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My Positional Review – 3B

I do not understand this fascination of wanting to move players around, especially when they are successful, maybe super successful, at their current positions.

Mookie Betts played SS in high school.  Let’s take a poll and find out how many RH defensive position players played SS in high school.  He started primarily as a 2B in Boston’s farm system.  However, because Boston wanted Mookie in the Boston lineup, and Dustin Pedroia was the firmly entrenched at 2B, Mookie was converted full time to RF:

Mookie’s MiLB Positions:

  • 2B – 1,992.2 innings
  • SS – 112.1 innings
  • CF – 387.0 innings
  • RF – 36.0 innings

The Dodgers prefer Mookie to be the RF.  They do like to get him on the dirt when they are playing on artificial turf.  In the 2nd half, he played more 2B because Vargas could not hold onto the position that was handed to him.

Mookie has played all of 98.0 innings at SS at the MLB level (all last year).  210 innings post high school.  Did very well.  But not better than Miguel Rojas.  Probably not better than Chris Taylor.  He is not going to be the everyday SS.  He is the everyday RF who will occasionally play 2B to get off the turf.  How much 2B will depend if AF signs a 2B or OF.

Bill Russell was 21 when he started the conversion to SS.  He was the full time SS at 23.  Russell was never considered a good defensive SS.  Competent?  Absolutely.  He never left his feet.

Jonny Deluca will be an older 25 year old next year (July 10 birthday), and has never played an inning in the infield, professionally or collegiately at Oregon.

A couple of scouting reports on Deluca.

FanGraphs

DeLuca left Oregon as a speed-first switch-hitter but has gotten stronger as a pro (he’s actually broken some of the equipment the Dodgers use to measure lower body strength) and is now more of a well-rounded, righty-hitting outfield prospect with a fair blend of contact and power, both of which are slightly undercut by his swing decisions. While he’s capable of playing all three outfield spots, DeLuca is a 40 in center field and his best fit is in right. He doesn’t have a corner regular’s tools, but he does enough stuff well to have obvious big league roster utility, pinch-hitting here, pinch-running there, representing a defensive upgrade once in a while and getting the occasional start against a left-hander. That’s a modern fifth outfielder. He was added to the 40-man after the season, and with Los Angeles’ outfield situation in flux, he’s likely to debut at some point in 2023.

 

Baseball America

 Scouting Report: DeLuca struggled as a switch-hitter at Oregon but has flourished offensively after the Dodgers made him hit righthanded only. He crushes lefthanded pitching with a strong, powerful swing and generates above-average power with his bulging, muscular forearms. He catches up to velocity, has above-average plate discipline and battles through at-bats. DeLuca is still getting used to seeing the ball from the right side against righthanded pitchers, but he crushes mistakes when they leave them over the plate. DeLuca is a plus runner and athlete in the outfield who can play all three positions. He has above-average arm strength that yielded seven outfield assists in 2022.

The Future: DeLuca projects to be a platoon or reserve outfielder who bashes lefties and plays all three outfield spots. He’ll begin 2023 back at Double-A Tulsa.

 

I cannot find where he was ever a top 30 prospect on MLB Pipeline.  He has been at the bottom of other prospect lists, and excluded on others as well.

Doesn’t it make more sense to let him develop his hitting acumen and leave him in a comfortable position defensively rather than throw something else at him at 25.  Fulltime infielders, Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch, are not considered viable 3B, but Deluca is?  Both are better hitters than Deluca at the MiLB level.

As the scouting reports indicate, Deluca is probably more inclined to be a reserve OF who can come off the bench and hit LHP, and come in defensively in any of the 3 OF positions.  There is nothing wrong with that.

The problem with him teaming up with Jason Heyward and platooning is that there are many more RHP than LHP.  But IMO, that makes more sense than moving Deluca to 3B.

Another one I continue to read is move Will Smith to 3B.  I do not understand the thought process of taking an All Star Catcher and moving him.  So Diego Cartaya or Dalton Rushing can take over the everyday catching chores? Cartaya cratered offensively last year at AA, and caught a CAREER HIGH 68 games. Cartaya sported a 29% K rate and his BB rate dropped from 14% to 9%.  I hope they can catch at the MLB level, but better than an All Star catcher? Neither are at the same level as Gabriel Moreno.

