So far this spring, we here at Think Blue Planning Committee have kept close tabs on all the usual suspects and intriguing story lines—Matt Kemp and the outfield, the state of the pitching rotation, and who could be this season’s big surprise. This, of course, is with good reason as fans of the Dodgers are excited to see how all these scenarios play out.
Two players we haven’t commented too much on are Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe. The two seasoned veterans are quietly having a solid, ….. spring trainings, which most likely will translate to them having solid, …. seasons.
2017 was indeed a banner year for JT. An impressive first half, followed by a successful campaign to make the All-Star team, an NLCS Co-MVP, and a winning home run in Game 1 of the World Series. He did miss 32 games due in part to injuries, both to his hamstring in mid summer and his thumb in late September. He finished the season with a .322/.415/.530/.945 slash line with 21 homers and 32 doubles.
So far during 2018 Cactus League play, Turner has batted .393/.452/.679/.1.130 with two homers and two doubles in 11 games. He’s had an effect on the team in ways other than in the batter’s box. Kemp credits JT with helping him at the plate, telling David Vassegh “I’ve learned a lot from JT and all these guys, talking to these guys about their approach.”
Similarly, Chris Taylor credits Turner with helping him revamp his swing.
Forsythe did not have as great a 2017 regular season as JT. Brought over in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2016-2017 offseason, the quiet second baseman had a sub-par .224/.351/.327/.678 slash line, making many a Dodger fan wonder if trading pitching prospect José De Leon was worth it. (De Leon recently underwent Tommy John surgery, so I’ll leave it to you to decide if the trade was worth it). Logan has admitted that injuries played a role in his downturn. He battled a foot injury early in the season and didn’t quite get things together until the end of the season.
Forsythe upped his game in last postseason, hitting .297 and getting many a key hit. He showed incredible patience at the plate, walking nine times. Logan has done a lot of work with Dodgers’ hitting coach Turner Ward, working on hand positioning, controlling the barrel of the bat and having a shorter swing. So far this spring, it’s paid off. He’s hitting .421/.476/.842/1.318. Small sample size, sure, as he’s only played in eight games. But it sure seems that now that he is healthy he’s ready to resume his steady presence at the plate and in the field.
There is a little uncertainty in some aspects of the Dodgers’ roster, from Corey Seager‘s elbow, to how Cody Bellinger will handle his sophomore year, to whether Yasiel Puig can replicate his benchmark year last year. However, barring injury, Turner and Forsythe will be the steadying force that stabilizes the lineup and anchors the infield.
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