Trayce Thompson enters the 2023 season in a very interesting position. For the first time in his career, it feels like he has some stability in his spot. He knows he’s going to be on the Dodgers Opening Day roster, and will get playing time in the outfield. However, he struggled to end the 2022 season, and hasn’t looked so great early in spring — although he has played really well for Team Great Britain in the World Baseball Classic.
Before he left for the WBC, our very own Doug McKain of Dodgers Nation caught up with Thompson at Dodgers spring training. You can watch the full interview with this link, but here’s an interesting comment Thompson said about letting his play do the talking:
“I know I can hit righties, and I know should’ve hit lefties better,” Thompson said. “It just comes down to proving it. I can say so many things but I just have to go out there and do it and go out and try and have quality at-bats every day.”
Last year, Thompson had very interesting reverse splits. He hit righties well, hitting .308 with 10 home runs, 30 RBIs and an incredible OPS of 1.010. However, against lefties, Thompson hit just .174 with three home runs, 11 RBIs and an OPS of just .621.
Thompson was brought in to hit lefties, but for some reason, just wasn’t able to. But his impressive play against righties kept him on the roster throughout the year and even in the postseason.
This season, though, the Dodgers have more than enough lefties in the outfield with David Peralta, Jason Heyward and (hopefully) James Outman. So while it would be nice for Thompson to continue hitting righties well, the Dodgers really need him to hit lefties. Because if he can’t, he’ll likely very quickly lose his playing time.
While Thompson does have stability going into the year, I do think he’s going to be on quite the short leash. Dave Roberts comments this spring already made it sound like Thompson is going to have to compete for playing time, so if he doesn’t figure things out quickly, he could be in trouble.
Hopefully, he’s able to start hitting lefties this season, because the Dodgers could use a solid right-handed outfielder, especially if Chris Taylor struggles early.
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