Saturday, February 4, 2023
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Andrew Toles Filling In Big League Cleats. But Can He Stay Big League?

Andrew Toles, the kid from Georgia who wasn’t even on a baseball team in 2015, has become a welcome regular in the Dodgers’ starting lineup.

Luck has been in Toles’ favor this year as Andrew Friedman was already familiar with him, and injuries to Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson grooved a path for his arrival. Luck may have opened the door for him, but since his debut in early July, his talent – and hitting prowess have kept him in the lineup.

Toles has always had the talent in his pocket. He was a Tampa Bay Rays third round draft pick in 2012, and went on to be their minor league player of the year in 2013. He was on a fast track to The Show, but stumbled on issues from beyond the diamond. In 2014 he went missing for two months of the season and the Rays cut him in 2015.

So Toles went home to Georgia, got a gig in a supermarket and waited. I suppose he figured he’s got the juice, so it would only be a matter of time before the Pros came knocking. Believe it or not, they did.

Enter Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers. As the former GM for Tampa Bay, Friedman knew Toles as a player, and as a man with baggage from off the field. The Dodgers’ needs for a OF with a good bat made the decision, and I’m glad the Dodgers made this move.

Toles didn’t get any special favors and started at Single A ball. He quickly played his way up to AA by hitting .330 with 6 homers and – this is a nice one – 25 doubles. Just for good measure, he swiped 25 bases. The kid can play!

With Joc Pederson on the DL, Toles got the call up. He’s played 11 games and put up this line: .333, .400, .407, with an OPS of .807. I know it’s only 11 games, so I’m not carving his HOF bust, but I like what I see from Toles so far. In just 11 games, he’s got 9 hits, 2 doubles, and 6 stolen bases. I like that speed on the bases, and the Dodgers could use a couple of players who know what to do once they are on base.

All of that said, manager Dave Roberts is comfortable with Toles in center field, and so am I. He isn’t too acrobatic, or a wall-crasher, but he’s adequate with the leather. I would say he’s workmanlike out there.

Which brings up the elephant on the field. If Joc Pederson fails to find any hitting consistency over the next few weeks of the season, and Toles can keep the doubles coming, I’ll make the case for Toles to take Joc’s place.

I hope Andrew Toles is well on his way to ironing out whatever wrinkles were present in his personal life. He’s come along to the Dodgers at just the right time.

 

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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Oscar Martinez
I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.
http://alltradebait.blogspot.com/

45 thoughts on “Andrew Toles Filling In Big League Cleats. But Can He Stay Big League?

  1. Ugh…..I hope a guy with Toles’ apparent talent keeps on producing too. BUT, a guy with off field problems usually continues to have problems. And the adulation and defferential treatment – not to mention the eventual MONEY that comes with being a starting big leaguer – usually makes those off field problems worse, NOT better.

    Let’s just hope he’s not that guy anymore.

    1. In fairness to Toles, we do not have any idea what his issue(s) were. There is no history on this. We can’t see a pattern of behavior. Whatever it was, it was not public. It’s not like he squeezed off 8 rounds with a 9 MM in his garage. For some reason, no one has said anything. Maybe he was accused of something that turned out to be false.

      What we do know, is that he was drafted in 2012 and was the Rays Minor League Player of the Year in 2013. You can find references to a “bad attitude,” but that is about it. The Rays severed ties with him in 2014 and he ended up working in a grocery store. Talk about humbling – from Minor League Player of the Year to Grocery Stockboy.

      I really don’t care what his issue was. If it’s behind him, that is good enough for me. What I care about is the performance on the field and I would expect him to be professional in every way. So far, he meets the eye test. I do understand that the Rays felt he was not patient and didn’t take many pitches. So far, that is not something that is obvious to me. So far, he has taken 3 BB in 27 AB. OK…

      I am all for second chances – hopefully he makes the best of it. He has an energy about him that is contagious.

      1. We have some idea why. A simple google search can tell you a lot about someone.

        Toles has had an attitude problem everywhere he has been. Read up on it. Info is there.

        The Rays are notorious for getting guys like him and hoping a second or third chance will change behaviors. It’s part of their DNA as an impecunious franchise. Even they dumped him after repeated f’ ups.

        https://rayscoloredglasses.com/2015/03/31/andrew-toles-release-end-tampa-bay-rays-attitude-problems/

        But Andrew knows him. Maybe he has finally grown up. You know, like Milton Bradley did.

        1. Badger
          I read what you listed.

          All I can think is maybe Toles has done everything right, coming up through the Dodgers minor league system this year, or he wouldn’t have gotten this far.

