The exact make up of the Dodgers outfield is still unknown. Manager Dave Roberts has come out many times saying that Yasiel Puig will be starting in right field, and Joc Pederson will retain his roll in center. Left field is a bit uncertain, but look for Andre Ethier to have the starting role there. Where the real fun begins is determining who will make the team as reserves.
One of the players vying to take one of those back up rolls is Brett Eibner. The right-handed outfielder came to the Dodgers this past off-season via trade with the Oakland Athletics for Jordan Tarsovich.
A graduate of Woodlands High School, Eibner helped take his team to the 2006 5A State Championship. He was drafted by the Houston Astros, but decided to attend the University of Arkansas instead. There he pitched for the Razorbacks, even once being named SEC Pitcher of the Week.
Eibner was drafted again by the Kansas City Royals, and made his MLB debut May 26, 2016. He was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Billy Burns at the trade deadline, and was DFA’d by Oakland in January 2017.
His time in the majors last season was not so stellar. He started his time in the majors red hot, going 6-for-13 and was part of several late rallies. But then he was sidelined by an ankle injury, and didn’t see consistent playing time after a stint on the 15-day DL. He posted a -0.2 WAR, with a .193 batting average and six home runs. He also struck out 50 times. He hits a lot of doubles, 10 in his time last year in the majors.
Eibner is expected to be a longshot to make the team. But so far the spring, he is playing very well. In 13 games this preseason he has a .310 batting average, .621 slugging percentage and 1.105 OPS. He also has four doubles, a triple, and a homerun. The home run came in his first at bat of the year. He is, however, second on the team in strikeouts with 10.
His defense is what could help him stay with the big league club. Eibner has looked very comfortable filling in for Pederson in center so far this spring. He has the ability to play all three outfield positions, which can only be to his benefit as well. Eibner has good speed, and an above average throwing arm. He hits equally well against right-handed and left-handed pitching.
He has some work to do to make the big league team. Rotoworld currently has him listed fourth on the depth chart for centerfield, behind Pederson, Trayce Thompson and Enrique Hernandez. The Dodgers have taken a good look at him this spring, as he is at the top of the roster in time played this season. While he may not be with the big club to start the season, Eibner could impress in Oklahoma City and be back in the big leagues soon.