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Dodgers: The Options to Replace A.J. Pollock

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 18: A.J. Pollock #11 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at bat during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on April 18, 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

With outfielder A.J. Pollock, likely going on the injured list, the Dodgers will have a hole on their roster. President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has placed such an emphasis on depth so they have a few players to choose from. The ideal player is someone with versatility who doesn’t need everyday at-bats since Verdugo should be getting them.

Matt Beaty

Beaty is a 26-year-old, left-handed hitting corner infielder who impressed a bit in spring training. Aside from giving him his usual time at first and third base, the Oklahoma City Dodgers have also used him for 48 innings in left field, so the positional versatility would be nice for the bench. He hasn’t been lighting AAA up but he has been solid, posting a .277/.355/.434 slash line through 83 at-bats. Beaty, who is known for his on-base skills, hit .277/.378/.406 in an injury-filled season last year. Without the injuries, Beaty would have likely made his debut already. He doesn’t have star upside, but he can be a major league caliber player for any team.

Plus it was just his birthday.

Edwin Rios

Rios is a pretty similar option to Beaty, except with more power. He’s a 25-year-old, left-handed hitting corner infielder and corner outfielder, and he’s one of the Dodgers’ higher ranked prospects. So far in 2019, he has really struggled at the plate, hitting .221/.256/.349 with a 33.3 percent K%. Just last season, Rios hit .304/.355/.482 in 309 AAA at-bats so the potential is there. He likely just needs some more time to correct his problem.

Rocky Gale

Yes, Rocky Gale is still on the 40-man roster. The 31-year-old catcher just had a brief stint with the Dodgers while Russell Martin was out. In the four games he played, he hit .143/.143/.143 and was worth -0.2 wins above replacement. He’s an option since Barnes and Martin both have the versatility to move around but Gale probably shouldn’t see the roster again.

Will Smith

Smith, one of the Dodgers top prospects, is a 24-year-old catcher with versatility. Unlike the other options, they would need to add him to the 40-man roster (DFA Gale). In his baseball career, he has played almost every position but he has primarily focused on catching, third base, and second base in the Dodgers’ organization. His versatility would allow them to continue getting creative with their lineups. Mostly known as a defense-first, contact hitting catcher coming out of college, Smith has developed some power in his bat. Right now, he is lighting up AAA pitching with a .271/.405/.508 slash line.  He should debut this year, and the sooner the better. The chance he gets called up isn’t great, but it would be a lot of fun.

Analysis

Beaty is probably the safest and the most likely option to get called up. They wouldn’t have to DFA anyone since he’s already on the 40-man roster and he’s a solid player with versatility. Giving him a look to see what he can do makes a lot of sense right now. At some point soon, Smith needs to be called up, but he also needs to play every day. Beaty is the correct choice right now.

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Written by Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!

17 Comments

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  1. Agree with you Beaty was put on the 40 man end of last year so they didn’t lose him in the Rule 5 draft. He had a tough injury year last year but has proven in the past to be a very consistent on-base guy that makes good contact.

    They should either give him a shot or DFA him. I am sure Farhan would love to pick him up as he is a multi-position consistent contact high character guy.

    • Robin I think people get too wrapped up on LH, Rh batting how about looking at splits for each batter? Bellinger is hitting everyone well as is Verdugo. Why do they need to be RH? Seager has hit both in his career well. Seager is off to a slow start but he is also one that it has not mattered as much.

      • Tmaxter, even though you are correct about Bellinger, Verdugo and Seager as far as handling LHP goes, in the long run it’s going to allow opposing teams to load up on this team with LH relievers in key situations and we most likely won’t have an answer for that.

  2. The Dodgers have 2 spots open on the 40-man roster.

    If not on the IL, bringing up either Connor Joe or Drew Jackson, due to versatility and RH bat would probably make the most sense.

    Another option could be Kyle Garlick. With Pederson, Bellinger, Verdugo, Taylor, and Hernandez all capable of handling CF, Garlick can help back up the corner OF slots.

    He is currently holding his own at OKC hitting .254 .375 .493 .868 and has been above average against LHP throughout his career.

  3. Those are not pleasant options, although Beaty might do as a 4th outfielder. For now we go with Joc, Bellinger and Verdugo with Muncy at first every day. That is not a bad situation if it does not get worse.

  4. How long is Polluck expected to be gone? He has contributed little so far anyway. I like Gary’s idea above, with Chris Taylor in the outfield and Bellinger at first if Muncy struggles.

    Again, however, who listens to us?

  5. Blake, Beaty, Rios make NO SENSE AT ALL Don’t we have enough LHB on this roster for crying out loud? And you are correct that Gale should NEVER EVER be part of this 25 man roster again. Depth? Ya got to be kidding! Let’s fill in for Pollock with a RHB for pete’s sake.

  6. How can anyone in the upper echelons of the FO even consider Rocky Gale as a replacement for Pollock? I have said on prior posts taht Gale does not belong on the team in any capacity. This may be the perfect time to boost the confidence of Chris Taylor by allowing him to play consistently over the length of Pollock’s absence!!!!!! Go Blue!!!!

      • AZUL, PD Jr and I are looking forward to the Padres series this weekend!!!! We should get some idea as to whether the Pads are for real,or mere impostors. Good win last evening!!! Nice to see CT3 come through for us, just as we thought he might!!!! Go Blue!!!

  7. I just looked at tonight’s lineup and damn near put my fist through the screen. Taylor is in LF, Muncy is at 2B (really) and neither Joc or Verdugo are in the lineup. WTF? This is beyond stupid.

  8. The right-handed-hitters – Turner, Hernandez, Taylor came through last night. The Giants starting pitcher is Bumgarner so No Pederson again even though in 9-at-bats, Joc is .222 against him but Taylor will play in LF(probably) and in 16-at-bats against MadBum, he’s hitting .063. The Giants RF misplayed Taylor’s SF into a double. Kike in 42-at-bats against MadBum is hitting .500 with 4hrs. Even the Giants announcers say Kike has “ownage” against MadBum. Dodgers give the kid(Verdugo) a shot, start him against Bumgarner!!

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