At least Smith has played 486.1 innings at 3B in MiLB.  But if the Dodgers believed he could be an everyday 3B then maybe he would have played more 3B.  The Dodgers had Keibert Ruiz in the system, and it would have been much more logical to make that move before Smith was an All-Star.

I understand and appreciate the frustration.  So 3B is where I am going to start my positional status review.

It would be great if either Miguel Vargas or Michael Busch could assume 3B.  Maybe this year will be different??? Busch has been my choice, but another LHH infielder?  Vargas has just as many supporters, but… Much has been written about both, so this exercise will highlight the other 3B prospects in the system.

The Dodgers do not have any legitimate prospects ready to adopt 3B at the MLB level.  The closest to MLB are:

  • 23 year old infielder from Venezuela, Jorbit Vivas. Vivas is another in the long line of utility infielders in the Dodgers system.  Jorbit is more of a 2B who can play 3B.  Vivas has been pushed a little because he was added to the 40 man after the 2021 season.  He has one option year remaining before he needs to stick to the MLB roster without being designated for assignment, beginning 2025.

 

  • 25 year old undrafted free agent Austin Gauthier. He is a contact first over power hitting infielder.  More of a LAD specialty as a utility player.  He could replace CT3 in a couple of years more than Muncy.  He played very well at Great Lakes and Tulsa last year.  He has more career BB than K.  His career slash line is .291/.433/.433/.866.  He is not a MLB 3B.  Gauthier has moved from undrafted in 2021 to the LAD #30 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.  I do see him as a MLB player, just not as a LAD 3B.  Utility player?

 

  • 26 year old former 1st round draft pick, Kody Hoese. Hoese has never played above AA, and has not hit well as an older player at that level.  Last year at Tulsa he slashed .244/.300/.390/.690.  He hit 11 HRs at a power position, one less than Gauthier.  His career metrics .237/.294/.355/.649. Career HR’s 24 and career doubles 38.  I cannot see Hoese as the LAD 3B, and I never did see it.

 

Next up:

 

  • 22 year old Kyle Nevin. 11th round pick in 2022 from Baylor (same as Muncy).  He started at Rancho but spent almost the entire year on the IL.  He was a good player when he did play.  In 209 PA, .312/.388/.473/.861 with 11 doubles and 5 HR.  Understanding that the Dodgers are slow to move players, Kyle will undoubtedly start 2024 at Rancho.

 

  • 22 year old Jake Gelof. 2nd round pick in 2023 from Virginia.  He is considered a more power oriented player than his brother Zack.  Zack got off to a better start in his professional career.  Jake was at Rancho for almost all of his 1st year in Pro Ball.  I hope the Dodgers push him, but he is already getting the scouting report that he is too slow for 3B and is better suited for 1B or the corner OF.  I look forward to see what BA and FanGraphs have to say about him this year.

 

  • 20 year old Rayne Doncon, IFA from San Pedro de Macoris, DR. This will be Doncon’s 4th year in the organization and his 3rd  He quickly moved past the much more heralded SS, Wilman Diaz, in the eyes of the scouts and LAD player development personnel.  However, he took a step back last year at RC, but he is still very young. No reason whatsoever to give up on him. He is included in the 3B review, but he is more of a 2B who can play 3B.  Sound familiar?  For 2023, with 473 PA,.215/.283/.368/.651.  For his career with 850 PA, .237/.305/.414/.719.  He is another in a long line of LAD utility players.

 

  • 20 year old, 6th round High School draft pick in 2022, Logan Wagner. He has been injured for most of his career, thus he has only 73 PA.  Tough to garner any thoughts on his MLB viability.  Hopefully he will reach Rancho this year, and we can see what he can do.

 

  • 18 year old Elias Medina. 2023 IFA from Bani, DR.  Medina played mostly 3B in the DSL and hit very well.  .313/.381/.553/.934.  It is hard to evaluate him on his DSL stats, but as I indicated in my DSL write up a few weeks back, he is someone I look forward to monitoring in 2024.  He was not very good defensively, but it was a very small sample size.

