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Why Are the Dodgers Being So Stubborn with Trayce Thompson?

The season has not gone well for the Dodgers and Trayce Thompson. Yes, that’s a bit of an understatement. The veteran outfielder is on the roster to be a lefty masher, but there’s one problem with that… he can’t really hit left-handed pitching. Like, at all. And it’s actually been that way for pretty much his entire career, as his .196/.277/.404 lifetime slash line will tell you.

However, he’s actually crushed right-handed pitching since returning to the Dodgers last season.

  • 2022 vs RHP .308/.409/.602/1.010
    2022 vs LHP .174/.260/.361/.621
  • 2023 vs RHP .217/.333/.609/.942
  • 2023 vs LHP .065/.237/.161/.398

Combined he’s hit .295 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 156 at-bats vs right-handers since rejoining LA.

Amid an 0-25 stretch, and just having just one hit in his last 35 at-bats and 17 games, things have reached their lowest point for Thompson. But, the Dodgers continue sending him out there in a position to fail and send him deeper into a bad place mentally. He opened up recently about his headspace.

“I’ve had days where I’ve been in a dark place the last month or so.”

Via Bill Plunkett, OC Register

“There’s some pressure that I think he’s adding to himself, Dave Roberts said this week. “Understanding his role on the team and his value and not realizing it, I think, is frustrating for him. Maybe there’s a little bit of caring too much. That’s just who he is. But I think at times when you’re hitting and you care too much, that can be detrimental. … I think that’s natural. You can talk about it and understand and process it. But once you get in the batter’s box, there’s that extra anxiety and wanting to prove yourself. He’s had a very unique path. He’s a favorite with all his teammates. But I do think there’s an amount of pressure, stress that he’s adding to himself. I do.”


So why are the Dodgers Being so Stubborn with Trayce?

I don’t have an answer for this, it’s an honest question for everyone — including anyone with the Dodgers that might be reading. Trayce is struggling. He’s being open about his struggles weighing on him mentally. Your own manager Dave Roberts acknowledges that the outfielder is in a bad place mentally and that a few base knocks might help his confidence. Then he’s put back in a position to fail.

For a team that prides itself on analytics, the Dodgers are playing blind with Trayce Thompson’s stats. (Hat tip to Houston Mitchell.)

If the Dodgers’ plan is to keep Thompson on the roster, then they need to adjust his role to what he can do, not what they want him to do. He needs more at-bats against right-handed pitchers. He needs to get a few hits under his belt over a few games to regain the confidence… to regain any confidence in himself.

The problem with that is that Jason Heyward, David Peralta, and James Outman have cemented roles in the outfield against right-handed starting pitchers. So, for Trayce it’s past the point of cracking the lineup with regularity.

At this point, the Dodgers are being more detrimental to Thompson’s career. And it just doesn’t make sense why a team with the analytics department this club has continues to be ok with how they’re using him.

Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor and manager of, and a host and analyst on DN's Blue Heaven podcast live stream. Since joining Dodgers Nation, Clint has helped grow the site into a top-50 baseball website in the world. He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future. He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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