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2023 Schedule, ESPN Top 100 MLB Players, and How Long of A Leash

Okay, Spring Training is over, and we have a day before the season officially starts.  So why not provide some superficial fluff as the bridge.

Before I deep dive into the schedule, how many out there remember that it used to be the Cincinnati Reds that always played the first game of the new season?  Just like everything else, things change.

Now on to the 2023 “balanced schedule”.

As I am sure everyone is aware, the 2023 schedule has been adjusted to make it “more balanced”.  Every team will play every other team in MLB.  There are three components of the new balanced schedule.

Division Opponents:

Each team will play 52 games against division opponents, decreased from 76 under the previous schedule structure.

This will include 13 games (across four total series) against each division opponent, decreased from 19 (across six series). That’s seven home games and six away games (or vice versa) against each opponent for a total of 26 home games and 26 away games.

Non-division league opponents:

Each team will play 64 intraleague games (32 home games and 32 away games), decreased from 66.

Teams will play six games against six league opponents and seven games against four other league opponents. This is the reverse of the previous format, in which teams played six games against four league opponents and seven against six league opponents.

Interleague games:

This is the biggest change, with 46 total Interleague games for each team (AL vs. NL and vice versa), an increase from 20.

Teams will play a home-and-home series (four games total) against their natural Interleague rivals, and another 42 games against other Interleague opponents, including seven series (21 games) at home and seven series (21 games) on the road.

Specifically for the Dodgers:

Division Opponents (52 games):

  • Arizona – 7 home, 6 away
  • Colorado – 6 home, 7 away
  • San Francisco – 7 home, 6 away
  • San Diego – 6 home, 7 away

Non Division League Opponents:

7 games (28 games):

  • Chicago Cubs – 3 home, 4 away
  • Pittsburgh – 4 home, 3 away
  • Louis – 3 home, 4 away
  • Atlanta – 4 home, 3 away

3 home and away against (36 games):

  • Philadelphia
  • Milwaukee
  • Washington
  • Cincinnati
  • New York Mets
  • Miami

Interleague games:

Natural Interleague Rival (4 games) – LAA (2 home and 2 away)

3 home games (21 games):

  • Minnesota
  • NYY
  • ChiSox
  • Houston
  • Toronto
  • Oakland
  • Detroit

3 away games (21 games):

  • Tampa Bay
  • Kansas City
  • Baltimore
  • Texas
  • Cleveland
  • Boston
  • Seattle

The Dodgers open the season (March 29) at home against Arizona.  The Dodgers and DBacks face off against each other 8 of their first 10 games. The Dodgers finish the season on the road against San Francisco (October 1).

They play all 7 of their games against the Cubs in April.

Outside of the All Star Break, the Dodgers have 21 open dates.  The first one, April 5, is on a Wednesday.  After that there will be 10 Monday open dates and 10 Thursday open dates.

The Dodgers have 19 games when they have to travel to another city without a day off.  They do have a couple of coast to coast trips with no day off.

  • April 27 day game in Pittsburgh to home.
  • August 27 probable night TV game in Boston to Arizona.

There are multiple travel plans from home to the Midwest and vice versa.

The team has four different 13 consecutive games on the schedule, one 12 consecutive games, and two 10 consecutive games.

The longest consecutive away games is 10 (May 18 to May 28).  They play 4 in St. Louis, followed by 3 in Atlanta, and 3 in Tampa Bay.

The longest consecutive home games is also 10 (August 10 to August 20).  They play Colorado for 4, Milwaukee for 3, and Miami for 3.

There is also a 9 consecutive away and home game run.

Okay that is more information on the schedule than most of you wanted to hear.




Another superfluous topic is the ESPN Top 100 players in MLB.  Atlanta and Houston have 8 top 100 MLB players each.  NY Mets and Toronto have 7, while San Diego, Philadelphia, and Cleveland have 6.  The Dodgers have 5 – Freddie (5), Mookie (9), Julio (46), Will Smith (47), Clayton (87).

What is interesting is that most of the teams with top MLB players do not have corresponding good farm systems (as rated by MLB Pipeline).  The two exceptions are Cleveland with 6 top MLB players have the 4th best farm system, and the Dodgers have 5 top MLB players with the 2nd best farm system.

The Angels have two top 100 players.  They just happen to be #1 and #2…Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout.

