The Dodgers optioned Scott Van Slyke to make room for fellow outfielder Franklin Gutierrez who was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday afternoon. Gutierrez was battling a hamstring injury and the Dodgers needed roster space. So they bid adieu to Van Slyke. The move definitely made sense. As I explained before, Van Slyke was one of a few roster spot wasters on the Dodgers and there was no reason to keep him since injury and age has rendered his offensive skills useless.
Yes Van Slyke is bad now. In 2017 before being optioned Van Slyke was batting .129 ( 4 for 31) with one home run and a .508 OPS. Van Slyke has recorded a putrid .250 OBP and had more strikeouts (12) than extra-base hits (2). In 21 games played this year, Van Slyke has a 39 OPS + His career has been derailed by injuries over the last few years. Yes He’s bad, and sending him down to Oklahoma City helps rid the club of an automatic out.
But I can’t help but remember all the good times that Van Slyke has provided the Dodgers. You see I’m a sentimental type of a guy, and I look back on Van Slyke’s career with fond memories. The son of former MLB center fielder Andy Van Slyke was drafted by the Dodgers in the 14 round of the 2005 amateur draft. He didn’t make his MLB debut until the 2012 season.
If you remember Van Slyke recorded his first major league hit in his first game against the Giants back on May 9, 2012. That was a broken-bat pinch-hit single. That 2012 team was an interesting one. Who could forget those upstart Dodgers. Back then his teammates included Bobby Abreu, James Loney, and Tony Gwynn Jr among others.
Van Slyke’s first major league home run came nearly five years ago to the day on May 20, 2012 against the Cardinals on Sunday night baseball. The Dodgers were down 5-2 in the seventh and Van Slyke was pinch-hitting against left hander Marc Rzepczynski with two runners on base. Van Slyke was thrown three consecutive balls to get ahead of the count 3-0. The camera panned over to Cardinal’s manager Mike Matheny who was seen mouthing the words “He’s swinging”. Swinging he was as Van Sluggo bombed a three-run shot over the fence to give the Dodgers a 6-5 win.
That would be the first of his 28 career MLB home runs. He’s had a walk-off shot or two as well. One was against the Marlins in 2015.
Oh and this one too….
How could anyone forget his goofy standoff before the national anthem of game 6 of the 2013 NLCS
Van Slyke’s best season was probably the 2013 year when he batted .297 with a .386 OBP and 11 home runs in 246 plate appearances. He was always known as a lefty masher. Van Slyke posted a career .829 OPS with 18 home runs against southpaws.
We might see Van Slyke again at some point later in the season, but if we don’t how could anyone forget Andy Van Slyke’s son who fought and clawed his way to the majors. He’s been a nice power bat off the bench in the late innings and provided us with a lot of good moments. Take care Scotty.