Keith Law does a chat sometimes where he answers questions that people send in to him, and that can be a good way of getting some insight out of an insider in the baseball business. Today, one of the questions he received had to do with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but more specifically a certain position.
There are those who have watched Joc Pederson’s struggles at the plate in the second half of 2015 and wondered if he’ll ever put it together. Those same people are now hitching a ride on the Trayce Thompson bandwagon. Among them is Keith Law, and it is a little peculiar.
From Keith Law’s chat today:
JayMac: Trayce Thompson has always struck me as one of those guys who ends up having more success in the bigs than in the minors. You think he has a real shot at being a regular out in center?
Klaw: I don’t see why that would specifically be the case for him, but he has gradually improved over the last two years to the point where I could see him becoming a low-OBP, 20-HR regular with plus-plus defense in center. If you’re the Dodgers, that’s probably better than what you can expect from Joc, right?
This is quite odd, to say the least. First off, there’s nothing out there to indicate that Thompson can actually even hit 20 home runs routinely in the bigs. Thompson only had two 20+ home run seasons in the minors, and the most recent of those came in 2012. He’s enticing. It makes sense. But better than Pederson? No.
For all the talk of Pederson’s second half struggles in 2015, Thompson himself hit just .209 with a .306 on-base percentage over his final 49 plate appearances last season. There’s nothing to indicate that he himself actually picks it up, either. This is pushing for change just for the sake of change.
Whether or not people want to believe it or not, the Dodgers’ best chance for success both now and in the long run is with Joc Pederson in center field. While Thompson is certainly intriguing in his own right, Pederson’s “the guy” there. To argue otherwise appears to be foolhardy.