball and changeup combination. If Stone can get a consistent third pitch and clean up some delivery issues that plagued him last season, he’ll have a chance to contribute at different points for the Dodgers.

Vanasco has been an under-the-radar addition to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, but the right-hander has been a revelation so far this spring. President of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave Roberts have both mentioned Vanasco as one of the most impressive pitchers so far in spring. It’s unclear how Vanasco fits into the puzzle, but don’t be surprised to see him at some point in 2024.

We’ll cheat a little and have two more guys on the list. Vargas has been working with former Dodgers outfielder Andre Eithier throughout camp and is still looking to improve in left field, a new position for him this spring. His bat looks impressive, however, as the former top prospect has looked solid during batting practice. Cactus League action will be key.

As for Grove, the right-hander got some experience last season as both a starter and a reliever and he’ll look to carve out a spot on the roster in 2024. So far, so good for Grove, who looked sharp in live batting practice Thursday.