Not many Dodger fans know who Justin Sellers is. Hell, I didn't really until last season.
But I'm going on record right now: Sellers will make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster.
Why? Well, the short answer is: he isn't Juan Castro.
Sellers, who will turn 25 on Feb. 1, was a sixth-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2005. He was never touted for his bat, and it showed in his first four professional seasons -- he never OPS'd higher than .701, which came in his debut season.
In his two seasons with the Dodgers, he has a slash line of .279/.365/.412/.777, mostly at Double- and Triple-A (save for a 24-game stint at Inland Empire). He benefited from the friendly confines of the Pacific Coast League, but he still put up decent numbers at Chattanooga in 2009.
As you can see, he has decent on-base ability. Being a former farmhand of the Oakland Athletics, that isn't surprising.
Sellers' main value, however, is with his glove. He's one of the better fielding shortstops in the minors.
Looking at the current Dodgers' roster, it looks like they could be an infielder short. Other than Jamey Carroll, the Dodgers don't really have another backup infielder -- especially one who can play up the middle.
Conventional Dodger wisdom would lead one to believe Castro and his scrappy veteraness would get the nod over Sellers -- and it's probably going to happen. If/when it happens, it will be a mistake.
Back in December, Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness wrote about the Dodgers' refusal to part ways with one of the worst hitters in Major League history. He said the acquisition would likely cost the Dodgers' Chin-lung Hu -- and he was right. If Hu was still around, this post would either be about him or it would go unwritten.
What do the Dodgers have to lose by giving Sellers a shot as the 25th man? Sure he wouldn't get as much playing time as he would in Triple-A, but he could surprise some folks and be a valuable glove off the Dodgers' bench.
After all, Rafael Furcal isn't exactly the most durable player around.
Here's hoping Sellers doesn't fall flat on his face in Spring Training, thus making my prediction look bad.
Evan of the New Mexico Fan blog, had a nice write-up on Sellers and his being invited to the Dodgers' winter development program.