One of the perceived holes for the 2023 Dodgers is CF and LF. The Dodgers have 6 OF on the 40 man roster:
- Mookie Betts
- Chris Taylor
- Trayce Thompson
- James Outman (LAD #13 prospect)
- Andy Pages (LAD #5 and MLB #66 prospect)
- Jonny DeLuca
Mookie is a bonafide perennial All Star. CT3 is at his best when he is a true utility player. Thompson and Outman are probably more accurately considered as #4 OF. Pages and DeLuca are probably not considered as possible OF in the 2023 season with the MLB team.
Of course the Dodgers can take a couple of infielders with questionable defensive skills and stick them in LF because of their potential bats – Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch.
How did the Dodgers get here? The Dodgers have had 8 drafts in the AF era. Here are the drafted OF in the first 10 rounds:
- 2015 – Mitchell Hansen (2), Logan Landon (10).
- 2016 – DJ Peters (4), Luke Raley (7).
- 2017 – Jeren Kendall (1), Zach Reks (10).
- 2018 – James Outman (7), Josh McLain (9).
- 2019 – Ryan Ward (8)
- 2020 – Jake Vogel (3)
- 2021 – Damon Keith (18) – Not a top 10, but only drafted OF
- 2022 – Nick Biddison (4)
- Mitchell Hansen and Logan Landon are out of baseball.
- DJ Peters is no longer affiliated with a MLB team. Technically he is a FA, and will probably sign a MiLB contract with some team.
- Luke Raley is a AAAA OF with the Nationals
- Jeren Kendall has seemingly stalled out at AA, while he has never truly been considered anything more than a defensive CF.
- Zach Reks is now in Korea.
- James Outman is in line to earn a spot on the opening day 26-man roster. Whether he does or not, or what role he’ll play, depends on how he plays in ST.
- Josh McLain retired after the 2019 season.
- Ryan Ward just completed his season in AA and is available in the Rule 5 draft. If he remains in the LAD system, he will be a 25 year old OF at OKC next season. He is #30 on the MLB Pipeline LAD Top Prospects list.
- Jake Vogel is a 21 year old CF with excellent defensive skills and questionable hit skills. Remind you of some other high LAD pick? He should move to AA next year. I think he could still be considered a defensive specialist at the MLB level. Will he hit????
- Damon Keith will be a 23 year old OF who should return to High A where he got a late season promotion.
- Nick Biddison is a 22 year old who put up okay numbers at low A.
That is 11 OF draft picks in the top 10 rounds over the last 8 years. The International Free Agent signings have been equally unproductive. Yusniel Diaz, Starling Heredia, Christopher Arias, Carlos Rincon, Luis Rodriguez…Only Andy Pages remains a true prospect. I have been critical of those who write about how good the Dodger prospects are without ever seeing them play.
I remember a couple years back when I was soundly criticized because I was critical of Luis Rodriguez. The person doing the criticizing had never seen him play and was so knowledgeable of his talents that he called him JRod. Rodriguez has fallen out of the LAD top 30 prospects quicker than Jeren Kendall. He is still in the LAD organization, and can still develop. While Luis is no longer considered a top prospect, he should move to High A as a 20 year old.
Pages is the only LAD OF listed in the top 100 prospects. He is the 16th rated OF. There are 23 other OF in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100. It appears somewhat evident that the Dodgers are bereft of quality OF prospects, and with only 1 star at the MLB level, they are going to need to sign one or rely on a bevy of 4th OFers to fill out the lineup.
I thought Outman would be the CF and Thompson as the LF. Bums thought that Thompson would be the CF and Outman would be the LF. Regardless, neither Outman nor Thompson are probably the answer for LAD CF. It may be an economical option, but is it a top MLB OF? Probably not. Then again, with the dearth of plus OFers in MLB, they very well could become one.
It is difficult to develop a top OF when the team has floundered when selecting OF in the draft or international market. That is why I have been outspoken in wanting AF/BG to package a few of the 82 RHP with 45+ FV to try and get a good OF. In the meantime, it is time to get comfortable with Mookie, Trayce Thompson, James Outman, and CT3 as the LAD OF on the 26 man roster for 2023.
Seems logical to trade some of our excellent supply of pitching for an outfielder.
Maybe that’s been the plan all along. Stockpile pitching and catching and then, when appropriate, move some of those youngsters for position players.
Somewhere out there is another Sheldon Neuse, just waiting to put on Dodger Blue. Well, maybe we could aim a little higher.
In order to aim higher than Sheldon Neuse, they would have to risk losing more than Adam Kolarek.
