The Bell Toles for Andrew

Andrew Toles has a great story – out of baseball, stocking groceries and back to baseball.  From the outhouse to the penthouse and even after that he has endured even more adversity in the form of injury. However, he apparently is healthy and ready to contribute.  I am going to make the case that he can contribute to the Dodgers success in the biggest way by playing CF and leading off… everyday. Yes, he hits right-handers better, but he has been given little opportunity against LH pitching. In a small sampling, he has a .351 OB% against RHP and .250 against LH pitching.  He deserves a shot.  He has the speed to leadoff and help manufacture runs and he also has the speed to play CF.

The fact of the matter is that he has only played CF 15 times in the majors. He has also started 16 games as the leadoff hitter. So, it’s not like he hasn’t played there. FAZ likes the long ball and, while not a slugger, Toles can hit the ball out of the park with power.  Part of the Dodgers problems this year have been the inability to hit with RISP.  It’s because they have too many “all-or-nothing” players like Joc, Cody, Yasmani, CT3 and Kike.  They can make the chicks dig them with the long ball, but they move air liken a giant fan with their whiffs.

Playing Toles in CF and Verdugo is RF would help the “all-or-nothing” mentality.  Since Puig is injured, I would play Alex in RF and Andrew in CF – the solution to the Dodgers problems could be right under their nose. Alex went 2-4 and scored 3 runs last night for OKC and is hitting .350 with a .916 OPS.  I think both players are ready and they are both different types of hitters than the Dodgers normally play.  Adding some guys with On Base Skills surely can’t hurt… and they don’t require a trade.

The bullpen is getting better…. and better, and while you never have enough arms, the bullpen could be fine with internal fixes (Ryu, Urias, et al). The Dodgers team ERA is now #1 in the National League and will soon be #2 in MLB behind the Astros. The Dodger starters are #2 in baseball… only thye Astros are better.  Yes, the pen is getting better, but another good arm would not hurt.

It should not be lost on anyone that the 2018 Dodgers are the fastest team since 1955 to go from 10 games under .500 to 10 games over .500.

 

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 80 Comments

  1. With Floro, Ferguson, Alexander looking good and a healthy Cingrani, Ryu, Urias on the horizon I can certainly see the Dodgers adding Zach Britton and Manny Machado. The Dodgers offense needs another bat and Machado could be the “straw that stirs the drink.”

    Make it so FAZ!!

  2. Shout out to Chase Utley… It seemed only a couple years ago, that I would run over to Long Beach Poly HS and watch him and his team play… I had really hoped he would go over to the Long Beach State Dirtbags program so he’d be closer to my home…
    Chase plays today like he played at Poly and that was with hustle and grit… He’ll make a fine coach if he wishes after a little stay at home parenting..

    1. Don’t forget Willie Mays, Henry Aaron and Roberto Clemente. Now they were baseball.

  3. Top five surprises of 2018:

    1. Muncy
    2. Stripling
    3. Kemp
    4. Ferguson
    5. No name bullpen

    1. Muncy is my choice for 1st half team MVP followed by Kemp and Stripling. Surprise: Muncy leads the team in hitting vs LHP

  4. We need a professional hitter in the middle of this lineup. JT was it but I’m not sure he’s totally healthy. Seager was it but he’s out. Taylor strikes out too much. Cody strikes out too much. Joc strikes out too much. Grandal strikes out too much. Manny would definitely fit that bill, although there’d be a lot of shuffling happening upon his arrival.

    I’d love be a fly on the wall in the war room, and see which position/which player our guys feel is the biggest need. Bullpen 8th inning guy? Ace? Middle of the order bat? Or another Granderson/Jim Johnson/Bud Norris type?

    1. Please no Johnson/Granderson/Norris type. Go big or go go home….Mannywood Part Two on its way to LA.

    2. Dodgers are guaranteed to bring in a reliever or two. I’m guessing they won’t be names I am familiar with. We’ve been doing it all year. I also think they are determined to bring an infield bat especially with turners health questionable. Machado, dozier. ?

  5. Do you give up a ton of prospects for Manny minus Seager and a bum Turner, or sign him in the offseason with a healthy Seager and Turner, with the prospects?

  6. I think both Verdugo and Toles could help this team a lot.

    But I think Verdugo has better bat to ball skills then Toles does, although Toles doesn’t strike out at a high rate either.