          And actually the Dodger system does evaluate players, on there make up.

          And the Dodgers don’t need to settle, because they have a lot more resources then the Rays.

          In fact, Cory has scored the highest of any other prospect, on this make up evaluation.

          I can’t imagine anyone throwing away such an opportunity, so we will see.

      2. Toles had anxiety problems.

        What player doesn’t at times.

        I am not going to judge him, until he does something that justifies judgement.

        He is only 24, how many on here, had it altogether at 24?

        1. Point made MJ.

          But the league is filled with guys around that age that have put it together on the field. Kershaw won a Cy Young at 23, Harper and Trout won MVP’s at 22. Yes, all outliers, but can we start our search for more of those guys please?

          We have one in Seager. Maybe Urias is another. Bellinger? De Leon? One or more of the Cubans? Montas? Holmes? Now that I’m invested in the rebuild, I sure would like to find out.

          1. Badger
            Like I said, this front office is now working for the Dodgers, and they have way more resources then the Rays, so they better not settle for anyone.

            I know about all of those pitchers off the scrap heap, but I am hoping that kind of stuff, doesn’t continue, once are rotation is more solid.

            Badger I see you as a guy that is pretty fair, so we will see.

  2. On the idea that few prospects make the grade:

    It is true that most prospects are really “suspects.” They just don’t make the grade, but that’s not always true. Remember the infield of Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey to go with Freguson and Yeager at catcher?

    Look no farther than the 2014 Cardinal prospects:

    Oscar Taveras (I saw enough of him to know he was a superstar before he was killed)
    Shelby Miller (current troubles aside)
    Carlos Martinez
    Trevor Rosenthal
    Michael Wacha
    Matt Adams
    Seth Maness
    Kolten Wong
    Stephen Piscotty
    Randal Grichuk

    That was a pretty good farm system.

    Then there are the Cubs in 2015:

    Javier Baez
    Jorge Solar
    Kris Bryant
    Addison Russell
    Kyle Schwarber

    That was a nice group, not as deep but higher quality.

    So, it all boils down to picking the right players. In the past, Logan White liked to draft high school players, but they are always tough to project and sometimes they have hit their peak by the end of high school. FAZ is taking more older college players, but also picking high school players. Let’s see how they pick.

    This year they took Lux and Smith – we have to wait a while to see if they were good moves.

    In 2015 they took Funkhouser (who did not sign) and Buehler who had TJ – If Buehelr doesn’t become what they think (a #3) then the 2015 draft was a bust, but we will know next year.

    In Logan’s last draft, he took Grant Holmes, whom the jury is still out on.

    The 2013 first pick was Chris Anderson who has been a bust.

    2012 gave is Corey Seager – an A++++

    2011 gave us another bust – Chris Reed

    2010 – Bust – Zach Lee

    2009 – No pick

    2008 – Ethan Martin BUST

    2007 – Withrow – A high pick for a reliever?

    2006 – Avery Morris – WHO?

    2005 – Some guy named Kershaw!

    2004 – Blake De Witt – I admit I liked him but … BUST!

    2003 – C-Bill – OK that was good.

    2002- Loney – Nice, but not great.

    … then you have to go way back to 1994 to Paul Konerko to find an impact player.

    So, since 1994, the Dodgers have drafted 4 impact players: Seager, Kershaw, Bills and Loney in the first round.

    I can see why many of you are down on growing the farm. Past history. Hopefully these guys are smarter! Personally, I have never seen so many solid prospects in the Dodgers farm system than now.

    I don’t know what happened to De Leon last night, but we won’t see seeing him in LA anytime soon as he go beat like a rented mule!

    I would not trade for Archer – he may or may not be any better than what we have. I get that pitching for a crappy team can give you opticrectumitis – that where a nerve in you eye… never mind, it just gives you a shitty outlook on life.

    I am already on record that I would trade Urias and Holmes for Chris Sale. Make that happen.

    1. I tend to agree with you on including Urias in a Chris Sale deal, mostly because of Sale’s still young age. I do NOT agree you let Urias go for anyone less than a Sale caliber starting pitcher. And Archer ain’t that now!

      I agree the farm is as good as I ever remember it being. Ok, maybe when we produced Karros, Piazza, Mondesi, Nomo* and Hollandsworth it was as good(?) But now? We’re loaded. Spend it VERY reluctantly and very cautiously is my hope.

