Dodgers: Logan Forsythe Can Fill A Void We Missed Last Season
By Evan Shin
The Dodgers’ second baseman, Logan Forsythe, offers a plethora of skills and attributes. He won’t light up the stat sheet, but he is the cog in the machine that keeps it running smoothly. A closer look at what kind of player the 30-year-old is, reveals he can be a major difference in 2017.
The Dodgers didn’t make many big acquisitions this Winter, other than retaining their stars and trading for Forsythe. For months, speculation of a trade for Minnesota Twins’ second baseman, Brian Dozier, swirled around the Southland. However, a deal couldn’t be worked out and the Dodgers went with the former Tampa Bay Ray.
There were mixed reactions, and a significant amount of uproar for what would look like a minor deal relative to the other contracts the Dodgers have inked. Some even said giving up the then number two prospect, Jose De Leon, for Forsythe was a trade reminiscent to Pedro Martinez for DeLino DeShields Sr. But, contrary to popular trend, baseball is more than just numbers and rankings.
Forsythe brings more to the table both on and off the field. Evan Longoria’s tweet is proof of Forsythe’s influence on a clubhouse. According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, Longoria said this of Forsythe.
"“I don’t know that I’ll ever get over losing Logan, because we got real close and he became one of the clubhouse leaders. So when you take that away, it feels like there’s a much bigger void.”"
Longoria’s testimony of Forsythe’s impact comes with a lot of weight because it is coming from a player who’s stepped up in the biggest moments and has been that club’s star for the last nine years.
Additionally, Dave Roberts had Forsythe as a player in San Diego, and Andrew Friedman had him in both San Diego and Tampa Bay. Both have said positive things about the versatile infielder. Clearly, they knew what they were getting when they traded for him.
As mentioned, Forsythe won’t light up anything with his stats, but baseball intelligence is hard to measure with numbers or highlights. Finding a video highlight of him was hard to find, which speaks to his lack of flashiness. He makes the routine plays, does the job, and anything extraordinary is a result of great anticipation and baseball intelligence.
Next time you watch a Dodger game in person, watch his movements before every pitch. It has to be in person because the cameras will likely be on his double-play partner.
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Forsythe had a solid spring, finishing hitting .340 in 53 at-bats and only eight strikeouts. In his first six games, however, he’s struck out nine times and is only batting .158. The average will rise, especially after his multi-hit game on Sunday, but the strikeouts early on are unexpected. After Sunday’s, 3-5 performance in Coors Field, Forsythe is hitting a solid .250 after the first week of the season.
Forsythe embodies the characteristics of a smart, contact-hitting, defensively solid middle infielder at first sight. Though, perhaps due to the trend involving launch angles and exit velocities, his power numbers have gone up the past two seasons in compliment to his strikeout totals.
Still, since he knows he’s in a lineup full of power, so he’ll likely find a balance between line drives and fly balls. So far this season, he’s averaging a 12.31-degree launch angle and a 94.69 MPH exit velocity. All above league average, but not enough to calculate a home run.
He hit 37 home runs with 120 RBI in the last two seasons and compiled 238 strikeouts along the way. Forsythe also batted .273 in those two years and managed a .700+ OPS. If his trend continues, he can hit 15-20 home runs, with 50 or so RBI, while batting around .260 or .270. His OPS may go up from his career-high .804 because he may draw more walks, and get more pitches to hit in the Dodgers’ lineup.
The comparison between Logan Forsythe and a younger, less talented version of Chase Utley seems pretty accurate. His talent may not equal Utley’s in his prime, but his intelligence and clubhouse presence is equal to or more than Utley’s. Luckily for the Dodgers, they have both Utley and Forsythe in the clubhouse.
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For a team like the Dodgers, filled with superstars and ten minutes from Hollywood without traffic, guys like Forsythe are essential. We all saw what Utley’s presence did to the Dodgers last year, and Forsythe has a history of being the glue of a clubhouse. His presence could be that x-factor for the Dodgers. His versatility will also help the machine run smoothly throughout the season.