    But I think Toles is to good, when runners are in scoring position, and especially with two outs, to be a lead off hitter, although he has proved he could lead off.

    And I don’t think Verdugo is quite as good, when runners are in scoring position, so he might be a better lead off hitter.

    But I don’t expect Puig to be out that long, so I don’t see this happening at this point, especially with the Allstar break, right around the corner.

    I think Puig is doing everything he can right now to get healthy, because it looked like he was just beginning to have a better strategy, and a better batting stance, to help him hit lefties, more effectively.

    So I imagine he is very frustrated and because of that, he is probably sticking to his program, so that he can get back on the field, as quickly as he can.

  7. Answers to some of Mark’s comments.
    1 Electronic Balls and Strikes. The umpire behind home plate calls everything else.
    2 The DH is Uniform Throughout All of Baseball, yes.
    3 Shifts are Banned, yes. Pitchers have enough advantage they don’t need more.
    4 Verdugo in RF and Toles in CF, ( and they play every day) something the Dodgers need to do now.
    Two more
    1 One pitching change per inning should help the offense.
    2 Let’s have a pinch runner for a hitter already on base, but the hitter remains in the game and if his team batted around and he is due up again, he hits. the pinch runner can be used again. Each team will have up to 3 chances per game to use this rule. Also, the pinch runner or pinch runners can also be used as a pinch hitter but at that time they either go into the game or they are out for the remainder of the game. Pitchers don’t hit but they stay in the game until they are pulled, the same can apply to base runners.

    1. I don’t like the pinch runner concept. All the teams would go out and get a track man with no baseball skills, teach him to run the bases, and it severely impact the game. No thanks,

  8. Damn it, you guys make me do this.
    .
    “Joc has all or nothing swing”. Really? you are living in the past. Get current with your observations.
    .
    “Joc strikes out too much”. Really? Joc has the lowest K rate on the team at 15%. Taylor and Belli are 27% and 24%.
    .
    “Joc can’t hit WRISP” Really? Those stats were just posted in the last thread. Joc was 2nd to Kemp for a minimum of 50 opportunities with a line of .275 .361 .412 .772.
    .
    Joc’s slumps drive me crazy too but let’s not make up shit to support a take.

    1. The timing of today’s comments that would bench Joc are interesting. Joc drove in the winning run Thursday and his double setup the tying and winning runs Friday.

  9. I believe both drew Jackson and Dylan Bannon played 2b last night. That position is wide open for the future.

    1. Rylan stupid autocorrect. I’m a bit of an Omar estevez fan myself. Think he’s always been underrated.

      1. I agree with you on Estevez. Why he is not in the Dodgers top 30, I have no idea. He is still only 20. He played okay at RC last year and hit .256/.309/.348/.657, with 24 doubles and 4 HRs. This year very similar numbers with the exception of more power;
        .255/.307/.426/.733, with 22 doubles and 10 HRs already. He is striking out more, but that is the cost of getting more lift and power. He has only grounded into 2 DPs. He is not at the Gavin Lux or Rylan Bannon level, and it is unfair to compare him to Drew Jackson who is 4.5 years older and putting up comparable numbers at AA. I think Estevez has a very good utility player written all over him. He might be a 2B for another MLB team.
        .
        I also like Jacob Amaya and Ronny Brito who are at Ogden as middle infielders of the future. It is possible one or both will get a taste of Great Lakes this year, and maybe RC next year.
        .
        It appears that Andrew Sopko replaced Abdullah in the Dodgers top 30.

        1. Good stuff. I hadn’t checked that top 30 in a while and didnt realize gonsolin and Kremer were on there. I wonder if kasowski is far off.

          1. Relievers generally are not placed in the top 30 prospects. Pop and Kasowski are probably better prospects than some that are in the top 30, but relievers generally are ignored. When Gonsolin was a reliever, he was not in the top 30. The same is true with Kremer.

  10. The 3 positions that typically have players with the most speed are CF, 2nd base, and SS. Seager and Muncey are slower than average for their positions as is Joc when he is in CF. But, by all means, let’s ignore having speed at SS and 2nd and put a player in CF because he is faster.
    .
    This is coming from someone that likes speed. But still, geez. So, let’s play Joc over Kemp in LF because he is faster.

    1. Bum

      I didn’t say a thing about Joc, but a centerfielder has to cover more ground, then any position on the field, so speed in center, is far more important.

