Dodgers Position by Position Breakdown: Third Base

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Justin Turner
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Justin Turner /

The Dodgers will head into the 2018 season with third base being one of the positions they feel most comfortable about.  The Dodgers have an elite third baseman in Justin Turner.

While JT was once known as the nickname for Justin Timberlake, around the streets of LA, JT is known as the red-bearded Justin Turner.  Turner is coming off a career year in 2018 as he hit .321 with 21 home runs and a .415 on-base percentage.  Turner cemented himself in Dodger folklore when he hit a walk-off home run against the Cubs in the NLCS.  That was the Dodgers first walk-off home run in the post-season since Kirk Gibson.

While Justin Turner is an elite hitter, he is also an elite third baseman.  If it wasn’t for Nolan Arenado, there is a chance that Turner would have a gold glove or two already.  Turner routinely makes the non-routine plays look routine and is part of the Dodgers very good infield defense.  Although he probably will never win a gold glove, he plays gold glove caliber defense.

The one issue the Dodgers face with Justin Turner is that he has bad knees.  The Dodgers need to make sure to give JT sufficient time off so that they do not run him into the ground.  Given the depth that the Dodgers have, they are able to give Turner a day off once or twice a week without throwing out a weak lineup.  In order for the Dodgers to once again make a World Series appearance, they need Justin Turner at full strength and to watch his workload.

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At the moment the Dodgers have Justin Turner inked in as the third base starter and then Logan Forsythe is the backup third baseman.  After those two the depth chart can go a variety of ways.  Kyle Farmer, Chris Taylor, and Kike Hernandez are all capable of playing third base in a pinch.  If the Dodgers bring back Chase Utley, then that would throw another name into the mix.  Rob Segedin is also a third base option for the Dodgers but it’s unlikely that he makes the opening day roster.

Logan Forsythe should get plenty of starts at second base with the need to rest Turner once or twice a week.  Last season, Forsythe played stellar defense at third base and there wasn’t much of a drop off defensively when Logan Forsythe started in place of Turner.  Kike Hernandez got more run at third base last year and he also has a strong arm which makes him a viable third base candidate.

With the versatility that the Dodgers have, they would be able to withstand the loss of Turner for several weeks just as they did in 2017.  Whether it’s Forsythe, Kike, or another backup, the Dodgers have plenty of viable backup options they could play at third in a pinch.  When Forsythe starts at third base, the Dodgers will likely start Taylor at second, and a different outfielder like Toles or Joc could get the start in CF.

Next: Dodgers Position by Position Breakdown: Center Field

The third backup to third base will likely be battled for in spring training.  That is the only aspect of third base that is still up in the air for the 2018 season.  If the Dodgers carry Kyle Farmer as a third catcher on the roster, he could get some starts at third base.  If they don’t then Kike will likely get the third spot on the depth chart at third base.  The only wrinkle that can be thrown in is if the Dodgers go ahead and bring Utley back.  Regardless of who the third option is on the depth chart at third base, the Dodgers should not have to worry about third base at all in 2018.