In 2021, as 21 year old in AAA, Jarred Kelenic batted .320/.392/.624/1.016 and got called up. Did not go well. He started with the Mariners in 2022, again did not do well, and was optioned back to AAA. As a 22 year old in AAA, he batted .296/.366/.557/.922. In 1,288 PA he has a MiLB career strikeout rate of 20.6%. If Jarred put up those numbers with the Dodgers, most out there in the LAD blogosphere would be preparing a plaque for him at Cooperstown. Instead he is mired in a miserable quagmire with the Mariners.
Kelenic is snake bit in Seattle, and will probably never succeed there. He needs a change of scenery, and maybe LAD is a good place to land. While I do not swallow the hype that the Dodgers can develop anyone, that many out there believe, I do think the Dodgers are better equipped for development than is Seattle. He is two years younger than Gavin Lux, who did not break out until he was 24, which seems to be the age that many of the top prospects finally break out.
Another reason to bring up Lux’s name is because Kelenic is from Waukesha, WI, about 60 miles north of Kenosha, Lux’s home town. I am guessing that they know each other. They may have even played against each other in HS.
Kelenic can play CF, but like so many LAD OF prospects, he has an arm that is best suited for RF. There is no reason he could not transition to LF, which is where he would play for Seattle. Seattle has Julio Rodriguez for CF. Kelenic could play CF for LAD.
What would the Dodgers have to give up for Kelenic? Per the MLB Trade Simulator, Maddux Bruns, one for one for Kelenic would work. But MLB GMs/PBO do not consult the trade simulator when making those decisions. But it would be a chance for two questionable ML talents to make a change and see what happens.
Personally, I would rather take a chance on Kelenic than to be bogged down with an albatross contract for Christian Yelich.
I couldn’t have said it better, Jeff. I have also been doing a lot of thinking about Kelenic over the past 3-4 weeks and with all the outfielders DiPoto is stockpiling, I’ll bet AF could come up with a trade that would make both sides happy.
He could turn out to be one of those hot MiLB prospects that just flames out completely once he reaches MLB, but I’d definitely take a chance on him if they would settle for something reasonable.
I’ve had an eye for Kelenic as well although I prefer a righty bat.
Regarding Yelich, I was responding to those that said the Brewers wouldn’t make the Burns trade that included Yelich. It’s the Dodgers that wouldn’t make it. I prefaced my tongue-in-cheek “do it” with: if Yelich were healthy. He’s not.
And if they did get Yelich and Burns they would probably want to reduce payroll elsewhere, thus the Muncy and Taylor to Boston trade. It’s a chain reaction that lacks a viable trigger.
Why RH bat? They have Thompson, CT3, Mookie, Vargas as RH hitting OF. Only Outman is LH. How about Jorge Soler? The Marlins would gladly unload him. Randal Grichuk? The Rockies would actually take the call.
You cannot come back and say Mike Trout or Taylor Ward. LAA is not going to trade either one. You may be able to get Jo Adell from LAA.
Anthony Santander (Switch) or Austin Hayes from Baltimore?
Harrison Bader? A legit RH hitting CF. Ian Happ is a switch hitting LF.
I would prefer LH Andrew Benintendi for 4 years or LH professional hitter Michael Brantley for 1.
Righty bat because they struggle against lefties more than righties. Thompson hit better against righties.
A righty version of Kelenic would work.
Interesting post on Twitter says that AF says the Dodgers can fix Bellinger if he does re-sign with the team. Hmmm. Interesting, because if he did come back and have a stellar year, then he would just leave in free agency in 24.
Who said it?
They just need that 3rd year of fixing to make it happen.
Word just in that Bellinger has rejected 10 other offers to re-sign with the Dodgers because they have informed him they can fix him, something they apparently neglected to mention to him for the past two years.
(I don’t think I have to mention this, but for anyone who took that statement seriously, no he hasn’t re-signed with us)
But he will. Why? Because I read it here, “Word just in that Bellinger has rejected 10 other offers to re-sign with the Dodgers”, and I’m re-twitting it so it’s totally believable. Pass it on.
If you’re re-twitting what I said, that must make me a twit.
The message is a twit. I re-twitted the message. Pass it on.
Is Kelenic that much better than Outman and Pages?
Could Mookie play centerfield for a couple of years?
Is it possible to live with two 1+ WAR outfielders (Pages and Outman) and make up for it with one 5+ WAR SS (Bogaerts) and the best pitching in the league?
The Dodgers have been known for their pitching as long as I can remember. I’d like to not only keep it that way but make it even better.
As a MiLB player and as a prospect, yes, Kelenic is better than both Outman and Pages. Kelenic is 2 years 2 months younger than Outman, and 17 months older than Pages. Kelenic reach MLB as a 21 year old, Pages will reach AAA as a 22 year old (12/8/22 turns 22). Will Kelenic be a better MLB player? I have no idea. If the Dodgers believe they can “fix” Bellinger, then why not a much younger Kelenic?
