The Red Dream? Or The Cuban Missle? Who is Your Third Baseman?


The hot corner for the Dodgers is a hot topic these days. The Dodgers now have a plethora of third base options, and everyone has their opinion on who should be getting playing time. Technically Justin Turner (the red dream) is supposed to be the club’s starting third baseman. However everyone is finally realizing how enormously talented Alex Guerrero is.

Everybody wants Guerrero to play. Remember when Stacie and I told everyone how talented he was in the spring of 2014, and people actually argued that he should start in the minors? Then the Dodgers actually did put him in the minors, and he got his ear bit off, and then got hurt during winter ball, and never got a chance to play in more than a handful of games? Yeah that was fun wasn’t it? NOT!

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Then we also have Hector Olivera seemingly knocking on the door. Olivera is now 6 for 12 since joining Oklahoma City. Olivera went 2 for 3 with a double in last night’s 5-2 victory over Colorado Springs. Apparently he was removed from the game early, and many are speculating that he could be on his way up to the big club. I doubt the Dodgers are calling him up this soon, but who knows at this point. His early removal from Monday’s game could mean anything, or it could mean nothing.

As for the Dodger’s current third baseman, they also of course have Alberto Callaspo whom they acquired in the Juan Uribe trade. Who should be the everyday starting third baseman is the question.

The Dodgers probably feel that Alex Guerrero is better coming off the bench than he is as a starter. I am not saying I agree with it, but this seems to be the club’s thinking. Guerrero has been one of the best pinch-hitters in Baseball this year. Currently he is batting .333 (6 for 18) with 3 home runs and 8 RBI as a late innings pinch-hitter.

As a sub Guerrero has slashed .350/.381/.1.000 with 4 home runs. However as a starter, Guerrero is slashing .268/.298./536 with 6 home runs. Guerrero seems to hit better as a pinch-hitter. What about Turner? He is the exact opposite this season. As a starter, Turner is tearing the cover off the ball. When Turner is in the starting lineup he is slashing .339/.417/.500 with 3 home runs and 19 runs batted in. As a sub Turner is hitting .208/.240/.458 with two home runs. As a pinch-hitter, Turner is batting just .167 (2 for 12). Again I am not supporting this theory, I am just providing you with the numbers. You are free to formulate your own opinions.

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There is no doubt that both men are more comfortable at third base. When Turner is playing the hot corner, he is slashing .374/.441/.556 (37 for 99) with 3 home runs. Guerrero is hitting .441 (15 for 34) with 4 home runs as a third baseman. When Guerrero is in left field he is hitting only .181. You can possibly chalk that up to Guerrero being more comfortable at third than in left. With Yasiel Puig back from the disabled list, and Ethier moving to left field, Guerrero won’t have to play much left field anymore.

Let’s compare the two player’s overall offensive numbers thus far.

Turner – .316/.388/.493 (43 for 136) 5 home runs 24 RBI .881 OPS 145 OPS +

Guerrero – .282/.312/.615 10 home runs 28 RBI .927 OPS 152 OPS+

Both men have put up similar numbers, except for five extra long balls from Guerrero. Still that is very good production fron both players. Neither of them draw walks. Turner has 12 this year, and Guerrero just 5. Guerrero has whiffed 32 times, compared to Turner’s 23 times. How do each of them do with runners in scoring position? Well…..

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  • Runners in Scoring Position

    Turner – .361 (13 for 61) 3 home runs

    Guerrero – .333 (11 for 33) 2 home runs.

    As you can see both men are pretty equal in this production. Maybe the only difference overall between the two players could be that Turner has problems hitting left handers, .143 (4 for 28). Although it is such a small sample size, it’s hard to say it matters much.

    Defensively speaking, Turner is probably a little better than Guerrero. However Guerrero is a lot better at third than people give him credit for. Turner does have a +4 rating at third base, and has saved 21 runs above average at the position. Guerrero rates about league average, according to the defensive metrics.

    The main difference between the two third baseman is that Guerrero plays better off the bench, and Turner plays better in the starting lineup. I think that is what the Dodgers are basing this decision off of. I want to see more of Guerrero as well, but I think we have to remind ourselves that Turner is pretty good too. It’s a high quality problem to have too many talented third baseman.

    Who would your third baseman be, Justin Turner? Or Alex Guerrero?