With five weeks remaining before pitchers and catchers begin filing into the clubhouse at Camelback Ranch, there’s still a bit of time remaining for the Dodgers to enhance their player roster with a prospective trade or free agent signing. However, when considering its existing core of players, the club remains one of the most formidable powerhouses in the National League, although building a squad to succeed deep into the playoffs is a completely different story.
We’ll start hypothetically pairing down the 40-man roster into 26 players in a few weeks. In the meantime, I though it would be a good idea to look at a few of the fringe players, specifically Matt Beaty and the potential role he will play during the upcoming season.
Conceivably, the most productive part of the 26-man roster is loaded with lefty bats, which doesn’t help the case for Beaty. Nevertheless, because the MLB’s new active roster rules allow 26 players instead of 25—coupled with the uncertainty surrounding Alex Verdugo‘s health—Beaty has a much better chance of being included on the big league squad on Opening Day.
During his rookie campaign last year, the left-handed hitting Beaty played in 99 games and collected 268 plate appearances, slashing an overall .265/.317/.458 with nine homers, 19 doubles and 46 RBI. His .775 OPS was just a hair above the MLB average, and he ended up producing a 0.6 bWAR. Defensively, he made 35 appearances at first base, 34 in left field, nine at third base and two in right field. In 219 chances at all of those positions, he committed only three errors. All of them came at first base.
As far as projections go for 2020, Baseball Reference has him at 334 PA with a .263/.324/.454 slash line, 12 long balls, 20 doubles and 51 RBI. Interestingly, Steamer has Beaty hitting .274/.326/.440 with four homers over just 120 PA.
We talked about the outfield a little earlier in the winter, stating that a crew of Verdugo, Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson could be seeing the bulk of the time, specifically against right-handed pitching. Should Verdugo not be able to go in the early part of the season, Beaty could theoretically be part of that crew, depending on how many reps the team elects to give the righty hitting A.J. Pollock.
In essence, with Bellinger patrolling the outfield most days, the first base duties belong to another lefty hitter, Max Muncy. Consequently, the left-handed hitting Gavin Lux is setting up to be the everyday second baseman. If the team trusts Beaty’s glove to handle the duties at third base—or Muncy’s, for that matter—it could allow Beaty to appear in the infield more against right-handed pitching.
Although they’re still relatively small sample sizes, Beaty’s splits will probably limit his time against southpaw pitching moving forward. Last season, he hit just .125/.176/.156 with just one extra-base hit over 32 AB against southpaws, while slashing .286/.338/.502 alongside 28 extra-base hits in 217 AB versus righties.
Regardless, perhaps the most impressive part of Beaty’s game is his clutch hitting. With runners in scoring position last year, he hit a very productive .379/.446/.621 to tally a 1.067 OPS, including nine extra base hits over 66 AB. In high-leverage situations, he averaged .333, while hitting just .239 in medium-leverage and .257 in low-leverage scenarios.
With a fully healthy roster, Beaty’s inclusion on the 26-man could ultimately depend on how the Dodgers structure their pitching staff. If they set up their crew with the traditional split of five starters and eight relievers, there’s a much better chance that Beaty is around for Opening Day, regardless of what happens with Verdugo.
If he indeed has plenty of successful opportunities as the summer months approach, Beaty could be a player the team tries to move in a prospective trade package in order to upgrade the roster to prepare for a playoff run.
21 thoughts on “What Role Will Matt Beaty Play in 2020?”
I really like what I saw from Beaty with runners on base last year. Hopefully that kind of “clutch” hitting continues this year. I would think that he showed enough to be of interest to other teams in potential trades also but I’d just as soon keep him because I think he’s valuable off the bench as a better-than-average pinch hitter.
I don’t think the makeup of the pitching staff will have any effect on his status Dennis, since they are setting a limit of no more than 13 pitchers per 26 man roster and there is no way they go with only 12 pitchers.
I thought the 13-pitcher rule was proposed but not yet decided upon.
You may very well be correct about that. It’s been talked about so often that I just assumed it was going to happen, but it probably isn’t official yet.
Good article here. Sounds like still defining, but intention is for a non-pitcher.
The article mentions a “Swingman” to fill that 26th spot.
Think of the guys we have who can do that: Stripling, Maeda, Wood, Nelson, Gonsolin, May, Urias
I like Beaty too. 125 at bats sounds about right. He’d get a lot more at bats somewhere else. He’s down our depth chart. I think our 26th man should be a pitcher, but that’s me. I think our offense is fine. I want more better pitching.
Here’s an interesting and meaningless stat – Clayton Kershaw makes as much in 10 innings as Willie Mays made in his entire 22 year career.
CK has a much better curveball.
Willie was faster.
Wood. 1 year. $4 million.
I laughed when I saw that. This will further serve to infuriate those who aren’t thrilled with the way AF does business. Just think of how many potentially broken down starters Andrew can sign with the 34 mil he would have paid Cole this year. We could be looking at another 10-15 signings of guys who can start or work out of the bullpen.
I just got notice they are signing Alex Wood for one year, $4M. I guess May and Gonsolin start the season back at AAA. They will have to drop someone from the 40 man, unless a trade is brewing, that opens a slot.
Maybe May and Gonsolin are going in the Arenado trade.
Yes I’m kidding……………………………………maybe.
Latest rumor has Cards after Arrenado.
That rumor has been out there for awhile. It would be a great fit for both sides and the Cards have a number of pitchers they could give the Rox. They’re always looking for pitching.
Arenado has total control over his situation. Full no-trade plus an opt out in 2 years. He can play this any way he wants to.
And bear didn’t think AF could pull the trigger on a big signing!
89 innings. 6 wins. 4.0 ERA. Nothing wrong with those projections.
Shlemmings claim victory!!!
We did agree on a signing of 4 million or more, right?
Jeff, you’re going to make bear real upset with that last comment.
Who, me? 🙂
If just one of the pitchers AF has signed pitches to their full talent, it will be worth it.