Trayce Thompson has been with the Dodgers for over a year now. He’s bounced between The Show and the minors a few of times, so when considering his age and talent, does he have a future in blue?
The Dodgers have a glut of position players between Triple-A and the majors, that is no secret, and the outfielders are no exception. The healthy players on the Dodgers’ roster at the moment that can play in the outfield are Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Kike Hernandez, Cody Bellinger, and Trayce Thompson.
They all have somewhat of a defined and clear role in the Dodgers’ long-term and/or short-term future; all but Thompson. Joc is entrenched in center field and has improved drastically since coming off the DL last month. And at only 25-years-old, has a lot of years and room for development left. Puig is…..well Puig. He’s supremely talented, young, cheap, a huge fan favorite, and always teasing more than he offers.
Kike is the perfect bench player because of his positional versatility that resembles a Swiss Army Knife, great defense, solid pop, and the fact that he will never have the numbers to challenge for a starting spot on a team that has World Series aspirations. He knows his role, which is important.
Taylor has been the Dodgers’ most improved player this year and like Kike has defensive versatility (although not as much). He also has the goods to be the second baseman of the future. And Cody is Cody, no need to delve into that too much.
They are all under the age of 26, supremely cheap, and have played significant roles in LA’s success so far this season. It’s going to be hard to move on from them when they can get even better. We can’t forget about Andrew Toles either. He is hurt, but is only 24 and has a bright future with the team.
Which brings us to Trayce Thompson, who like those above, is young and cheap, with some talent, but he has not had much of an effect on LA. Wth the surplus the Dodgers have in the outfield when healthy, does Trayce have a future with the Dodgers? I’d have to say no.
He is three for 25 this season in the big leagues, and yes, that is an incredibly small sample size, but it’s still three for 25. It would be different if we were talking about an established great all-around hitter that hits for average. We can say that he’s just started off slow and finding his footing. But we are not. Trayce is a career .240 hitter in the majors and a .238 hitter in the minors. He slashed a below-average .211/.273/.377 in the minors this season.
However, we have to keep in mind that he did have back surgery last year, which understandably contributed to his slow start. He did eventually pick it up when at Triple-A but he didn’t light the world on fire or anything.
A few other things that hurt him are his lack of defensive versatility and the presence of Alex Verdugo.
Trayce has shown that he can play all three outfield spots, but when you are competing with guys who can do that and then some, plus be better offensive weapons, it’s hard to compete.
And Verdugo, according to MLB.com, is the Dodgers’ number two prospect and the best position player prospect in the organization. His .350/.420/.469 slash line at AAA shows that he’s ready for The Show.
He’d be up for most other teams, but unfortunately for him, he is on a team that values depth so highly. He is another guy who Thompson will have to compete with starting next season, and signs are pointing towards Verdugo having the brighter future when also considering he’s only 21 compared to Trayce who’s 26.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Kevin Kiermaier being ‘top target’ to replace Cody Bellinger is bad sign for Dodgers
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
Because of all this, the Dodgers should look to move Thompson in a trade this or next season. He still has age, talent, and affordability on his side. The Dodgers can add him to a deal and hope that a team falls in love with those three attributes.
The two things Thompson does have going for him are his pop with the bat and athleticism. He has 19 career MLB home runs in 383 at-bats, which is pretty darn good. This shows he has 20-25+ home run potential if given a starting job. Last season he had 13 home runs in 80 games (26 HR pace) before he got hurt. So while he may not hit the ball much, when he does, he sends them a long way.
And his athleticism allows him to play solid defense and be a threat on the basepaths (if he were to get on).
These two things can let him become an excellent bench asset and serve as a team’s fourth outfielder (maybe fifth for LA). He does not profile as a starter on a championship-caliber team in my opinion. He can start on a mediocre team at best, but not this Dodger team.
And with Pederson, Puig, Verdugo, Toles you have the makings of a solid quartet of outfielders. Then you have Kike and Taylor who are better and more valuable than Thompson. Not to mention Bellinger can also play all three outfield positions. So Thompson doesn’t seem to have a bench role on this team either which makes him expendable.
Now obviously everything changes if a trade or two happens, but at this moment in time, Trayce Thompson’s future with the Los Angeles Dodgers looks uneventful.