Gone were Jerry Hairston Jr., Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto. The Dodgers relied on the trio of veterans to play multiple positions and
This season’s bench has largely consisted of Scott Van Slyke and a rotation of infielders. Chone Figgins was on the Opening Day roster, however has since designated for assignment after completing his rehab.
Aside from Justin Turner, the infielders coming in off the bench have been players without prior MLB experience. Despite the group’s inexperience, August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs.com, has the Dodgers bench with the highest collective WAR in all of MLB:
Biggest helpers: Justin Turner (+2.1), Scott Van Slyke (+1.7), Chone Figgins (+0.6).
This one kind of surprised me. Well, first, let’s just tackle the elephant in the room, which is Chone Figgins being on this list. Weird. Anyway, this list kind of surprised me, but I guess it makes sense considering Justin Turner has provided more value himself than the entire bench units of 28 other teams. Turner has always been a league average hitter who can play all four infield positions, making him a pretty valuable piece off the bench. Then there’s Scott Van Slyke, whose three true outcome approach coupled with his ability to play surprisingly well in the outfield makes him a pretty valuable piece off the bench, too.
Turner is in his first season with the Dodgers after spending the previous four with the New York Mets. Turner singed a one-year deal in the off-season, which he’s outplayed. The 29 year old has played each of the infield positions with the exception being catcher.
Van Slyke is hitting .247, which is 16 points above his career batting average. He’s added nine home runs and 18 RBIs and developed into a valuable option against left-handed pitching.
Injuries have certainly required the Dodgers’ bench to play a larger than usual role and with Hanley Ramirez the latest to be placed on the 15-day disabled list, they’ll continue to be tested.
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