Dodgers Poll: Who’s Your Starting Left Fielder?

Matt Kemp

There’s been little drama or intrigue this spring in Dodgers camp. There have been minimal injuries and very few camp battles. Most of the roster is set with the exception of left field. It’s a continuous fight between five players. Matt Kemp, Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo and Trayce Thompson are all playing for the starting left field job. As of this moment Matt Kemp version 2.0 seems to have the edge over everyone else. But anything is possible between now and opening day on March 29.

Who's Your Starting Left Fielder?

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So far Kemp has impressed with his powerful bat. He showed up to camp in great physical shape and it looks like all of the hard work he’s done is paying off. Kemp is batting .379 (11 for 29) this spring with 4 home runs (leading the club) and 7 runs batted in. Most importantly he’s struck out just five times in 29 at-bats. Defense will always be a concern with him, but as long as he’s serviceable out in the field then his bat will more than make up for his defensive shortcomings.

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Of course Andrew Toles is a fine mix of athleticism, range, and speed. That doesn’t mean that Toles doesn’t have power, because he certainly does. Toles has had a good spring as well. He’s batting .355 (11 for 29) with 2 home runs and 9 runs batted in. He looks completely healed from the knee injury that cost him most of the 2017 season.

Two of the other players, Alex Verdugo and Tracye Thompson have hit well, but with little or no power. Verdugo is a young toolsy prospect, whom many believe is ready to break out. He’s batted .333 (9 for 27) with 2 home runs and 9 runs batted in over 14 games this spring. Thompson, (who is out of options) has batted .320 (8 for 25) but has driven in only one run and has yet to hit a home run in spring. We all know that spring numbers don’t mean much, but Thompson has zero extra-base hits this spring. It’s amazing that Thompson is even able to play at all considering he had to overcome fractures in his back.

And then there’s Joc Pederson. The former starting center fielder has not played well and has not had much playing time lately. Joc is batting a paltry .152 (5 for 33) with 9 strikeouts in 12 games. Joc has really fallen far on the depth chart and on hard times.

So I wanted to post a poll and see what you guys are thinking. Who do you think will be the starting left fielder? Vote Now! Or receive a visit from P.Diddy. Now get in that polling booth! I mean open your browsers and clickity-click.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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26 thoughts on “Dodgers Poll: Who’s Your Starting Left Fielder?

  1. Matt Kemp starts opening day vs Bum and we all give him a welcome back standing ovation. After that, we do our usual mix and match and everyone gets to play a lot this year, because that’s just how we do things now.

    Toles is ready. Verdugo is ready. Joc is ready for AAA. But Kemp starts opening day

  2. I’m in on Kemp, but Toles has certainly proved he’s ready for the assignment. He has been impressive and I can see him in a similar situation that Taylor was in last year being no one really expected him to excel and be a driving force on the club which he turned out to be.

    Kemp still has the power and clout to do damage. But, at some point in the season, if the Dodgers can do a trade bringing a much needed pitcher back to us for Kemp, I would not be heart-broken. Otherwise, let’s see where the chips fall. Even with injury to Kemp, we are set at LF. Joc should be the odd man out this time.

    This would leave two other players that would be under the microscope this season, Forsythe and Grandal. Forsythe has had a terrific pre-season, Grandal has not. Farmer, otoh, looks to challenge as Barnes has looked weaker than Grandal. Even Ruiz looked better. Nice to see some depth there. If Forsythe fizzles, who is that 3B base guy Peter? Peters? Can they play 2B? They looked good. Dodgers have some serious talent on the farm.

  3. As everyone knows, I have been an advocate for Kemp, almost since the day I heard he was traded to the Dodgers.

    Because I knew what kind of hitter he was, and still is, and after he came to spring training in great shape, I knew his head was in the right mentality to help the team.

    Because we have been missing a big right hand bat, since Kemp and Hanley was traded, so we really haven’t had much protection for our clean up hitters, since those two, were traded.

    And I just think Kemp’s bat in this line up, will make the most profound difference in our line up, of all the outfield candidates.

    Because Kemp is the only outfielder that I think can provide great protection for Cody in the line up, because Kemp not only has the power to do this, he can be a very good hitter, if he is in the right mind set, like he is now.

    I like Toles a lot, and I feel mixed emotions, about Toles being Kemp’s back up, in the line up.

    Because I think Toles has to be an almost everyday player, to be at the top of his game.

    I think it might be better for the team, and Toles, if Toles is playing everyday in AAA, and getting consistent at bats.

    Because that would keep Toles sharp, and ready to fill in, if Kemp or any of our outfielders, go down.

    Because I think Kemp will be getting most of the at bats on the team, so I think any outfielder that is sitting on the bench in the majors, won’t be able to remain sharp, especially with their bat, because they will be sitting on the bench, way to much.

  4. To begin with it’s a no brainer, Kemp is the LF. He is paid too much to not play, even if you are just trying to drive up his sale price in a trade. Second, Kemp is going to have injuries thru out the season, thus you need a quality back up, Toles is better than a quality backup, Toles gets his time playing in all three spots. Third, I’m not sold on Seager being healthy, thus it could be very likely that Taylor is our SS and CF is open for Toles to troll out there (see what I did there?)

