What Should Dodgers Fans Expect From Andrew Toles
By Kyle Zweng
Months ago, few had heard of Andrew Toles, who’s made a name for himself with the Dodgers.
It’s no longer a shock to Dodger fans that a large part of the lineup on a daily basis is filled with recent call-ups from Triple-A. Injuries have been a consistent narrative for the Dodgers throughout the year, and it seems to be only getting worse. One of the newer additions to the 25-man roster is the 24 year old Andrew Toles.
If you’re a casual Dodger fan, you may be thinking to yourself “who is this guy?”. Well, since he has only appeared 67 plate appearances in his professional career in the majors, it seems intuitive that we should look at his minor league numbers. But before we do that, it’s always nice to see how he performed in college.
After a very good freshman year at the University of Tennessee (part of the SEC, the best college baseball conference in America), Toles received an invitation to play in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer Baseball League (CCBL). I spent the past summer working for the CCBL and Toles’ slashline of .302/.350/.369 is extremely impressive. After playing one more year of college baseball at Chipola College, Toles headlined as the 3rd round by the Tampa Bay Rays where he simply kept on hitting. As a result as recently as 2014 Toles rated as the Rays 6th best prospect.
In 2015, Toles signed with the Dodgers by the same man who helped draft him in 2012: Andrew Friedman. Since joining the Dodgers’ farm organization, Toles hasn’t hit less than .314 and his wRC+ never dropped below 122 while rocketing from low-A ball to Triple-A. A combination of a minuscule K% and elite speed allowed him to succeed at any level including the majors so far.
But Toles’ first stint with the Dodgers so far are incredible. With a wRC+ and ISO at 204 and .293 respectively, Toles has been worth 1.0 WAR. Even with such limited action in the big leagues, Toles has been incredibly productive. But I wouldn’t expect this to continue. If he were to continue performing at the level he is now, he’d be entering the same territory as Kris Bryant and Josh Donaldson.
So, yeah, don’t expect this recent run of amazing success to be his standard. However, Toles is proving himself to be a legit major league piece. He’s shown a surprising amount of pop, and he could be a nice outfield piece moving forward.
Even though he can’t be one of the best hitters in the game, he can still be a productive piece on the Dodgers’ 25 man roster. His speed, ability to avoid a strikeout, and decent to above average defense is valuable especially on a constantly injured Dodgers team. Before joining the Dodgers’ organization, Toles’ career centered around off field issues while at the University of Tennessee and with Tampa Bay. But since coming to the Dodgers, everything has gone quiet. With those issues seemingly in the past and Toles’ ability to play good baseball, I fully expect him to be a part of the Dodgers future.