Back in November the Dodgers exercised Logan Forsythe’s 8.5 million dollar club option. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season, and it is fair to wonder if this is his last in Dodger blue. The club acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in a deal that sent top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa in exchange for Forsythe. The 31-year old keystone veteran had a mostly atrocious opening campaign with the bat in 2017, but made up for that with a productive postseason.
The Dodgers are preparing to open the 2018 season with Forsythe as their starting second baseman. Last season Forsythe appeared in 119 games and slashed ./224/.351/.327 in 439 plate appearances. The steady veteran’s batting and power numbers were so low that we often questioned why the Dodgers continued to play him. Of course an early season foot injury seemed to hamper him, and maybe he never recovered. Forsythe hit just 6 home runs and drove in only 36 runs. That gave him one of the lowest isolated power marks (.102) contributing to posting a below average OPS+ of 90.
This made us all raise an eyebrow. If you look deeply you’ll see Forsythe’s pitiful power and batting skills were eerily similar to the numbers he put up in San Diego earlier in his career. Actually if we take a look we notice….
2011 – .213/.281/.287 –OPS+ 62
2012 – .273/.343/.390 –OPS+ 107
2013 – .214/.281/.332 –OPS+77
2014 – .223/.287/.329 –OPS+77
2017 – .224/.351/.327 –OPS+ 82
While Forsythe regressed with the bat, there was one thing he did well and that was getting on base and seeing a lot of pitches. Forsythe walked 69 times and struck out just 109 times last season. His BB% was 15.7% which was the highest of his career. He also saw the most pitches of any other second baseman in the league.
Unfortunately Forsythe had a massive reverse split during the 2017 season. He hit only .190 against right handed pitching but crushed lefties with .290/.418/.452 line in 153 plate appearances. You would think that made him a great platoon candidate, and the Dodgers mostly obliged by playing Chase Utley at second base against right handers in some games down the stretch.
The strange thing about Forsythe’s season was that April was his best month. He batted .295/.407/.341 (13 or 44) in April and then plummeted to .160 in May. He was awful down the stretch as September was one of his worst months. Forsythe batted just .197 (14 for 71) in the final month with a .640 OPS. He hit just .244 with runners in scoring position.
On the defensive side, Forsythe was steady as a rock posting plus metrics at second base and third. He spent most of his time at second base (80 games), but also saw considerable amounts of playing time (42 games) at third. Forsythe posted a +1 runs above average rating at second base while saving 5 runs. He posted a +5 defensive rating at third base while registering 4 defensive runs saved there as well. Forsythe generally makes all the routine plays, committing only 3 errors apiece at second and third. He also notched 3 games in left field, 2 at shortstop, and one at first base.
Forsythe was very productive in the postseason. He stuck to his brand of game. He didn’t hit any home runs, but batted well, got on-base and scored a lot of runs. He saw a lot of pitches and played good defense. His plat discipline was excellent as he slashed .297/.435/.351 with 9 walks and 7 strikeouts in 46 postseason plate appearances. Forsythe batted .444 (4 for 9) with 4 runs scored in the NLDS against Arizona. He then went on to hit .278 (5 for 18) with 3 runs scored, 4 walks, and 3 RBIs in 22 trips to the plate in the World Series.
There aren’t many alternatives at second base for the Dodgers. Enrique Hernandez can spell Forsythe on occasion, Chris Taylor can play there as well, but he should be manning center field on most days. Chase Utley is a free agent and probably not coming back. Maybe Rob Segedin or Austin Barnes can fill some games as well? Otherwise Forsythe is it at second base. That’s not a bad thing either as he does a lot of things well. Excellent plate discipline, a steady glove and good on-base skills are there. The Dodgers are hoping for a return to his Tampa Bay form in which he blasted 17 and 20 home runs respectively. If he can’t then the Dodgers may have to start looking outside the organization for a replacement.