    Back to Kemp, losing 40 lbs is going to make Kemp a better outfielder, carrying that much beef made him a poor fielder and prone to injury, thus he may very well have an outstanding year, hell a few years ago he was being touted as a 5 tools player. If he is in shape and stays healthy, you may be looking at a Comeback Playa of the Year. Just keep Rhianna and all other good looking women away from him, thus eliminating the basket case scenario.

    1. Seager is a concern. His health, that is. If he is not 100% or close, it will affect his bat and his glove. He is one of the slumpers on the team, albeit in a different category than Joc and Grandal. It’s a good bet his slumping is health related.

      If Seager is scratched for health reasons, I’m not sure I would move Taylor to SS. Kike would likely get the start and if he continued to play like he is in ST, he will help the team a lot. He is showing signs of becoming a much better player.

      At CF, my money would ride on Peters. Where are you going to find a Bellinger body like that on another outfielder? I would feel very secure having him and his size at CF. I think the depth weakness is at 1B. Who can really replace Bellinger? Segedin is a big ? I don’t like Utley for anything, at this point. I don’t think you can rely on a player at his stage of his career or take away the playing time from an up and comer. I can’t really figure out why the Dodgers kept him on? With all the talent that I’ve seen this Spring, they don’t need Utley at all.

      1. Jeff

        If you are talking about Peters this year, he has only played up to A ball, and he had about 180 strike outs at A ball, so he needs to cut down on his strike outs.

        If any outfielder would be moved up it would be Verdugo before Peters.

        1. Peters is going to be a difference maker, MJ. There may be others that are higher in the pecking order, but this guy seems to have the package that many teams look for. Keep your eye on him.

  5. Right now Matty hands down. As long as he stays healthy and gives them decent defense, he is da man……..Verdugo is hitting but with little power. Joc lost a spot with his lousy spring bat. Toles is a good mixture of power and consistency. Verdugo makes the team next year, not this year. The outfielders will be Kemp, Taylor, Puig, Toles and Kike for emergency’s or a day off.

  6. We will likely need all of our OF options, but it is best to start Kemp and have Toles be the defensive replacement and occasional platoon. There is not much downside to Kemp getting most of the ABs before the ASB. The better he does, the better our team gets and the more easily he can be moved if we have to do so to get a proven pitcher.

    Question is whether you want Toles playing part time or Joc playing part time.

    For me it is also best to have Joc start in AAA. Joc’s value is at a very low point now and keeping him as a bench piece on the 25 man is not going to help his value (and it could actually drop further as he could get even worse if that is imaginable). Maybe he goes on a tear in AAA and gets his confidence back. If he flops in AAA, at least he’s contributing to AAA losses and not MLB losses.

    Toles can play all 3 outfield spots, and Kemp, Puig and Taylor being all right handed bats (as is Hernandez), I think Toles will get plenty of at bats even if he does not start.

  7. By the way, Scott picked up on the fact that there are not many injuries in ST this year.

    Could it be because the FBZ stopped picking up injury prone projects like Kazmir, McCarthy and Andersen?

  8. Nosler’s 11-20 prospects list is out on Dodgers Digest. It’s an interesting list – some names there are definitely worth keeping tabs on. Santana, Alvarez and Ruiz not on this list, so they will be in the top 10.

    From the eye test, I think Nosler sold Jake Peter a bit short by ranking him at 29. DJ Peters is the real deal (for me). He has that Bellinger feel to him, and you don’t get that physique at that height just from genes – he’s likely in love with weights. I’d go out on a limb and predict he’s the next Giancarlo Stanton. I think we will be a top 5 farm system next year. I love how Ruiz and Peters look so far, and we may see the revenge of Alvarez this year.

    1. Peters looks like Werth now. In 2 years, I think Peters will prove he has way more power than Werth and as he ages will be a beast of a kid. I see him turning into a Stanton type player. I hope.

        1. Badger

          A friend of mine made this same comparison a while back, and I thought it was a pretty good comparison.

          YF I hope your right, like Badger already said, because there are not to many Stantons.

  9. This is so interesting. Many scouts pooh-pooh the Werth comparison, but I see it everywhere on fan comment sections. I see it physically, but not in the box.

    I’m sure the team would be over-the-freaking-moon if Peters turned into the player Werth is.

    Roberts said he has “long levers”, I’m assuming that means arms.

      1. I just thought he looks like Werth. I don’t know enough about him to compare swings. He’s an inch taller. I agree with Bluto – the team would be thrilled if he puts up Werth lines. Career .267/.360/.455 and OPS’d over .849 six times. If he’s better than that? Wow.

        1. Badger

          I think Werth would be more likely, since there is not that many Stantons.

          But the Yankees had the one prospect that looks close to Stanton now, now that that prospect is a major leaguer.

          It is hard to tell, when the guy hasn’t played higher then A ball yet.

          Colleti said his biggest regret was that he didn’t draft Stanton, because they thought Stanton would go to USC and play football.

          1. I agree MJ. Stanton is very unique. But the Yankees may have two of him.

            Peters struck out 189 times in A+. Let’s see what he does at AA.

            Colletti apparently didn’t talk to Stanton. He talked Zach Lee out of LSU, he could have talked Stanton out of USC.

  10. Badger

    I said the Yankees had two Stantons, earlier, above.

    I only read that that was Colletti’s biggest regret, it didn’t go into the details about what Colletti did, or didn’t do.

    With the way baseball players are paid these days, I don’t understand why an athlete would not pick baseball, as their professional sport.

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