After contemplating the fallout from shortstop Corey Seager‘s most recent hamstring saga, some fans of the Dodgers couldn’t help but look far down the organizational ladder just to get an idea of the quality of middle infielders lurking in the Los Angeles system.
As far as players go who are on the 40-man roster and are MLB-ready, what you see is what you get. Alongside Seager, Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley are Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez — by far the two most versatile players on the club. Although he’s been used sparingly, utility man Mike Freeman was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City when Franklin Gutierrez went on the shelf, but probably got the call primarily for his left-handed bat knowing Seager would be taking a brief hiatus.
Charlie Culberson certainly has the skills to compete at the big league mid-infield spots, and is being kept around for that exact reason. However, his contract would need to be purchased from OKC before being added to the 40-man, and an injury recently put him on OKC’s disabled list anyway, opening the door for Tim Locastro, who was promoted to Oklahoma City on Monday.
Locastro has a fine glove, handling short and second base equally well, and provides a complimentary burst of speed, having led Double-A Tulsa with 14 stolen bases during the first half of the season. In addition, Tim has also seen a bit of work in center field this year. Also getting a quick look at the Triple-A level earlier in the week was Jose Miguel Fernandez, who reached base all four times he came to the plate Monday against Memphis. Fernandez was hitting .322/.371/.481 in 66 games with the Drillers and can provide defensive cover at both second base and the hot corner.
Before the latest arrival of the Double-A crew, both Max Muncy and Drew Maggi were handling the lion’s share of utility play at OKC, with Willie Calhoun making his normal everyday appearances at the keystone. All that being said, outside of a healthy Culberson, there’s really not many options to be considered for the big league roster, thus resulting in Freeman’s big chance to shine on center stage. Calhoun is probably the next-closest to being considered, even though he’s mainly a second base specialist, despite having manned left field on a handful of occasions this season.
With the recent surge of promotions, 20-year-old Samuel Ortiz, 22-year-old Errol Robinson and 22-year-old Erick Mejia are lining up to handle the majority of middle infield duties for Tulsa when league play resumes after the Texas League All-Star break.
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