Dodgers: Five Bold Predictions for the 2018 Season
By Sunit Bhakta
Logan Forsythe & Crew (almost) make us forget about Justin Turner
Justin Turner’s injury will hurt a lot and change a lot for most of the position players. However, if any team can absorb a significant injury like his, it is these Los Angeles Dodgers. They are stocked with quality players who can come in and temporarily hold down the fort.
One reason for optimism is Logan Forsythe, who is expected to occupy most of the time at third in JT’s absence. He is coming off a down year, but 2017 is not representative of the player he actually is. In 2015 and 2016, he combined to hit .273 with 37 home runs and 57 doubles.
His batting average dropped by 40 points, slugging by 117 points, and OPS by 100 points compared to the previous season. But there are reasons to believe that he is in store for a big bounce-back season which will make him formidable at the plate.
First, he posted an impressive .351 OBP, considering how low his batting average was. This is because of a career-high, and elite 15.7% walk rate. He showed a tremendous eye and patience at the plate, displaying A.J. Ellis-esque ‘pitches seen per plate appearance.’ As long he can get on base, he will be useful.
Another reason is that he was making good contact whenever his bat met the ball. He set a career-high in hard-contact rate. If he continues to make contact like this, things will only be looking up.
But beyond this, he has a track record of an above-average offensive player. He can be useful for an OPS around .800 while hitting 20+ home-run mark. And he dealt with injuries last year, further hampering his ability. For a player of his caliber, usurping 2017 should not be too complicated.
He started to show signs during the postseason, as his bat started to wake up a little. So it is not hard to envision him returning to the player the Dodgers thought they were getting when they traded for him. A fresh 2018 is the best thing that can happen to him.
He has also looked sharp this spring and will not have to replace Turner alone. Players like Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez (and maybe Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer) will help shoulder the burden, and they have shown to be quality options at the plate.