With a roster loaded with left-handed bats and outfielders, it is easy to forget about Andrew Toles being in the mix. Yes, he is still on the 40-man roster and yes, he has a shot to make the big club out of Spring Training in 2019.
We are not far removed from when he started the 2017 campaign off with a bang, crushing 5 homers and posting a .271/.314/.458 over 102 plate appearances. Of course, Toles’ season was lost when he tore his ACL trying to make a diving catch to preserve a Julio Urias no-hitter.
In his first taste of the MLB back in 2016, Toles emerged as one of the Dodgers’ most reliable bats, and it is simply a shame that we have forgotten about it. He hit .314/.365/.505 with a 131 wRC+ over 115 plate appearances that season. It is important to note that most of his at-bats came against right-handed pitching, but when considering that it will be all he is needed for in 2019, it is completely fine. The Dodgers simply do not need Toles to play every single day.
In 2018, he returned from injury for a short stint with the club, logging 30 plate appearances. I do not put much stock in a .233/.281/.300 line with that sample size, especially because he was coming off of one of the biggest injuries an athlete can sustain.
Watching some fielding practice, and my gosh Andrew Toles has a cannon. Stronger than I remember. In an OF full of good arms.
— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) March 17, 2018
Toles brings some speed, which is always valuable, and I have yet to lose faith in his bat. He is still just 26 years old, which is crazy to think about. That is the same age as Joc Pederson, who was constantly given opportunities to work his way out of slumps. Toles has never really been afforded that kind of treatment by Dave Roberts, even when he was healthy.
If he can show out in Spring Training, there is a substantial role out there for him with the Dodgers. A .286/.333/.459 career line and 110 wRC+, mixed in with solid defense, makes for a solid bench option.
With Toles’ AAA roommate Alex Verdugo pushing for everyday at-bats, there is a cap on Toles’ potential playing time. However, he should be granted an opportunity to carve out semi-consistent at-bats in the Dodgers’ outfield against RHP.
Toles will rebound. Betting against him would be absolutely stupid, considering the mountains he has already climbed in not just his career, but his life. He came back from a major injury, returned to professional baseball after working at Kroger’s, and has battled anxiety. Winning a job out of Spring Training is nothing to Andrew Toles.
I’m hoping Andrew can prove me right and I have complete faith that he will.
Let’s see if he can create moments like this in 2019!
The grand slam by Andrew Toles with 2 outs in the 9th. pic.twitter.com/nKtuSXPugP
— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) September 1, 2016
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