Here is the makeup of the ESPN Top 100 and their respective farm rankings.

Team 1-25 26-50 51-75 76-100 Top 100 Farm
Atlanta 2 3 3 0 8 30
Houston 1 3 3 1 8 27
NY Mets 2 2 2 1 7 11
Toronto 1 1 2 3 7 20
San Diego 3 1 0 2 6 23
Philadelphia 2 2 1 1 6 21
Cleveland 1 2 1 2 6 4
LA Dodgers 2 2 0 1 5 2
Seattle 1 1 0 3 5 24
ChiSox 0 1 1 3 5 26
NY Yankees 2 1 1 0 4 13
Tampa Bay 0 2 0 2 4 6
St. Louis 2 0 0 1 3 9
Miami 1 0 1 1 3 18
Milwaukee 1 0 1 1 3 15
Minnesota 1 0 1 1 3 19
Baltimore 0 1 2 0 3 1
Texas 0 2 1 0 3 7
Arizona 0 1 1 1 3 3
LA Angels 2 0 0 0 2 28
Pittsburgh 0 0 1 1 2 8
Boston 1 0 0 0 1 16
Chicago Cubs 0 0 1 0 1 12
Kansas City 0 0 1 0 1 29
San Francisco 0 0 1 0 1 17
Colorado 0 0 0 0 0 14
Cincinnati 0 0 0 0 0 5
Oakland 0 0 0 0 0 22
Washington 0 0 0 0 0 10
Detroit 0 0 0 0 0 25
25 25 25 25 100
Farm Ranks per MLB Pipeline





David Peralta, Jason Heyward, Noah Syndergaard, Shelby Miller, J. P. Feyereisen.  Throw in Trayce Thompson.

How long do you hold on to Trayce if he is still hitting <.150 and striking out >35% of the time.  Yes he made an outstanding play in CF against LAA, but the Dodgers released a better defensive and arguably better offensive player in Cody Bellinger.

Trayce was a great feel good story in 2022, but this is 2023.  Trayce has never been able to put together any kind of a multi-month run much less a multi-year run.  What if RHH Jonny DeLuca or Andy Pages go off in MiLB?  How long before Trayce is moved for another option?

I had no problem with acquiring low risk – high reward veteran players like David Peralta and Jason Heyward.  I am not sure that either were necessary, and certainly not both.  But I understand the reasoning.  It seems evident (at least to me) that Peralta was signed because AF/BG did not consider James Outman ready for MLB. They were wrong.   But how long does that low risk have to hold out before there is even a modicum of a reward.  They will both get long leashes, but if they are not producing at the Deadline, do you forget they are LH and bring up Pages?  Or do you try to acquire the Cards’ excess CF Dylan Carlson or one of the Brewers excess OF?  NYY Harrison Bader?  Or some other big bopper?

What do the Dodgers do with Michael Busch?  He is ready for MLB, but he has no place with the Dodgers.  Do you stick him in LF at OKC or give him a crash course at 3B?  Busch is certainly not going to unseat Freddie Freeman at 1B, and the Dodgers have decided that Miguel Vargas is the superior option at 2B.  Perhaps Busch’s best value to LAD is in a trade.  But if Busch hits like I think he will at OKC, it is going to need to be a huge improvement over an existing LAD ML player.  I would consider holding onto Busch for the 2024 DH.  Heck, if JDM hits as Badger projects him to, then maybe this year.

Of course with Steven Duggar and Bradley Zimmer at OKC, that presents another roadblock for LAD’s homegrown players.  Drew Avans will be returning for his 3rd year at OKC.  Andy Pages has to be an everyday OF at OKC, right?.  With Yusniel Diaz in the OKC OF picture, what happens to Jonny DeLuca and Ryan Ward?  Are they both stuck at AA?  For how long?

The acquisitions of David Peralta and Jason Heyward, and the retention of Trayce Thompson have lasting effects down the organizational ladder.

  • Drew Avans – Baseball age 27 (at AAA)
  • Yusniel Diaz – Baseball age 26 (at AAA?)
  • Bradley Zimmer – Baseball age 30 (at AAA)
  • Steven Duggar – Baseball age 29 (at AAA)
  • Andy Pages – Baseball age 22 (at AAA)
  • Ryan Ward – Baseball age 25 (at AA)
  • Jonny DeLuca – Baseball age 24 (at AA)
  • Jose Ramos – Baseball age 22 (at AA)

Michael Busch, wherever and whoever he plays for – Baseball Age 25.