Mookie can play CF, but is it worth the risk on his legs? He is a GG RF, I would keep him there.
Agree!! The Dodgers are known for their pitching, but it was two back end of the rotation starters they acquired as FA that saved them last year (Anderson and Heaney). And it was Max Scherzer in a trade the year before. The only constant for the last two years has been Urías. They are deeper in 2023 because May is back in the rotation, Pepiot and Grove have ML experience, and Miller and Stone are knocking on the door this year. Contrary to popular belief neither was ready last year.
Of their top 30 prospects, 12 are RHP and 2 are LHP. I think they will lose 1 RHP in the Rule 5 draft (Carlos Duran). So would you prefer to lose pitchers in the Rule 5 draft or let them die on the vine like Jeren Kendell and Kody Hoese? Or package a few to get the players you need? You cannot keep them all. I personally think Maddux Bruns is on the same trajectory as Kendall and Hoese (and all of those OF that did not produce). Landon Knack? Nick Nastrini?
I don’t care as much how old they are as I do how good they are. We have no clue how good our guys will be against ML pitching but could they be as worse as Kelenic? 500 at bats and he’s OPSn .589.
Hey, I offered Tulsa for a free agent last year, so clearly I’m willing to trade any of them. I figure with our ability to afford Free Agents we only have to promote one a year, this coming year it’s Vargas. The following year? Who knows.
I do care about the age. Kelenic’s ABs came when he was 21/22. If he were with the Dodgers, he would not have smelled MLB at that age. He was clearly not ready. You would have looked at his AAA numbers and said he needs to get a chance. Heck you wanted to give Bobby Miller who could not put together two consecutive good games together at AA a chance in the 2022 rotation. How many gave up on Gavin Lux at 21/22? We are not getting a Julio Rodriguez here. Kelenic is a 23 year old that needs a new venue. You are convinced that a defensively challenged Miguel Vargas is a better prospect than a good fielding OF at the same age? What has he done to give you that impression? He was not a better MiLB player. It is a moot point because Vargas is going to get every opportunity to make the opening day lineup and for the season. And he should. I am not questioning Vargas. I am looking for options for LF/CF who have a chance to break out. I think Kelenic has a better chance to do just that away from Seattle. My mistakes do not cost nearly as much as Friedman’s.
Outfield – apples. Third base – oranges. Different, but both included in the fruit salad
I don’t care about age as much as I care about talent. If Outman is ready to play every day at 26, isn’t that better for the team than a guy who is not ready to play at 22? Not sure why that would sound odd to you. And here’s another stat that you might find interesting – James Outman has put up more rWAR, .04, in 13 at bats than Kelenic has put up, -2.0, in two years. Weird, but true.
Give me Outman at 26.
That said, if the Dodgers were to bring Kelenic in and send Outman out, I’d trust their judgment. But I would be quick to judge if it didn’t work.
What makes you believe that Outman at 26 is better than Kelenic at 23? I am not saying you are wrong, but there is nothing to say he will be. He was not a better MiLB player. That’s my point. You are comparing Outman’s MiLB numbers to Kelenic’s MLB numbers. Outman is a better prospect because he is in the LAD organization? Outman struck out 27% in MiLB last year and 7 out of 16 PA in MLB. I know you do not care about strikeouts. I do.
“What makes you believe that Outman at 26 is better than Kelenic at 23?”
I think we’re having a communication problem here. What I meant to say is simply this: it would be better for the team to have a 26 year old who is ready to play in the Majors than a 21 year old that isn’t. Then I posted stats. And not MiLB stats. I never said a thing about minor league numbers. The stats I did talk about were ML stats and those Major League stats show Outman was on pace for about 12 WAR over a full season. Kelenic in a full season’s worth of at bats put up a -2.0 WAR.
I think you have a man crush on this Kelenic fellow.
And I never said I didn’t care about strikeouts. In fact, many times I’ve said the exact opposite. What I said that I believe you may have misinterpreted was the Dodgers brain trust doesn’t care about strikeouts. They care about OPS.
Hope this clears things up.
I do not have a man crush on Kelenic. I just do not sell short a 23 year old who was a star at AAA because he faltered at 21 in MLB. Again I ask. Why is Outman better than Kelenic? What are you basing it on? I am not saying you are wrong, but just to say Outman will be better for the team, does not make it so. I am fine with Outman in CF. In fact I said so at the end of the year believing that Belli would be non-tendered. There were a lot who disagreed with that assessment. It was an opinion. Take a look at my lineup I posted a couple days ago. I have Outman as the CF.
Not as bad as Kelenic was, but Austin Riley and Brendan Rodgers had poor first two seasons at 22 and 23. Just like with Lux, 24 was there breakout season.
I do bot remember, but did you give up on Lux after 2020 and 2021? I honestly do not remember how you felt about Lux. I did not give up on him.
