Envisioning a Dodgers Infield Five Years from Now

gavin-lux-edwin-rios-1

If there’s one main, recurring theme we keep hearing about the Los Angeles Dodgers, it’s undeniably the concept of player depth. There are some fans who may actually be growing tired of the term, but it’s definitely one of the primary reasons the club has succeeded so much in recent years.

No question, there’s certainly a difference between being deep enough to adequately cover all positions and having quality player depth in those spots. Probably the full bench of the Dodgers would be capable starters for almost any club in baseball. We’ve seen a prime example of this with the Los Angeles starting rotation, as there are at least two members of the current bullpen crew who would be bonafide starting pitchers for another team.

The Los Angeles depth is visible from the standpoint of the regularity of rest being given to the everyday players. Sure, any rival club could rest their players equally as often, but the Dodgers are showing that they can win games with some of their most important players on the pine. I believe that’s what sets this team apart from many of its competitors.

Regardless, I got to thinking what this Los Angeles ballclub might look like five years down the road. There are some big contract decisions to be made in the near future, and those decisions will no doubt affect the makeup of the squad’s core. I decided to put together a prediction of who I think the team’s primary infield crew might be five years from now.

Corey Seager SS

So, I figured I’d get the most important piece out of the way first. Indeed, Corey Seager is going to garner some of the largest contract offers across the majors over the next year. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve already talked to some degree about how the Yankees might pursue him. However, I feel that the Dodgers will ultimately do whatever it takes to keep the 2020 World Series MVP in Los Angeles.

Sure, I could be wrong, and I can certainly see Seager switching coasts. However, what I can’t see is a solid defensive infield without either Justin Turner or Seager. As much as we all like Turner, there’s no way he’s going to be playing third base for the Dodgers at the age of 41. Consequently, my pick for the veteran leader of the 2026 infield is Seager.

Some pundits are saying the Dodgers could shatter the 2021 regular season record for wins, but everything starts anew at the beginning of the playoffs. Moving forward, this team is all about winning championships, not just division titles. Seager has proven that he can deliver when it counts most. Some see Seager shifting over to the hot corner at some point down the road, but my gut says he’s going to stick at short for a while.

Gavin Lux 2B

I’m not quite sure where to start with Gavin Lux, but let me first say that his toolbox is probably more complete than any other youngster on the fringe in recent years. Of course, there have been some throwing issues, but once his move to second base sinks in and becomes more permanent, perhaps those inaccuracies will subside.

Don’t get me wrong, I think I might be a bigger Michael Busch fan than most people who are familiar with his name. However, Busch’s hands and glove remain a huge question mark, and his development on defense in the next year or so will probably determine where he ends up in the organization. It’s for this reason I’m going with Lux as the second baseman of the future. Undeniably, Lux has a lot of work to do to warrant this spot. But he’s a good fit if Seager’s still around. And, with Lux at second, it affords Zach McKinstry the opportunity to continue roaming as the utilityman extraordinaire many years down the road.

Kody Hoese 3B

For all we know, the Dodgers might land some high-impact, free-agent third baseman who we haven’t yet to consider (which might be hard to do since we racked our brains last winter trying to come up with a viable, free agent replacement for Turner). Anyway, I’m going with Kody Hoese here for two reasons. First, he hits right-handed in an organization loaded with lefty hitters. Second, he has a complete set of tools, similar to the attributes of Lux.

Obviously, there’s plenty of infield talent throughout the system. Like Busch, middle infielders such as Jacob Amaya and Omar Estevez are highly regarded talent. But all of them seemingly have a weakness. Busch can mash, but he still has a long way to go with his glove. Amaya and Estevez are defensive wizards, but their respective offensive games leave a lot to be desired. Hoese hasn’t proven anything yet in the chances he’s seen in Cactus League play, but I’m sticking with him because of his well-rounded skillset.

Edwin Rios 1B

Let me first say that I believe that Max Muncy will land another extension with the Dodgers, but I feel that he’s the perfect candidate for a semi-fulltime designated hitter. He’ll still play first on occasion, giving Edwin Rios the hypothetical flexibility to cover third when Hoese is not in the lineup. I think the biggest reason I see Rios as part of this team five years from now is because of his defensive flexibility and versatility. Honestly, it will be interesting to see the stat lines Rios puts up over the course of a 162-game season with regular playing time, as it might be indicative of his future role with the team.

Catcher is a completely different topic for another time, but a few other infielders to watch over the next few years are Miguel Vargas, Wilman Diaz, Alex De Jesus, and Devin Mann.

In the meantime, as far as the upcoming season goes, many eyes will be on Seager and his contract prospects, in addition to how well Lux handles his role as an everyday contributor.

21 thoughts on “Envisioning a Dodgers Infield Five Years from Now

  1. Interesting observation.
    How about one change? Michael Busch at 2B, Gavin Lux at SS? It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Dodgers trade Seager at the trade deadline if they believe they won’t (or can’t) be able to sign him. They may decide, for a lot less money an infield as I suggest would be best moving forward. Why hasn’t there been talk of an extension before Seager hits free agency like they did with Mookie Betts or the Mets did with Francisco Lindor?

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    1. They won’t trade Seager. especially if they are in the pennant race. Only way he gets traded is if they are totally out of it. You are not going with an unproven player like Lux replacing an offensive force like Seager. If Seager leaves via free agency , then maybe they give the job to Lux.