    2. Here’s the hypocrisy……Throughout the entire off season those that wanted to hang onto ALL prospects were not willing to part with Urias for Jose Fernandez straight up…..Jose Fernandez, 23 years of age, proven success at the big league level.

      Now, let’s trade him and throw in others for a 27 y/o pitcher with over a 1,000 innings on his arm.

      Come on. His value has dropped in everyone’s eyes.

      Not saying that he can’t be a good pitcher but he’s no future Kershaw, Koufax or Valenzuela (in his prime) like some have made him out to be.

    3. I have long suspected that a significant part of the Dodgers’ failures to draft impact players is as much about player development as it is about whom they drafted.

      You can draft the best talent but if you don’t develop it correctly, you’ll never get the quality major leaguers that you need.

      1. There have been a lot of internal changes in our development departments. We won’t know how these changes will impact the ML roster for a while. I’d give it til Thursday.

    4. Just an observation but your list of organizations that have produced ‘more than a few’ prospects did not include the Rays or A’s……. but rather a couple of organizations where the GM’s/Presidents are allowed at the Big Boys table.

    5. Mark
      Your not afraid that Sales skinny body might not hold up?

      The only other thing I would question is that Sale is a year younger then Kershaw, while Urias is only 19.

      If they are planning on 2018, how many good years will Kershaw and Sale have left, after 2018?

      I read that in 2014 Sale had forehand tightness, but the scans had no structural damage.

      Is that just pitchers, or is that something to worry about?

      And the other thing I question about Sale, is his attitude.

      I don’t think Kershaw will put up with any pitcher, that thinks he is more important then the team.

    6. I think that 1968 draft spoiled us Dodger fans.

      That is still considered the best draft in baseball history.

      And the infield you mentioned, is not all of the players, that the Dodgers drafted, in 1968 that became major league players.

      And I don’t think Russell was in that draft, because I think he came up sooner, but I could be wrong, because I was really young, when that infield, started playing together on the major league team.

    1. Other than the fact he did not want to wear wool throwback uniforms when the temps were pushing 100 degrees in the Midwest, not sure there are truly attitude problems except he has high expectations for himself.

    2. Wondering
      I don’t like what he did, and I don’t think that Kershaw would like a pitcher, that thinks he is bigger then the team.

      If anyone on us, we’re getting paid the money these big leaguers are, to play baseball, we would wear the uniform the team wanted us to wear.

      Obviously Sale is not in touch with the real world.

      1. Not necessarily. Sale does not have a track record except he has high expectations for himself. He is a competitor. He takes the ball and expects to finish what he starts.

        Players like to look good and more importantly feel good. It was his day to pitch. I’m pretty sure he has wore that same throwback wool uniform before but it’s possible he did not pitch that day and it’s probably safe to say that it wasn’t mid to high 90’s.

        When some nerd in the climate control office is choosing what throwback uniform to wear and you’re the starting pitcher well, last time I knew, most teams wanted their starting pitcher to feel as comfortable as possible. Sale voiced his concern and it fell on deaf ears. So he reacted.

        I’ll take him on my team in a heartbeat!

        1. Chili
          These promotions are decided a year before.

          And Sale didn’t have to cut up every players uniform, or any uniform, he should have spoke sooner with the manager, if he was so adamant that he didn’t want to wear that uniform.

          And by the way, the team raises there revenue with these promotions, to pay these players.

          Sale was all in that controversy about the player wanted his son, to be able to be with the team everyday.

          What he did was irrational, and this could have been handled before hand, and more rational.

          He actually sounds like a big baby.

          1. I don’t know. Everything I’ve read, and the videos I’ve seen, Sale sounds reasonable to me.

            http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/03/chicago-white-sox-chris-sale-kenny-williams-adam-laroche-drake-mlb

            That team unraveled and one has to ask why. What Sale has to say about it makes sense to me.

            As for those jerseys, dark blue wool jerseys on a 90+ degree day sounds like a terrible idea. Him taking a knife to them doesn’t sound like a good idea either but Sale was really pissed and it’s been building for a while. He could have handled it better, sure, but damn, message received.

          2. It’s very possible and likely that he didn’t know which throwback uniform was going to be worn until the day before. Purely speculation on my part but I do know that the White Sox probably have the largest list of throwback uniforms as they have changed their look MANY times over the years. Maybe Sale was opting for the ‘shorts’ (yes they have wore shorts in the past) instead of the wool on a day when the temps are pushing 100.

            Planning a throwback day and asking the players to wear the wool, dark blue uniforms in July is piss poor planning. Maybe the personnel that decided that should be suspended without pay as well.