      And Corey may not be as fast as most shortstops, but he still covers a lot of ground, and his defensive metrics, support that.

      1. I know you didn’t MJ. It is nice to have speed everywhere. Joc looks like he is being slotted for LF long range. So I am not fighting that inevitability. Dale Murphy comes to mind as a CFer that didn’t have great speed. Willie Mays didn’t have Mantle speed. I was mostly objecting to Mark using only speed to support his player for CF.
        .
        Personally, I would love to see Toles thrive in CF and the same for Joc in LF. I used to love the thought of getting power in CF like in the days of Mantle, Mays, and the Duke. I just can’t get excited about Verdugo.

        1. Bum

          Speed is the only thing Joc lacks in center, because he does run good routes.

          And I think Toles will do better with more experience, but he won’t be perfect out there, because he hasn’t played enough baseball, in the last three years.

          But he did look better out there last year, the more he played there, after Joc went out.

          But Joc does go back on balls especially near the wall, better then both Kike, and Toles.

  11. I would love to have Scooter Gennett but from what I’ve read the Reds are not making him available unless completely blown away with an offer and we all know what that means. I’m perfectly ok with Muncy @ 2B as long as he keeps hitting. Even if we did get Gennett where would Muncy play?

  12. I don’t remember who but someone here said Gennett doesn’t hit LHP very well. In the two years he has been with the Reds and in 212 AB’s he is hitting .278. That would place him 3rd behind Muncy and Kemp this year.

  13. A starting pitcher pitches once every 5 games, maybe 33 if healthy all year. A position player plays most games, hopefully 145 or more. With Kershaw on the DL the last couple of years the Dodgers were okay, but with Seager out all year, that has been a near disaster for LAD. If it were not for Matt Kemp and Max Muncy, the team would be battling the Pads for last in the NL West. To make matters worse, JT has been hurt all year even when he is in the lineup. That is your #2 and #3 hitters out for most of the year, and they are 10 games over .500.
    .
    Yes, Doc overmanages on occasion, but between FAZ and Doc, LAD has put together a contending team without perhaps their two best hitters in the lineup for most of the year. I am already on record saying that the Dodgers should get a lockdown reliever. As eye opening as Dylan Floro has been thus far, he has not done it on a sustained basis. Outside of his family and friends, nobody is a bigger fan of Caleb Ferguson than me. But he is certainly untested under fire in September. Kenley is looking more mortal than immortal this year. Billy Beane says the A’s will be buyers this year, so Treinen is out. That leaves Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenrider, as the two I would target, with Kirby Yates, Jared Hughes and David Hernandez a distant Plan B, and Shane Greene an even more distant Plan C. Raisel Iglesias will cost way too much, and is not as effective as Barraclough or Steckenrider. Nether Steckenrider (15 G, 13.1 IP) or Barraclough (11 G, 11 IP) have allowed a run against any other team in the NL West. In fact Barraclough has not allowed a hit against the other 4 teams. An interesting point is that Steckenrider has only allowed a run against 3 teams; Braves (10), Brewers (5), and LAD (1). Keep him away form the Braves and Brewers he has been lights out. Unfortunately the Dodgers will be playing both teams in the 2nd half and may meet them in the playoffs.
    .
    But it will probably be someone akin to Adam Conley who was okay in a much more limited role against SF, SD, and Rox, but not as good against the DBacks. FAZ will put more faith in Baez, Cingrani, and Fields than the others, even with the injuries. And we know Doc loves Baez.
    .
    Offensively, the Dodgers are hurting without Seager and a healthy JT. Puig’s numbers are dramatically better as the #8 hitter. It is not even close. RISP – The only batter with a BA greater than .275 is Kemp (.441). Joc and Yasmani are next at .275, Muncy at .262, CT3 at .260, and Kike’ at .255. The rest are Puig (.242), JT (.226), Forsythe (.212), Belli (.172), and Barnes (.125).
    .
    Compare that to the 5 middle infielders that have been linked to LAD.
    .
    Machado – .352/.443/.563/1.007
    Jose Iglesias – .315/.350/.411/.761
    Eduardo Escobar – .356/.422/.678/1.100
    Asdrubal Cabrera – .277/.347/.477/.824
    Brian Dozier – .217/.280/.361/.641 – No thank you very much.
    .
    Any of the 1st three will be a big difference in the lineup. Iglesias’ glove alone also would help quite a bit. But I would prefer Machado at the right price.
    .
    The Dodgers need a bat in the #3 slot other than JT, and that is Machado. That will also help the rest of the lineup. Escobar usually bats #4 for the Twins, but Iglesias is down in the #7 slot.
    .
    As much improved as Joc has been, he still should not start with a LHSP. Against LHP – .118/.139/.176/.315. And Barnes should play over Grandal against LHP.
    Grandal – .210/.324/.306/.631 — Barnes – .257/.353/.324/.677.
    If you do not use the numbers, why keep them.
    .
    I think the Dodgers would be favored to get to the WS with Machado and Barraclough. I am not as confident with Forsythe at 2B and Floro as the 8th inning setup. But what will be the cost?

