The Dodgers are about to enter 2023 with very few options in the outfield. They have Mookie Betts in right field, and he’s not going anywhere for a very long time. Then there’s Chris Taylor, who should play all over the diamond in 2023 — but the Dodgers will be hoping for somewhat of a bounce back season from him. And after that, there’s not much.
There are the young guys — James Outman and maybe even Miguel Vargas — and then there’s Trayce Thompson.
Thompson stormed onto the scene in 2022, and at one point was one of the better clutch hitters on the team. He finished last season in LA with 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and a .268 average, but struggled in the postseason, going just two for 13 with two walks.
The Dodgers are entering next season with a lot more space in the outfield, which could mean a much bigger role for Thompson. Dave Roberts had this to say about his breakout 2022 outfielder:
“Trayce is a high character guy, tremendous athlete. Earned his way back on the radar as a big league ball player,” Roberts said. “Expect more big things out of him. I think the easy one is he was considerably better versus right this year. I think that’s something that I don’t think anyone saw happening. But I think that’s something that’s going to be front of mind for him this winter.”
Regarding his potential role, Roberts expects to move him around quite a bit in the outfield.
“Just saw him recently,” Roberts said. “Looks great. He’s focused. He’s ready, which is no surprise. And expect him to kind of play all three next year.”
Last year, Thompson split his time between right, left and center field. The Dodgers have a huge need in center field with the loss of Cody Bellinger, but it does sound like Thompson will continue to move around, and provide depth all over the outfield.
The Dodgers need Thompson to be just as good as he was last regular season, if not better. As of right now, they’re very thin in the outfield. While that can still change, they clearly expect big things out of him in 2023.
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