The 2017 season was a tough year for Logan Forsythe. After kicking the tires on Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, the front office ultimately (and if the rumors of the Twins insisting on Cody Bellinger as part of any deal are true, correctly) decided the asking price was too high and opted for Forsythe instead. All it took was flipping prized pitching prospect José De Leon to Tampa in return.
It seemed like a decent consolation prize, considering that in 2015 and 2016, Forsythe averaged 18.5 home runs and 50 extra base hits to go along with excellent defense at second base. Additionally, so respected was Forsythe by his Tampa Bay teammates that several, including star third baseman Evan Longoria (now of the hated ones), vocally lamented his departure.
After a spiffy first few games in a Dodger uniform, it went south for Logie Bear. He missed time in April and May with a broken toe, courtesy of an errant Kyle Freeland fastball. Recently, Forsythe indicated that the injury lingered throughout the season and sapped him of much of his pop. The more cynical among us may even sardonically argue that getting hurt was Forsythe’s biggest contribution in 2017, considering it led to the call up of Chris Taylor who went on to have a breakout year.
That, of course, wouldn’t be fair to Forsythe. If his broken toe did in fact contribute to a miserable 82 OPS+, down from 124 and 113 in 2015 and 2016 respectively, it had no impact at all on his defense. In fact, his +5 Defensive Runs Saved ranked him behind only Colorado’s DJ LeMahieu in the National League, but in less than half of the innings! If that’s not impressive enough, while filling in for an injured Justin Turner at third base, not his natural position, he graded out at +4 Defensive Runs Saved in not all that many innings.
For a little while, some brilliant baseball minds (see: the writer of this article) speculated that Forsythe and his $9 million salary for 2018 could be on the move. Yu Darvish hadn’t signed with the Cubs yet, and the Dodgers were seemingly having no luck moving Matt Kemp’s gigantic salary. If they were going to clear room below the tax threshold to make Darvish a competitive offer, Forsythe made sense. Well, we all know what ended up happening there. And here we are with Forsythe projected to get the lion’s share of playing time at second base.
So, what can we expect from the 31-year-old in 2018?
Well, the hope is more of 2015 and 2016 level Forsythe, rather than 2017. I think every Dodger fan would be quite happy if he put together a season that averaged out his 2015 and 2016 with Tampa Bay. That would work out to a triple slash line of around .265/.340/.444. Unfortunately, Dodger Stadium tends to suppress offense more than Tropicana Field, so that may be a bit of a stretch. However, here’s why we might get something close to it.
Forsythe played his best baseball in the post-season, against teams with arguably the toughest pitching the Dodgers faced all year. He hit over 70 points higher than he did in the regular season. Even if 18-20 home runs is unlikely, 12-15 might not be. 40-45 total extra base hits isn’t a stretch. Especially if he continues to walk close to the career high pace he set in 2017, and stays mostly healthy. While those numbers don’t scream superstar at you, they do indicate a very productive player.
My guess is that his final triple slash will look something like .258/.360/.425. Couple that production with his elite defensive play and you’re looking at a 3.0 – 3.5 WAR player. Who wouldn’t love that from Logie Bear!?
Want to let us know what you predict for Forsythe in 2018? Tell us on Twitter @thestainsports and @DodgersNation. Thank you for reading.
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