I think you just might be overselling Outman. You are equating 16 PA and extrapolating that into a full year. I hope Outman goes out and wins ROY. You did not say anything about MiLB numbers. I did, because that was more of a fair comparison as to what they can do at the same level. If Kelenic can put up the numbers that he did in AAA and fall on his face at MLB, why will Outman be different? I am not saying he will, but what makes him better than Kelenic? BTW in his first 8 PA, Kelenic was 3-8 with a HR and only 1 K. Isn’t just as fair to extrapolate Kelenic’s 1st 8 PA? The answer to that is NO. Just as it isn’t fair to extrapolate Outman’s first 16 MLB PA.
Well, my extrapolating of 14 at bats was tongue in cheek. I thought that was obvious. Obviously not.
Clearly what we have here is failure to communicate.
I have no idea what Outman can do over a full season, but I do know what Kelenic did. He’s not ready. Ok, send him down til he is and put somebody in who IS ready. Probably the reason he was brought up so early is because he’s a first round pick that clobbered minor league pitching. Just like Lux did actually. And if you were familiar with my postings at Dodgertalk you wouldn’t question my take on Lux. And it’s my opinion if Outman was somewhere other than LA he’d be playing now. He’s hit everywhere he’s been and he’s obviously a terrific defensive player. Kind of hard to crack the lineup on a team with a $263 million payroll.
Maybe Kelenic is as good as you think he is. But, not yet. Not yet.
I want to be clear, I had no idea what your position on Lux was which is why I asked. I was not criticizing. The moderator at LADT switched his mind almost every game. I was always a Bo Bichette over Gavin Lux fan since draft day, but I never quit on Lux.
I did think the 12 WAR was tongue in cheek, but not that you believed Outman would be better. I just did not understand what you based that on. BTW, we did have a failure in communication. When I brought up Kelenic, it was never Kelenic over Outman. NEVER. I brought up Kelenic as a LH hitting option LF/CF who could platoon with Thompson. My preference is Benintendi. But that is doubtful, so I was thinking of options from a field of potentially available OF that is not very deep. As a reminder, this is what I wrote two days ago.
C – Will Smith – R
1B – Freddie Freeman – L
2B – Chris Taylor – R
SS – Gavin Lux – L
3B – Miguel Vargas – R
LF – Trayce Thompson – R
CF – James Outman – L
RF – Mookie Betts – R
DH – Max Muncy – L
C – Austin Barnes – R
2B/1B/LF/DH – Michael Busch – L
3B/DH – Justin Turner – R
OF/DH – Free Agent – L – Andrew Benintendi? Michael Brantley? Masataka Yoshida? Plethora of options here.
I just added Kelenic to that plethora of options. I would never quit on a 23 year old.
That makes sense. And I agree with that lineup. I’ve been waiting for Busch to be traded but if he isn’t I’m fine with him on our bench.
the moderator at LADT switched his mind almost every game. That was funny.
Im a Lux supporter. Always have been. Put him at second and leave him there.
This has been fun. Let’s do it again soon.
I’m as big a Kelenic fan as you, Jeff, but if you think his main problem was that he was pressing too much in Seattle, what makes you think he’d do better in a much bigger market (L.A.)?
I think he’d certainly be under as much pressure here and would probably get a ticket to OKC after being given less of a chance than he was given in Seattle.
Am I mistaken in that assumption?
Busch plus ? for Kelenic?
I know we all complain about values on the Trade Simulator, but just for your information, Fred, the Simulator values Kelenic at 5.6 and Busch at 27.0.
Players of approximately equivalent value to Kelenic include Bickford, Graterol, Ferguson, Eddys Leonard, Jose Ramos, and…………………………Chris Taylor.
Remember, these values take experience, accomplishments and salary into consideration. That’s why Taylor is so low (high salary).
Ok then, Busch and Muncy for Kelenic. 😮
Well I find that interesting. Busch, who has NO Major League experience is considered several times more valuable than Kelenic, who has two years of ML experience. And Busch is older.
or does that prove The Simulator is FOS
Probably the latter.
I do not think Kelenic was necessarily pressing as much as he was not ready. Just like Lux was not ready. He had nothing left to prove in MiLB so he needed to learn at the MLB level. I would like to see Kelenic afforded the same opportunity. He may fail. But he might not.
Bruns, Knack, Nastrini – I have the highest hopes for Nastrini.
So do I
Go USC, Up 7-0 right now.
Final at the Coliseum. USC 38 – Notre Dame 27. PAC 12 Championship game is next Friday in Las Vegas. Caleb Williams is now the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. The Award is presented in NY on December 10.
Watched the game, pretty exciting game. Oregon gets in if WS beats Washington, otherwise it will be USC-Utah