Dodgers Team News

Dodgers’ Glut of Outfielders Still Leaves Questions

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a glut of outfielders, plenty of people who you could count on in some capacity to give you production and innings out there while the team tries to win their first championship since 1988. However, do they really have that much depth in the outfield? Or is it a mirage?

As the team goes into the new season, it appears that Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig have their positions already guaranteed in center field and right field, respectively. That leaves plenty of other options out there for the team as far as left field is concerned, but even those options come with problems themselves.

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From Steve Dilbeck at the Los Angeles Times:

Every single one of those outfielders comes with some sort of question attached, the biggest being the ability of Puig and Crawford to remain healthy. Lots of options, little certainty.

There are definitely questions attached to all of them, as Dilbeck notes. Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford are definitely injury risks, Joc Pederson had a terrible second half of 2015, and Andre Ethier is going on 34 years old and can’t hit left-handed pitching. And those are just the well-known guys.

Scott Van Slyke watched his OPS drop by 200 points last season compared to 2014, Trayce Thompson is still a young player who also regressed towards the end of 2015 as he hit just .203 over his last 20 games, and Kike Hernandez is a bit of a wild card that only played 76 games last year.

The team has a ton of outfielders, but very little answers to the questions:

Any combination of these seven could receive plenty of playing time, depending on the health and production of the others. Ethier, Crawford and Pederson bat left-handed; the others hit from the right side. There could be platoons galore, impacting the lineup on a daily basis.

As the season gets underway on April 4th, we still don’t know who the starting left fielder will be. The team definitely has the depth to survive a down season here or there from outfielders, but they can’t afford multiple players out there struggling or getting injured. It’s still a volatile situation that’ll be interesting to watch in Spring Training.

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  1. To me, this is the biggest question on the 2016 Dodgers.  At least with the bullpen we can count on Kenley Jansen.  If Hatcher is used properly he too can probably be counted on.  But the OF, there is not one player who you can say will be solid 162 games.  IF Puig remains healthy and hungry (for competition), he could be the All-Star he was a couple years back. IF Pederson can learn bat control and less bat speed, he might be a daily productive hitter with decent power.  Ethier and SVS/Kike’/Thompson could be a very good platoon in LF.  Even CC can be a contributor if he remains healthy.  I would like to see more OFs coming through than just Ethier did last year. The Dodger OF is capable, but will they be?  This will be a story line worth watching through ST and into the season.

  2. AlwaysCompete Let us remember that every player on our roster,and any roster in baseball is one play away from being injured. As great as Kemp was, could anyone see him hustling to the wall trying to make a catch, and disabling his arm. It’s  part of the game. Since we were talking about him, just ask Sandy Koufax.

  3. Personally I do not consider Kike an OF. I consider him a super utility guy who’s best position is anywhere in the infield. Guererro is listed as an OF too, and he simply is a man without a true position. So the real question is who get most of the time in LF. Ethier, based on last year is the best option at this point, but since they are paying Crawford such a huge sum, he will, if not injured see time too. SVS coming back from an injury plagued season is the best RH option. If Puig needs a day off, Ethier is the obvious choice to play RF. I think they open the season with 5 because of Kike being able to play there. The 5…….SVS, Ethier( if not traded) Crawford (if healthy) Puig, and Pederson. They will try very hard to trade Guererro, Thompson will open at AAA.

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