Earlier in November, the Dodgers exercised their option to bring back second baseman Logan Forsythe for another season at $8.5 million, perhaps making evident that the team views the 30-year-old Memphis native as the main guy at the keystone moving into 2018. But there’s one potential problem with the way the roster may shape up—there’s nobody at all on the radar who bats left-handed and can play second base.
Sure, Forsythe could conceivably play every day, and there ‘s a whole slew of players who can provide cover at second—Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes, Tim Locastro, or even Justin Turner, in a pinch. However, all these options are righty hitters, and it will be very atypical of Andrew Friedman and his crew not to have a left-handed hitting second baseman on the 25-man roster, especially considering the way Forsythe has hit righty pitching throughout his career.
For the entirety of the 2017 regular season, Forsythe hit just .190/.315/.262 in 286 plate appearances against RHP—a scary thought when considering that roughly two-thirds of the starting pitchers in the majors throw from the right side. Career-wise, his numbers are a little better, but not stellar by any means, as he has a .236/.317/.344 lifetime mark against right-handers. In the greater scope of things, a .344 career slugging percentage for a player hitting in the middle of a lineup with championship aspirations is just a bit grim.
And the scary thing is that the Dodgers don’t really have any second base prospects on the upper levels of the farm who bat left-handed. Willie Calhoun, a Top 5 team prospect who was dealt to the Rangers last July for Yu Darvish, showed a little bit of promise, but even so, Texas doesn’t have much hope for his glove, as the club utilized the youngster as a left fielder in 18 games when he was brought up after rosters expanded.
Max Muncy should be back with Triple-A Oklahoma City next year, and could be a far reach to provide cover at the keystone, but the 27-year-old former Oakland Athletic is more of a corner infielder/outfielder type of utility man—almost a clone of Rob Segedin, if you will. In all, Muncy hit .309/.414/.492 with 12 long balls and 44 RBI in 109 games for OKC last year, however, he only appeared in nine games at second base.
All things considered, Forysthe does have a number of bright spots, most specifically his outstanding defense, his ability to hit anywhere in the lineup, and his propensity to get on base. And if he can carry a bit of momentum into the beginning of 2018, unlike his injury-riddled beginning to last season, maybe things will play out differently. After all, he did have a very productive stretch in the 2017 postseason.
The Dodgers brought in Forsythe last winter for the main reason of generating offense against southpaw pitching after the club as a whole hit below .210 against leftys for the entirety of 2016—and for that purpose, he delivered. Yet, when pondering Forsythe’s career numbers against right-handed pitching, there’s a very good chance the Dodgers make a move to bolster the offensive side of things at second base. There’s about a zero chance that Chase Utley returns, and even if he did, it’s doubtful that he could provide any more pop at the dish against right-handers than Forsythe.
As far as free agent second baseman who hit left-handed go, there are a few options in Jose Reyes, Cliff Pennington or Danny Espinosa, but considering the tendencies and aspirations of the Los Angeles front office crew, they may prefer to make a bigger splash through a potential trade.
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