Los Angeles Dodgers: Sorting Through the Outfield Logjam

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Left Field: Platoon in favor of Trayce Thompson

Left field, for the most part, was ultimately patrolled by Andrew Toles toward the end of the season, and rightfully so. In his 115 plate appearances he hit .314/.365/.505. He hit .364/.423/.455 in 26 postseason plate appearances. So yes, he definitely impressed. However, there is a legit reason to worry whether or not he will be as effective as he was last season.

First, he is a defensive liability. He may be athletic and have a solid arm, but his route-running, reads and even catching ability have been in question at times. More important, however, is the fact that he had a .385 BABIP while swinging at an above-average 38.7 percent of balls thrown outside of the strike zone. Both numbers are scarily high and show that he is headed for a large regression. Combined with the fact that he has only 115 plate appearances, and the worrying is warranted. Hopefully I’m wrong but chances are he won’t be the same.

Thus enter Trayce Thompson. He is dealing with recovery from a back injury at the moment so his return is unknown. For the most part, he impressed in the 80 games he played. His slash line isn’t pretty but the fact that he played through a back injury may explain why his numbers dipped right before his season ended. However, in his 262 plate-appearances he did hit 13 home runs with 11 doubles. He won’t hit for a high average, but he will offer good power and terrific athleticism on defense.

It’s no secret that the Dodgers struggled against southpaws last season, so Thompson (when healthy) will be a key player. He should be given more reps, as his bat will be more valuable than Toles’s. Thompson needs to continue to improve and be an important right-handed bat in a lefty-dominated lineup. In May of 2016, he played in 21 games and hit .270/.353/.603 to go along with six home runs. So yes, he has some talent, and that talent should be given a larger role.