Dodgers' spring camp to feature plenty of new faces

Kendrick, Rollins, McCarthy among players expected to make big contributions

Dodgers' spring camp to feature plenty of new faces

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training next week. In anticipation, presents a series of articles previewing the 2015 season.

Thursday's installment is "The New Guys," of which the Dodgers have many, with capsules below.

LHP Brett Anderson: Low risk and high reward is the belief for the injury-prone Anderson, signed for one year to be the fifth starter. Spring Training might be a bit touchy for Anderson, who is coming off lower back surgery. But his 2.91 ERA in an eight-start 2014 is an indicator of the kind of upgrade he will be if he can take the ball.

C Austin Barnes: Not flashy or possessing an exceptional skill like Dee Gordon's running speed, Barnes is seen by management as a solid, versatile gamer with the rare combination of legit catching and infield skills at second and third bases. Offensively, he puts the ball in play and uses the whole field the way that Justin Turner did last year. Barnes projects as a super utility player and leader.

RHP Mike Bolsinger: He's a ground-ball pitcher from Arizona reunited with Dodgers executive Josh Byrnes. He made eight starts for the D-backs last year, mostly unexceptional. With a two-pitch arsenal, he's most likely to be insurance at Triple-A, although a move to the bullpen wouldn't be a stretch.

C Yasmani Grandal: It won't be easy replacing the offense of Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez, but Grandal gives manager Don Mattingly a switch-hitter with occasional power who can be dropped into different spots in the batting order and create difficult matchups for the opposition. He's also been praised for pitch framing. One red flag is the major right knee surgery he had midway through '13 from a play at the plate, but he finished '14 strong and came out of a winter-ball stint confident he's healthy.

Outlook: Grandal, C/1B, LAD

RHP Chris Hatcher: A former catcher who's been pitching less than four years, the strike-throwing Hatcher is expected to help provide the bridge to closer Kenley Jansen despite a 4.82 career ERA. His ERA improved dramatically to 3.38 in a breakout '14, when the hard-throwing right-hander was more effective against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters.

OF Chris Heisey: The Dodgers traded for Heisey because he has center-field skills and could be the right-handed bat to platoon with rookie Joc Pederson or Andre Ethier, even though most of Heisey's Major League time has been in left field. He's not just all-glove, based on 50 homers in 1,326 Major League at-bats. But he's a free swinger who rarely walks.

INF Enrique Hernandez: Maybe the sleeper in the Gordon trade with Miami, Hernandez is versatile enough to play all over the place and he's coming off an impressive Caribbean Series. If Howie Kendrick turns into a one-year solution at second base, Hernandez could emerge as a longer-term candidate, although most scouts consider him a super-utility player as natural in the outfield as he is in the infield.

INF Kendrick: The apparent reasoning behind the trade and financial giveaway of Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami was to upgrade second base with Kendrick, a proven commodity in the middle infield on a World Series contender. He will team with Jimmy Rollins up the middle and his 75 RBIs and 85 runs will help offset the offense lost with the departures of Gordon, Kemp and Ramirez.

Outlook: Kendrick, 2B, LAD

 LHP Adam Liberatore: Considering his connection to president Andrew Friedman from their Tampa Bay days, Liberatore could prove stiff competition to Paco Rodriguez as a second bullpen lefty. He was dominant at Triple-A last year and has always kept the ball in the park. He lacks a dominant pitch and the hype that goes with it.

RHP Brandon McCarthy: Like Anderson, McCarthy has been injury-prone, but the Dodgers were confident enough that that's in the past to give him a four-year contract to be a fourth starter, envisioning a younger version of Haren. All of his numbers improved after a midseason trade from the D-backs to the Yankees last year. He has a strong relationship with general manager Farhan Zaidi from their days together in Oakland.

Outlook: McCarthy, SP, LAD

RHP Juan Nicasio: The Dodgers are taking a shot on this intriguing arm after the Rockies gave up, even though he seemed to become a serviceable reliever in 2014. With his history of starting, he seemingly projects as a multi-inning swingman, a role held by Jamey Wright. Management believes he will be greatly helped by the move from Coors Field to Dodger Stadium.

RHP Joel Peralta: Another acquisition traced to connections with new management (Friedman and Tampa Bay), Peralta not only is a reliable arm but a clubhouse leader. He'll be 39 by Opening Day and his ERA jumped a run from '13 to '14, but at worst he should be an improvement on Brian Wilson as a setup contender.

INF Rollins: At 36, he's eight years removed from his MVP season, nine years since the last All-Star appearance and three years since his last Gold Glove. But management is sure he'll be so much better than Ramirez on defense that it will more than make up for any giveback on offense. He also comes with much less clubhouse drama.

Outlook: Rollins, SS, LAD

RHP Joe Wieland: He's pitched in only 11 games since 2011 because of Tommy John surgery, so Wieland is a wild card. The Dodgers would be pleased if he is healthy enough to start at Triple-A every five days and provide depth if needed for a spot start.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.