Regarding leashes, how long of a leash will Noah Syndergaard have.  The pitching depth creates different problems for the decision makers.  They may have to hold onto the position players longer than many of us may want because of the lack of discernable position player talent in the upper levels of MiLB, especially in the positions of need; OF, SS, 3B, 2B.  But that is not the case with pitching.

I have been an avid advocate for the Syndergaard signing.  I am not as worried about his last two outings as many are.  While I do expect Syndergaard to be a quality member of the LAD rotation, I am not overwhelmingly convinced that Thor will not falter.  Ryan Pepiot is expected to have 5 starts before Tony Gonsolin is due back (at end of April).  What if Pepiot finds his confidence to match his pitches and he has an excellent start to the season.  He is capable of doing so in the #5 role.  Does he go back to AAA?

What if Michael Grove and Gavin Stone are unhittable at AAA?  What if Landon Knack has turned the corner?  With Pepiot and Andre Jackson on the MLB team, and Bobby Miller nursing a sore shoulder, I figure Knack gets one of the rotation spots in OKC.  But there are a surplus of possible starters for the ML rotation if Syndergaard does in fact falter.  The question is, how  long of a leash will he get?  I do think he will get a long leash. He should be fine as the #4 starter. If nothing else, he will end up in the bullpen.

How long do you hold back Nick Frasso, Nick Nastrini, or Emmet Sheehan at AA?

Two players I am anxiously waiting to see in AA are Eddys Leonard and Jorbit Vivas.  They were both added to the 40 man roster in December 2021.  This raised a few eyebrows as neither player had played above A Ball at the time.  They did not have as good of 2022 seasons as were expected, but both had fantastic springs, both offensively and defensively.  They are both 22, and are very much on the radar.  The problem with adding them to the 40 man so early is that after this year, they will only have one option remaining.  With that in mind, will the Dodgers push them this year to possibly be assigned to AAA sometime this summer, getting them closer to The Show?  The path is clear for both, especially for Eddys Leonard, as OKC does not have a clear SS.  It figures to go to Yonny Hernandez or Bryson Brigman or Luke Williams. None of whom are considered potential MLB SS.

It looks like the Dodgers came in second in the Luke Raley for Tanner Dodson trade last March.  While Dodson continues to struggle with control, Raley had a great Spring: 326/.396/.721/1.117 in 45 PA.  He had 5 HRs and 14 RBIs, which surpassed every Dodger.

The OKC season starts on Friday, March 31.  They still have not posted the roster updates. They currently show 41 players on the roster (not counting Jason Heyward or Jordan Yamamoto).

AA (Tulsa) – starts Thursday April 6

A+ (Great Lakes) – Starts Friday, April 7

A (Rancho Cucamonga) – Starts Thursday, April 6



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I understand the low risk-high reward strategy, but how many such players can a team trying to be consistently successful retain before they become a drag on the overall performance of the team? How long can the team follow this strategy? For example, what if Heyward, Peralta, Thompson AND Thor all fail to deliver and Taylor continues to strike out at an alarming rate? What does the front office do then? Will they wait until the trade deadline? Traditionally, they’ve been reluctant to bring up too many rookies, which tells me that the front office is either not very confident in their own prospects or they have a bias toward veterans. Trading prospects I suppose will be the obvious answer if and when the time comes. But I worry that the Dodgers’ brain trust will stick to these guys beyond their Sell By Date – see Joey Gallo 2022 for a perfect example of this. The other problem I have with the low risk-high reward strategy is that it tends not to work as well when your direct opponents continue to improve their team (see San Diego Padres). I’m not trying to be snarky or overly critical; I’m just really interested in how and why Friedman and his team make and stick to these decisions. What is their underlying motivation for pursuing this strategy? Is it ultimately just about saving money? But hey, I’m just a fan; what do I know?

Last edited 1 year ago by NortheastDodgerFan

For example, what if Heyward, Peralta, Thompson AND Thor all fail to deliver and Taylor continues to strike out at an alarming rate?

Is this a joke or serious?

What if everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) plays poorly?
What if Heyward, Peralta, Thompson and THOR all deliver? What will the lineup look like?
What if Heyward, Peralta, Thompson and Thor all get injured doing the hokey-pokey?