            Being the team leader he is, he was looking out for the rest of his teammates as I’m sure many were disgruntled with the choice of apparel for that given day.

            Just as a comparison since I know you like Grienke a lot…..Sale is more respected in the White Sox clubhouse than Grienke was in the Dodgers.

          3. The Sox have won 3 straight games via the walk off fashion since the incident. Trust me, THEY appreciate what Sale did for them.

            Don’t get caught up in the 5 game suspension……that is one start. The one start in the dark blue, collared, wool throwback uniforms that Sale did not want to pitch in to begin with. His teammates were able to wear cooler uniforms while the temps were in the mid nineties but the heat index was well over 100 degrees.

      2. Don’t forget he was on the dumb side in that LaRoche thing earlier this year. I tend to think Mr. Sale’s elevator doesn’t go all the way to the Penthouse…

        1. I truly have no dog in this fight but do you say the same about Grienke? Sale takes on management when he thinks they are handicapping the team or (as in LaRoche’s case) lying to the team.

          Grienke took action with another MLB players personal belongings. Was he suspended?

          1. chili, the article I read said the White Sox knew well in advance that Sale didn’t want to pitch in that uniform. He allegedly didn’t know they were going to go ahead with it until he walked in and saw them hanging there. He thought it was an “in your face” move by the team and he reacted. I can’t find the video now, but in it he said he wasn’t alone in feeling “lied to” and everyone knows it is VP Williams to whom he refers. I don’t know what happened there, but management might want to think about smoothing things over with their ace. If he ain’t happy, that ripple can spread.

        2. Chili
          Sales better not be traded to the Dbacks then!

          But I don’t care what he did was unrational, and wasn’t handled properly.

          A child can do something irrational and that can be excused, but Sale is an adult, making millions, playing a child’s game.

          I knew the White Sox had worn shorts, I am old enough to remember that, and it was all over the news, when they wore the shorts.

          Also doesn’t the White Sox have a deep history in promoting things.

          Wasn’t this the team, that hired the little person, to go up to the plate, and have an at bat?

          Wasn’t the Former White Sox owner, suppose to be the best promotion guy in baseball at one time?

          I believe the White Sox, have a deep history of promotion.

          Also there are a lot of things we don’t want to do in life, but please pick the important things to make such an issue about, and that isn’t uniforms.

          1. And Chili
            This was for only one day!

            And this was from a pitcher, who only pitches every five days.

  3. So, how many top prospects come up each year? You can go back over the last decade or so and those that show up in the Top 25 have a pretty solid performance record. We have Kershaw, Seager, Urias and De Leon in that group now, with a couple others moving that direction. After my meltdown at last year’s deadline hairball gag, I got on board with not trading the top prospects and building from within. Now we are talking about going away from that? Does this switch in philosophy have anything to do with the midgets slide? Do we really believe it’s time to go all in? With Kershaw on the shelf and Maeda, Kazmir, McCarthy and …. whoever until October?

    I’m not on board yet. Stay the course. Build for the future. Keep our top 5. If something can be done using lesser prospects, fine. But as of today, I play the odds. And the odds scream caution.

  4. I see sales thinking after a year or two he says I am worth more than what I am being paid,the attitude kicks in performance starts to decline. Stay away from sales,we changed our though about chapman.

  5. Interesting thread.

    Mark, good summary of Dodger drafting. Very disappointing, except, the two very high picks, Kershaw and Seager. The rest not so good. I agree with dodgerrick, player development was probably a problem. FAZ has addressed that, lets see if they addressed it correctly.

    Badger, other than his usual insistence that FAZ swallowed a hairball last deadline is also sounding quite reasonable, “Build for the future”. Yes, we agree, but we are also competing right now. Good job FAZ!

    Happily, we have a very deep farm system. Part of maximizing the value of that farm system, is potentially using some of it for trade pieces, top 5 and all the way down the list. Is FAZ doing a good job showcasing the minor league players, preparing to trade some at the “height” of their value? Is a dominating Triple A, Urias’s trade value greater than a 19 yr old MLB rookie Urias (showing lots of potential). How about De Leon? If he hadn’t got lit it up last night could we be talking about him for Sale? How about how FAZ utilizes Stripling? Bring him up for a taste of MLB action, take him back to Camelback, bring him up for a clutch relief appearance, send him back down. Limit his innings, giving him maximum chance for success. I for one, think they are doing a good job in this respect. What is Andrew Tole’s trade value today?

