Dodgers: What Can We Expect From Andrew Toles?

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 03: Andrew Toles
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 03: Andrew Toles /

Andrew Toles was a terrific surprise for the Dodgers in 2016, in his brief late-season appearances. Toles was hitting .271 when he went down with a knee injury in the early months of 2017.

By now, you’ve probably heard the story of Andrew Toles. The man who climbed his way up from working at a grocery store to starting a playoff game in the big leagues. Toles was a surprise to many across baseball, myself included. His .364 batting average in the 2016 playoffs was one of the main reasons the Dodgers stayed in the series so long. And when he went down with a knee injury in early May attempting to save Julio Urias’ no-hit bid, I was devastated.

But things are looking up for Toles, as he is already ahead of schedule in his rehab from a torn  ACL. The real question about Toles is where he will fit into the lineup in 2018. With an already crowded outfield situation, it’s possible he will see a platoon role. It’s even worse news for him when you consider the rumors surrounding Giancarlo Stanton coming to Los Angeles. If that trade comes to fruition, he will certainly see a decline in playing time.

Some have said Toles should be considered in trade talks, especially in relation to Stanton. Toles is only 25 years old and has a lot of upside. He could potentially fit in with the drastic rebuild the Marlin’s new ownership has promised. His team control through 2023 would certainly be appealing to Miami as well. In this scenario, the outfield projects to have Chris Taylor, Yasiel Puig, and Stanton as everyday starters.

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Personally, I would prefer a different approach to the crowded outfield. Toles just seems to be far too valuable, especially due to his speed. The Dodgers have not had a true lead-off hitter since they traded away Dee Gordon. Toles can be that guy, with a career  .340 on-base percentage and plenty of untapped potential. While he only has one career stolen base, he has also only played in 79 regular season games.

There are plenty of options for the team to trade away, Joc Pederson being high up on my list. Joc really struggled in 2017, hitting just .212 with 11 home runs. While he’s never been much of a hit for average player, his power hit a steep decline. One positive to his 2017 season though was that he saw his strikeout percentage fall for the second season in a row. Regardless, now seems as good as a time as any to get the most possible for Pederson. He is also a guy Miami could be interested in, especially with his power potential.

With Andre Ethier receiving a buy-out, this certainly gives Toles a greater opportunity for playing time in 2018. Without Stanton in the picture, the outfield would consist of Toles, Taylor, and Puig. Perhaps a trade for Stanton would involve a move for Chris Taylor back to the infield, giving Toles his starting job.

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