  14. Gennett is from Cincinnati and the locals would revolt if they traded him.

    He is good, but his BAIP is unsustainable. He will regress, but he’s still solid.

  15. Let me ask a question and I really don’t know the answer:

    Is Muncy that bad at 2B?

    What I have seen, does not convince me he is a horrid 2B?

    1. Mark: I don’t think he is and with practice he will get better. A small sample to be sure but at OKC last year he handled 34 chances flawlessly. I have no idea how good his range is howver.

  16. Mark I agree Muncy is ok for us at 2nd base,after all we can’t have all stars at every position.

  17. If healthy, is this a lineup that could work?

    1. Toles CF (L)
    2. Muncy 2B (L, but hits LH pitching)
    3. Kemp LF (R)
    4. Bellinger 1B (L)
    5. Turner 3B (protection behind Bellinger) (R)
    6. Verdugo RF (L)
    7. Taylor SS (R)
    8. Grandal/Barnes C – (L/R)

    I like that balanced lineup.

    Trade Joc (his value is good right about now) and a couple of prospects for the relief pitcher needed.

      1. If it is about this year I would switch Toles with Verdugo and what happens with Puig? Is he traded, a bench player, or traded and to who for what?

        1. Toles is fast but doesn’t take many walks. Hence his OBP is not where it should be for a leadoff hitter.

          1. Richie

            I agree with you about Toles having better, at bats.

            He needs to be a little more patient at times, so I hope he watches Muncy.

            But he also goes after the first few pitches more, because those might be the best pitches, he gets.

            And the first few pitches, are probably the best pitches, most hitters get.

            But when a pitcher is having trouble with his command, he has to be more patient.

    1. You are relying on a 22 year old rookie in right and a quality but untested CF. Bellinger has been horrible with RISP so he should not be batting #4. He misses a Seager and healthy JT in the lineup. There is not one batter other than Kemp with a decent RISP average. That extra bat has to come from somewhere. I am not as confident as you that it will be Verdugo and Toles in the clutch of a pennant race. I hope you are right and I am wrong. The NL is wide open, and if the Dodgers make the right moves at the deadline, the NL could/should be theirs.
      .
      If Joc can bring back a top reliever, I am okay with trading him. If not, I would have zero problem having Joc go up against RHP. Other than Kemp and Grandal, nobody has been better WRISP than Joc. The team as a whole (outside of Kemp) is pathetic with 2 outs and RISP. I prefer a clutch middle of the order bat.
      .
      2 outs RISP –
      Machado – .323/.432/.581/1.013
      Iglesias – .344/.417/.438/.854
      Escobar – .289/.373/.533/.906
      .
      Only Kemp (.333/.455/.481/.936) and Grandal (.242/306/.545/.851) are close. And Grandal is only close with OPS.

        1. Why? oh, it’s because Doc got hammered last night in Redondo Beach and made the lineup while hungover. (can’t think of any other explanation)

  18. I prefer to have a defensive catcher that hits okay but not so good that he is a 3, 4, or 5 spot. They get beat up and tired.
    .
    If the Dodgers traded for Machado, Turner returns to the lineup, and Muncey stays at second, then stats suggest that Joc and Taylor would platoon in RF and Puig and Hernandes would platoon in RF. Puig, Kemp, Toles, Pederson, Taylor, Hernandez would all have to stay relevant by being one big platoon.

  19. Bums,

    I would like the fastest player on the team to be the CF.

    Speed kills!

    The routes will come.

  20. Anybody care to explain why DR took Muncy (our leading hitter vs LHP) out of the 2nd slot and replaced him with Kike who is hittting ONE HUNDRED POINTS LOWER. So Kike Ks on three pitches the last one looking.

