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The Dodgers Outfield Dilemma

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.

 

 

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Singing the Blue

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.

Singing the Blue

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.

Last edited 2 months ago by Singing the Blue
Bumsrap

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.

Bumsrap

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.

Bumsrap

Righty bat because they struggle against lefties more than righties. Thompson hit better against righties.

A righty version of Kelenic would work.

Oldbear48

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.

Badger

Who said it?

Oldbear48

Freidman

Bumsrap

They just need that 3rd year of fixing to make it happen.

Singing the Blue

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)

Badger

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.

Singing the Blue

If you’re re-twitting what I said, that must make me a twit.

Badger

The message is a twit. I re-twitted the message. Pass it on.

Badger

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.

Badger

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.

Badger

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.

Badger

“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.

Last edited 2 months ago by Badger
Badger

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.

Badger

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.

Last edited 2 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

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?

Bumsrap

Busch plus ? for Kelenic?

Singing the Blue

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).

Bumsrap

Ok then, Busch and Muncy for Kelenic. 😮 

Badger

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

Singing the Blue

Probably the latter.

Singing the Blue

Bruns, Knack, Nastrini – I have the highest hopes for Nastrini.

Oldbear48

Go USC, Up 7-0 right now.

Oldbear48

Watched the game, pretty exciting game. Oregon gets in if WS beats Washington, otherwise it will be USC-Utah

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