 

That is your LAD organizational 3B, or more likely, utility infielders.  There is more of the same at SS and 2B when I get to those positions.

 

 

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Singing the Blue

It would seem as though we should trade some of our extra minor league pitching for some excess infielder(s) from the Reds or Orioles, both of whom have an overabundance of infielders.

If you have the time and inclination, Jeff, maybe you could throw out a few names and resumes of some possibilities from those two teams.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue
Badger

Who was suggesting Deluca at third? Must have missed it. I did speak to a platoon with Heyward.

Smith to third because of his concussions. That’s legit.

I believe it was you who said Muncy wasn’t extended to trade him. If he isn’t traded, and he isn’t the DH, he’s the third baseman. Maybe one of those minor leaguers you mentioned will eventually step up, but it won’t be anytime soon.

If we don’t sign Ohtani then I’m hoping that Vargas steps in at third. If we don’t sign a left fielder (my choice is Gurriel) then maybe Busch steps in there. Frankly I don’t see both in the lineup.

We will likely go on repeating ourselves until we know if Ohtani is coming here. There’s with Ohtani and there’s without him. Two obviously different scenarios.

Singing the Blue

I believe Bums was the one who wanted to make DeLuca a third baseman so that he could…………………….wait for it…………………………trade Muncy.

Badger

I thought he wanted Witt to play third?

Bumsrap

Witt should stay at SS.

Badger

I was just pulling your lanyard Fred.

Bumsrap

Blue beat you to it.

Bumsrap

I’m just trying to find a third baseman and use payroll elsewhere.

Jeff

If we have to, Vargas 3B, Muncy 2B. Muncy is not good enough to play 3B.

Badger

I think the plan has Betts at second Jeff. Lux is the shortstop until he isn’t, Muncy at third unless he’s the DH or traded, Busch is in left field until…. so on and so forth. What I know for sure is Freeman is at first.

Dionysus

And Busch LF

Oldbear48

SC got their butt handed to them again, this time by Oregon. Good news is that they do not have to play them next year. What they had better do is get some beef for the defensive line before they change conferences next year. No Ron Cey types in the Dodger pipeline. The Dodgers might prefer Mookie in right, but I think you extend his effectiveness offensively by moving him to second PERMANENTLY. Less chance of a debilitating injury from crashing into that low wall out there or the big wall. Muncy is ok defensively. He had a lot of trouble at the beginning of the year but got better as the season progressed. They can find a decent right fielder, almost anywhere. Lane Thomas anyone? One of Busch or Vargas has to go in a trade.

Badger

For half a game SC is fun to watch. It would appear Lincoln Riley is an offensive coordinator and that’s it. Same thing happened in Oklahoma. He and SC need to evolve. I think it starts with a defensive line and a steady dose of tackling drills. I hated tackling drills. Everybody hates tackling drills. But they work.

Right field would be decent enough with Heyward and a RH platoon partner. Taylor maybe? I originally thought Deluca would make a good enough addition but I’ve been reading maybe he’s not. 26 in July. If we can’t use him it may be time to lose him. Trade him to the A’s for Luis Morales. He’s an A+ RHP. We like RHPs. You can never have too many RHPs.

Bumsrap

Given the breakup of the PAC 12, I am enjoying USC struggling as they head into their new pasture with their tail between their legs. Glad to see AZ ST beat UCLA as well.

Bumsrap

They are certainly not going to the Big 10 with any momentum.

Oldbear48

Depends, Fred. UCLA is beatable. Then they are an 8-win team so they will get a bowl game. They do have a scary offense. So whoever they get in a bowl game better have a very good defense and some offense as well. Beat UCLA, win a bowl game, that is a little momentum.

Dionysus

Oregon owns USC

Oldbear48

Only lately. Overall USC has beaten Oregon 38 times, lost 23 and there have been 2 ties. USC at one point beat Oregon 11 straight times. Oregon’s longest streak against the Trojans, 4. USC has the 8th best all-time record in college football. Oregon is 38th.

Bumsrap

If Muncy is again is going to play third then there is no need to convert a catcher or outfielder into a third baseman. But as Jeff has clearly explained, the Dodgers don’t have a good fielding third baseman in their system who can hit.