Why engage in these hypotheticals?

Gallo was beyond his Sell By date. Trea Turner wasn’t. Nor was Darvish.

Let’s hope for more of the former, than the latter. Although the latter cost more.


Bluto, that question was more than fair to ask. Peralta was good insurance and predictable. Heyward and Thompson kick the can down the road basically giving the Dodgers more time to evaluate Outman and even Busch. Syndergaard is a decent gamble in hopes to find another Anderson or Heaney and again buys time for Stone and Miller.

At some point between now and the 2024 season there is a good probability that Syndergaard, Taylor, Heyward, and Thompson will be gone and replaced with Busch, Stone, Miller, and Pages. And, because I almost include Muncy with every trade idea I have, Muncy might be gone as well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bumsrap

Why engage in these hypotheticals? Because as a fan (like you), I am worried that we have too many players in key positions who are past their prime (some, like Thompson, never had a prime and some, like JD Martinez and Thor are being counted on to play very key roles) and who logic suggests could very easily decline further. Meanwhile, the Dodgers’ farm system is consistently sold as being one of the best, yet the front office doesn’t seem eager to push them to the majors. I sense a disconnect there.

DO major league ballplayers do the hokey pokey? I wasn’t aware. Perhaps they might add this activity to the All-Star Game festivities.



Last edited 1 year ago by Bluto



Knack is a post-hype sleeper this year. Best case scenario is he pitches himself back into the prospect picture and we flip him at the deadline.


After last night JD is now hitting his weight. I have high (.235/.300/.400) hopes for him.

Trayce has to hit too. If he doesn’t, then Outman has to hit. If he doesn’t, then Heyward. Then Duggar. Then Zimmer. Oh, and Rojas has to hit. Then Vargas. Then Peralta. Muncy.

You know who has to hit and hit a bunch? The 3 guys listed by ESPN. Freeman, Smith and Betts, then hope for the best from all the rest.

We’re not exactly going into the season on a roll. But it’s the dbacks, so we should take 3 of 4, right?

Singing the Blue

Should? Probably. But have you always done what you shoulda?

Last edited 1 year ago by Singing the Blue

Me? No. The Dodgers? Also a No. so, No. I guess. How about a split?

Singing the Blue

I got no clue. But, yeah, a split seems reasonable. That way 3 or 4 wins will be a nice surprise.


I’m no longer worried about Muncy because I trust your faith in him. 35 home runs and. 850 OPS, right? Should?


Pepiot made me a believer last night

Singing the Blue

Thanks for all the effort that went into this schedule analysis, Jeff. Is there any way you could keep a link off to the side so we could refer to it during the season?

One minor point:
3 home and away against (18 games)” (this is the list that includes Philly/Milwaukee/etc). I believe that should read 36 games instead of 18.


So how long is leash for Thompson, Taylor, and Heyward? 1 month? 2 months? What about Thor? My biggest concern is that they stick with underperforming players too long. AF hates to admit he is wrong and makes mistakes. He cops out and says that the deal just didn’t work out but was a good idea at the time.


I would just like him to just come out and say that he screwed up. I would have more respect for him admitting his mistakes instead of sweeping them under the rug.


should he take victory laps for his sucesses?


LMAO. Sorry for criticizing the Baseball Boy Wonder.

Last edited 1 year ago by OhioDodger

That’s what I am thinking as well Jeff. I don’t think Urias or Ohtani will be Dodgers next year and if Urias and Boras are determined to max out Urias contract, I am in favor of trading Urias ASAP. The Dodgers aren’t going anywhere anyway if they don’t get strong performances from Kershaw, Gonsolin, May and decent performances from Syndergaard, Pepiot, Grove.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bumsrap

That was cool. Thanks Jeff.


I have not digested the new schedule yet but it appears that with more teams in the playoffs with some getting in based on their wins percentage that making teams more often face teams outside their Division and League was necessary and accomplished.

Given the injuries to Yankee pitchers and Volpe winning the shortstop job, might Peraza be available?

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55 

They still have Gleyber Torres through 2024 to play second and DJ LeMahieu through 2026. They don’t need Lux this year but he would replace Peraza mid 2024. Just need to find a pitcher to pair with Lux who could be in the Yankee rotation now.

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