As spring training ambles along, more and more storylines are written for the Dodgers. Whether it’s the sect of LA pitchers embracing Driveline Baseball learnings, or former top prospects attempting a comeback only to be released, narratives come and go in spring training as things get worked.
Now in the case of utility man Matt Beaty, his storyline is adding to his value as he attempts to secure a roster spot for 2020. And that value will come at the hot corner.
#Dodgers Report: Clayton Kershaw touched 93 mph with his fastball, an encouraging sign for a LHP who has struggled to regain velocity while dealing with lower-back and shoulder injuries in recent years; Matt Beaty could solidify bench spot with 3B play. https://t.co/PcvZpIKxhW
— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) February 29, 2020
On Saturday, Beaty made his fourth start of the spring at third base. By comparison, he started 7 times at 3B in 99 games during his rookie 2019 season. Moreover, he’s picked up 150 starts at third in the minor leagues over his pro career, but most of those came before 2018.
Still, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has made it clear that the 26-year-old’s best path to playing time is backing up Justin Turner at third. Here’s what Roberts told the LA Times.
When we give JT a day off, it makes sense to be able to play Beaty there. And if you look at our roster, [we’d like] to be able to keep Max [Muncy] on the right side of the diamond.
Enter to Win a Justin Turner Signed Bat!
In 3 starts prior to Saturday, Beaty has played a clean 3B, converting 6 chances in 14 innings on the field. And with that small sample size, Doc was happy so far.
He looks really good over there. For me, the ball goes in the glove and it looks comfortable. For him, it’s like riding a bike. It just makes him more valuable and gives us more options.
Like riding a bike.
As Mike DiGiovanna notes in his article, third base was Beaty’s primary position in college. Importantly, the Dodgers lack a clear heir apparent at third base, something addressed on a recent episode of the Blue Heaven Podcast…
… but beyond starters for the future, there’s a lack of quality depth at the hot corner for this season.
Enrique Hernandez and Chris Taylor have experience there, but they’re middle infielders at heart. Max Muncy has played the position often but has been vocal about how much he dislikes it. If Matt Beaty can make himself into a serviceable major league third baseman, his path to playing time gets clearer for the upcoming season.
Spring training storylines at their finest!