Muncy has trade value but another year of struggling to hit above the Mendoza line will eat away at his trade value as will his low grades as a devender at third.

The Dodgers need to trade for a third baseman or convert someone into a third baseman. DeLuca can be a fifth outfielder which offers little value to the Dodgers or he can go to third base school where he actually has an opening if he could make the conversion.

Some people are stuck in black or white thinking and or tend to want to say we tried than before and it didn’t work. The best thing that could happen to DeLuca’s career with the Dodgers would be if he could play third or some third. He could even platoon with Muncy.

2B Betts
1B Freeman
C Smith
DH Ohtani
3B Bichette
CF Outman
RF ?
SS Lux
LF Taylor

Badger

Batting average means little these days Fred. 36 home runs, 105 RBIs, .808 OPS. He’s a very affordable DH for a team that needs one. He would be ours if we found a third baseman. In a lineup that scored 900 and features All Stars and Hall of Famers HE would be the DH. That leaves a score of other teams (literary license) that he could help. For $12 million. For two years. In a short porch park, there are a number of them, he could hit 40. We sign Ohtani……. or he plays third for us.

Bumsrap

I agree that batting average is less of a meaningful stat but it isn’t meaningless. Waiting for the three run home run can be a long wait as evidenced in the playoff game with AZ.

There is a need to be able to drive in a run from second or third and batting average is an indicator of the ability to do that. Striking out and low BA and refusing to hit the ball where it is pitched is boring and weak.

Bumsrap

OBP with walks as the main ingredient instead of hits makes OPS less meaningful as well.

Badger

I first heard it Little League – “a walk’s as good as hit”. Except of course WRISP. But Muncy had 105 RBIs, so, he had more than his his share of WRISP hits.

Bobby

We were told Deluca should play 3b because he looks like Ron Cey. That’s good enough for me!

Also, Emmet Sheehan looks a lot like Jerry Reuss, so I propose he start throwing left handed from now on. That also should work.

Bumsrap

DeLuca looking like Cey is just a fun thing and not a should thing.

Bobby

I know, I’m messing with you. I also hope Joc comes back some day. He’ the only one that always showed up in Oct.

Dionysus

I never heard Deluca to 3B once, unless an ignore-worthy poster said it.

Bumsrap

I think Mookie wants to play second. He seemed more into the games when playing second. He wants to hit leadoff therefore he hits leadoff.

Badger

“go out and find a elite RF.”

Who you got in mind?



Bobby

Andy Pages, which if it were true, would be AMAZING for our franchise

Farhan Friedman

Perhaps a Glasnow/Arozarena trade package.

Dionysus

Teoscar on a short-term deal.

Dionysus

I feel like the 13 position players we could list now will be far different from the 13 we’ll start the year with.

Dionysus

Good stuff. Until we sign Ohtani, Muncy is the DH and 3b belongs to Busch or Vargas [Vargas has a clear shot at 2b assuming Lux will be playing SS].

If we sign Ohtani, Muncy can play 3b or shadow Busch/Vargas at 3b/2b.

A FA like Chapman is next in likelihood.

Long-term, my money’s on Gelof.

Dionysus

Ohtani
Imanaga
Teoscar
Paxton

Check and mate

Singing the Blue

First two, fine.
Last two, no thank you.

Singing the Blue

Brendan Donovan anybody?
Good hitter, plays all over the field. Will only be 27 next season. Lots of control remaining.
Lifetime OBP .381. Might be a little short on power but checks all the other boxes.
He’s a lefty hitter but his splits aren’t horrible.
We could play him in left or right or if Fred manages to trade Muncy he could play third base.

Trade Simulator says Sheehan plus Ferguson works.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue
Singing the Blue

The Simulator values Sheehan at around 20 and Stone around 13 so we’d have to include someone else in the deal.

Although I didn’t actually check, the values of Knack, Liranzo, Pepiot or Frasso would probably be acceptable. Take your pick. That’s assuming the Cards would even want Stone.

Oldbear48

Hernandez struck out 211 times last season. For those of you who gripe about Muncy’s K’s, he is worse. No thank you.

Dionysus

38bb/211k.

You may be right. That’s ugly.

Just for fun, CT3 was 41bb/125k.

Might as well hand him LF.

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