  21. Logan Forsythe taking his prep work seriously for being this years mike davis in the playoffs. No bat at all.

  22. 7th inning again, may e patchwork bullpen not going to work. How about the FO get off their arses and make a move, needed!!!

  23. Dodgers get 2 on in the 8th with 1 out and don’t score.

    Taylor K’s again with RISP.

    It’s sad.

  24. ….and CT3 did hit a HR to tie the game at 3-3 but good gawd he K’d on a pitch in the middle of the LH batters box with Grandal at 2B. Hit the freaking ball to the right side and get him to 3B. All this talk about what to do with CT3 if Machado is acquired, but really who cares just get Manny and sort it out.

  25. I never have agreed more, Jansen is not right and this patchwork bullpen will not lead us anywhere in the second half. I understand the organizational philosophy about going all in but there is a lot of Up and coming teams in the NL and this year’s opportunity may not come again. Nl is for the taking.

    Was woodard or toles asleep on that play or both?

    Also playing with 24 today hurt

  26. Terrible baserunning by Toles, but that’s not what bothers me about him. I still believe that he has a hole with the low and in breaking ball. However, after watching him today, I am beginning to wonder if breaking balls in general are a problem for him. No doubt that he can hit the fastball (the double was off a fastball). Beyond that I’m not so sure. In fact, if Verdugo is not included in a deal for Machado, or any other deal, then he should be called up to replace Toles.

    I think I mentioned this in a previous post. Kenley Jansen is no longer dominant. Strikeouts are way down from previous years. Hitters are making contact against him at an increasing rate, and sometimes, like tonight, it’s hard contact.

    1. …and KJ’s control has also become quite inconsistent. He seldom has a clean inning and is generally pitching from behind in the count.

    2. Brooklyn

      He had a bad game, and bottom line, you already had it in for him

      He has started four games, and he has had a hit in three of those four games.

      And he has hit in important runs, in two of those four games too.

      He hit in more runs in his first game then Verdugo did, the entire time he was up.

      And he was hitting as well as Verdugo was down at AAA, and unlike Verdugo, he doesn’t know all the pitchers in that league.

      And the first time this team faced Heaney last weekend, most of the team, looked like Toles did, in his first two at bats, today.

      And he was the only one in this line up today, that didn’t see Heaney last weekend.

  27. I’ve noticed the control problem as well. I wonder if the control problem is the result of Kenley losing confidence in his stuff, leading him to be more tentative about throwing strikes. Might be nibbling more.

  28. MJ, let’s not get emotional. I do not have it in for Toles, and today’s observations have nothing to do with Toles’ performance today.

    I don’t know exactly when I posted it, but I previously made a similar observation of Toles’’ problem with low and in breaking balls.

    Just because someone says something negative about a player you like doesn’t mean that they have something in for that player. It’s just a different opinion, something we’re all entitled to.

    And if you have a lesser opinion of Verdugo than I do, then that’s your prerogative. Sometimes people have to just agree to disagree.

    1. Brooklyn

      I don’t have a lesser opinion of Verdugo, I just think it is harsh to judge a player on four starts.

      Especially if that player was doing the same thing Verdugo was doing at AAA.

      I have seen a lot of players on this team look bad, when they are pitched three curves or off speed pitches, in a row.

      It is how a player adjusts after that.

      You sound more emotional then I do, after judging a player on four starts, especially if that player has only had one bad game.

      And with the fact that most of these players on this team, looked just as bad, when they faced this same pitcher last weekend.

  29. MJ, this is not over 4 games, it’s a long term opinion I’ve held. But believe what you want, it’s your prerogative.

  30. I didn’t watch last night’s game but I did check in every once in awhile on Gameday. I noticed Jansen never reached 91 MPH last night.
    .
    Also in reviewing highlights this morning it is clear that if it were not for Upton’s poor defense, the Dodgers would not have had a chance to win last night. Upton should have caught both Grandal’s and Toles doubles.

  31. Brooklyn and MJ – What happened to giving Toles (could have been Verdugo) 30 games out of the gate vs. lefty or righty??? Until that happens we won’t know squat IMO…
    Did you see the Silver Fox shred those bases!??!
    No to the DH – Let mgr’s manage… Don’t ban the shift – Teach/Learn to bunt… I can’t recall it being that difficult and you could walk to 1B like Harper!!

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