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      1. Dodgers pay Mookie…Bauer…before they play a game…but low ball negotiate with Seager….who was a one man wrecking crew in the post season… not very smart

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      2. They did not low ball Seager. Do not know where you heard that crap. They tried to negotiate an extension during spring training, but the talks got no where. Boras prefers to have his guys go into free agency. No matter what, Dodgers will make a QO to Seager so if he does sign somewhere else, they will get a draft pick

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  2. Scott Boris…of course. Didn’t realize he represented Seager. But it’s not unheard of for his clients to sign an extension. However, we are missing those warm and fuzzy phrases like “I’d like to be a Dodger the rest of my career” or “We’re going to do everything we can to bring Seager back.” Something just doesn’t seem like they are on the same page. Maybe I’m biased from all the trade rumors over the past couple off seasons.

    As far as Lux not being proven. By July 30th they’ll have a good idea what they’ve got. The next star or a journeyman. My speculation of trading Seager is based upon Lux having a great year and Michael Busch tearing it up in Oklahoma City when AAA Season starts.

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    1. I think it’s a given that Busch will perform well on offense. As I pointed out in the story, the big issues with Busch are his glove and his hands. If Seager doesn’t return, a middle infield of Lux and Busch worries me, specifically with Busch’s handling skills coupled with the way Gavin throws sometimes. Makes you almost want to have McKinstry in there somewhere.

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  3. Don’t think Lux and Rios are even close belonging in this discussion at this point in their careers and mckinstry is just a 2 week wonder right now. They all have a lot to prove right now. Think we’ll know a lot more by year end. I do like mckinstry and we /i tend to forget lux is still 23. Agree with Drake. Seager is gone. No indication he wants to be here. At least there are other options available next off season. Nice to have so many low cost options on the farm over the next few years.
    When you look at what most teams were struggling with during the last week of spring training, trying to get 35 year olds minor league sighnings on to their roster we struggle with 24 year olds. That’s my idea of player depth.

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    1. 5 years is a career for young guys. You can’t even project 2 years accurately. Law of averages says maybe one of the 4 will be around in 5 years. Maybe. None is also a good guess. Can’t you just tell i hate prospects! In 10 years we’ve never had a 1st, 2nd, 3rd baseman or outfielder ( bellinger does fit one of these) so I tend to discount prospects until they are not.

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  4. Nice win last night. May’s biggest weakness in my mind showed up last night. He tends to lose concentration sometimes and when he does, the other team starts hitting him. Another fine example last night of why MLB is going to use the electronic strike zone before too long. Home plate ump missed a lot of calls. And the strike three call on Taylor when the ball was 6 inches outside was ridiculous. I am surprised only Black got run from the game as bad as he was. And he is a 21 year vet.

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  5. I think by now we know what we have with Seager. The only remaining questions are whether he wants to be here going forward and whether AF will pay the price if Corey wants to stay.

    The real question mark to me is Bellinger. He’s had some spectacular moments for us but at times he looks like he has no idea what he’s doing at the plate. He has major value defensively and I guess he’ll always hit for power, but will he ever become the complete package? I just don’t know.

    CT3 has become a real asset and is a free agent after this year. Would anyone here offer him an extension right now? If so, how many years and for what $?

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    1. If Bellinger can remain on the field and improve plate discipline he could be a 5+ WAR .900 OPS guy every year. He’s pretty skinny. Maybe some weight room work would help. I’d also like to see him learn to bunt. He could hit .360 if learned to bunt.

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      1. I’m with Jeff. Surprise? Bellinger is way to inconsistent for me. Seems ro be good for 3 month per season. In both his rookie and mvp years, he was only average for 3 month. Maybe weight/ strength. I don’t know. We should be really all in on Seager and maybe ct3 and not worry too much about Bellinger. Until we know what the solution at 2nd and 3rd is going to be, assuming turner will become a dh.
        On the other hand, the way they are playing right now, it doesn’t matter.

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      2. Cody shouldn’t have a problem staying on the field going forward. The calf thing was a freak accident and Kike isn’t here any longer to blow out his shoulder.

        As far as becoming less skinny, he should use the method which has worked so well for me through the years. No exercise and lots of overeating. I haven’t been skinny since I was 10.

        I wonder if Belli’s problem is the same thing that May goes through and that is a loss of concentration. You would think a hitter could maintain concentration during an at bat, but who knows? Maybe maturity will take care of that problem for both of them.

        Totally agree that he doesn’t bunt nearly enough nor, for that matter does he go to left field. Maybe he just needs to learn that he doesn’t need to homer on every at bat. Muncy was making me crazy last year because to my mind he was pulling every pitch into the ground between first and second and right into the shift (yes, I realize that’s a gross exaggeration). My son sent me this link to a Fangraphs article on him today which shows he has made a major attempt this year not to pull everything. Granted, a very small sample size but the results are worth considering. If you haven’t seen this Scoop, you might find it of interest. Those of you who are into numbers, please take a look. Bear and others who aren’t, it will probably bore you to death.

        https://blogs.fangraphs.com/max-muncy-might-be-the-best-version-of-himself/

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  6. Actually it has appeared to me that the dodgers are hitting a way more to the opposite field than in past years.
    Nothing to support that but I’m pretty sure.

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