    The argument that FAZ is somehow is incapable of big moves is silly. FAZ realizes that money and prospects are finite. The big moves will come ONLY when FAZ determines there is an opportunity to improve, just like the little moves. Good big moves just don’t present themselves very often. Urias for Hamel and his $20M salary, maybe not, Urias for Sale and his $6M salary, maybe.

    How can we know FAZ’s personnel decisions are good? Well, how about this, Badger one of FAZ’s biggest critics is almost on board with the “plan”. But to his surprise, with our “depth”we are also competing this year. YES!!

    And this, the Midgets spent over $250M last offseason, for what, a 2 1/2 game lead. Epic Failure. You think they aren’t looking over their shoulders at the damn (injury riddled) Dodgers? I know their fans are. Love it!!!

    I think some have forgotten Dodger GMs Lasorda, Sheriff Malone, De Podesta and the Nedster and their 20 year championship drought.

    Yes, Badger, we should “Stay the Course” with FAZ.

    1. Ok. A step toward civility. And some agreement. The future! I’m in.

      I don’t believe FAZ is incapable of pulling off the big move. I’m saying I haven’t seen it yet. The biggest move they’ve made, in my estimation, is rebuilding management and rebuilding it system wide. Looks like an organizational house cleaning to me. To what end? Well, if we look at how other organizations have done it, I would say the end is a championship but it isn’t now, it’s out there a few years and it’s going to include more, and less. More of our own team controlled stars and less of proven, but expensive past prime players. And it is THAT paradigm, dated phrase but one we are all familiar with, that I am all in on.

      It’s great we are competing this year. But I say again, exercise caution at this deadline. I see several teams out there I feel are currently better prepared to take it home. I’m ok with that (as long as it isn’t the freakin midgets) as I see what I believe to be a very bright future. I could be wrong about that, but I don’t think I am.

  6. Chili, I was all for sending Urias for Jose Fernandez. Fernandez is in the same class as Sale, and he’s 23!! And right handed. Better compliment to Kersh. I still would do that now, but Miami is in the playoff hunt.

    Maybe in the offseason we can go get him

      1. I would have done that deal as well BUT it flies in the face of those that don’t want long term big $ contracts. Between Stanton and Kershaw, in a couple of years would be looking at $65-$70M annually for just those 2 with Fernandez coming up on his first big pay day.

        The reality is that the Marlins would not have done that deal as Mattingly landing in Miami has complicated most any move with them. I’m guessing he has no desire to acquire Puig but they could have moved him so maybe a Urias, Puig, Pederson and Holmes would/could have gotten it done.

        1. Chili
          I think that trade is way to late now.

          The Marlins owner, was not happy with the teams centerfielder’s performance last year, and the owner actually wanted to send his centerfielder, down to AAA.

          But this year, there centerfielder, is hitting really well, and I believe he was an Allstar this year.

          Bonds has really helped some of the Marlin’s players, hit really well this year.

          And when the Marlins started out bad, Mattingly talked badly about Bonds, to the press.

          It was like Mattingly was trying to put the blame on Bonds, for the team not playing well early.

          1. I agree that its too late. Thats where vision is needed. I’ve seen no real vision when it comes to player evaluation/development. Believing we have Koufax (Urias) and Drysdale (DeLeon) in the minors is ludicrous. They AREN’T and WON’T BE. I had heard that Urias got all borderline calls. Facing inferior hitters and getting the calls. Thats where true evaluation and vision is needed. Building them up to trade them would have been more appropriate. Just keep in mind the Dodgers could easily have Kershaw, Grienke and Hamels or Fernandez or Sale but they would have had to part with Urias and another young top prospect . So what. If you are good at drafting, developing and acquiring talent then it should not be tough to fill the void. That additional proven pitcher buys time. Just pure lack of vision.

    1. Bobby
      Your not concerned with Jose’s TJ surgery?

      The other thing I worry about with Fernandez, is the fact that he is always pitching at full force.

      He uses everything he can, to throw every pitch he throws.

      1. Fernandez and Stanton? If Miami did that they would lose half of the 20,000 people that do bother to show up. I just don’t see that happening. There’s a lot I don’t see happening. What I do see happening is somebody like Archer or Odorizzi. We might be able to get one of them without moving a Top 5.

      2. Chili
        I agree we won’t know what kind of pitcher Urias really is, until he is able to pitch further into games.

        He hasn’t faced the line up, the third time around.

        Like I have said before, there are a lot of pitchers, that would look really good, if they didn’t have to face a line up, three times through the order.

        Until Urias does that in AAA, and is successsful, we won’t know what he will be, once he reaches the majors.

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