With yet another injury to Logan Forsythe, the Dodgers are reminded that the second base position is one of the few spots with a question mark on it going forward. That leaves us wondering who will step up and be the guy going forward.
The Dodgers have one of the best farm systems in baseball known both for its talent and depth. Unfortunately that depth is only at certain spots. Catcher is the immediate position that comes to mind, followed by the outfield and pitching. One position group lacking is the middle infield.
So that means the answer to the second base question will likely be someone who is already on the big league roster.
The three prime candidates for the spot are Enrique Hernandez, Austin Barnes, or Chris Taylor. Another dark horse candidate is Jake Peter who lit it up in spring training.
Enrique Hernandez has been the guy getting most of the reps against left-handed pitching, with Utley starting against righties. Hernandez has shown he is more than capable of handling himself defensively at second base. The problem for him has been consistency with the bat.
He started the season slow, but has since figured things out. He is a big solution to the Dodger’s struggles against left handed pitching. His ability to crush lefties has afforded him the majority of his playing time but his bat is still plagued by inconsistency. This, and his unpredictable hitting against righties are both roadblocks to a starting job.
He says he wants to be an everyday starter and start against those pitchers but it does not seem like Roberts trusts him in that situation. If there is a righty on the mound you will likely see Hernandez on the bench. Though Roberts has said Hernandez will get more looks against righties with injuries currently hurting the team. Hernandez made a statement by taking Stephen Strasburg deep.
Of the group, Hernandez seems like the obvious choice. Especially if he can get his bat going consistently and also continue to prove he can indeed be productive against righties.
The second option could be Chris Taylor. As of now it seems like he will be the everyday center fielder, but you never know how things could shake up (Bryce Harper) and could move him from the outfield back to his natural habitat in the infield.
He is a very smooth fielder and his glove would not be a problem at all while playing second base. Even without the acquisition of Bryce Harper, CT3 could still make his way to the infield in an effort to create space for Alex Verdugo who is ready to be promoted.
His offense has been stellar and has solidified himself as the leadoff hitter in this lineup. Dave Roberts will definitely have him in the order it is just a matter of what position he will be playing and second base is an option for the new and improved Chris Taylor.
Now to Austin Barnes. This does seem unlikely if the Dodgers let Grandal walk at the end of this season. However, he is still another solid option at second base.
Barnes will likely be the heir to Grandal’s catching thrown. But, maybe, the Dodgers give the reigns to Kyle Farmer and promote one of their many catching prospects whether it’d be Will Smith, Keibert Ruiz, or Connor Wong, all of which can be solid back-ups and give Barnes the opportunity to play at his original position, second base.
Of the three he is the worst defender, but his defense is still considered serviceabl. He is quick and has very smooth hands and good reaction time to get to a ball in the hole. Maybe he looked bad because he is rusty from working behind the plate so often. A full spring training of him at second base should fix that though.
Now to some under the radar candidates. The first of which is Jake Peter. He was the breakout star this spring. Peter was acquired as part of the three team trade that also brought in Scott Alexander. Peter looked
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tremendous offensively during the spring. He is a masher. He will be in the conversation next year, especially if he has another spring like he did in 2018.
The second under the radar option is speedster Tim Locastro. Unlikely because he will come up as a utility guy. But, Locastro almost made the playoff roster last season which shows how much the organization likes him. He will get a shot to prove himself but the odds aren’t in his favor.
My pick would be Chris Taylor as the second baseman of the foreseeable future. Aside from the fact that I believe Harper will be in LA next year, I think the Dodgers are ready to give Verdugo the job in center field and move Taylor to second base.
I love Hernandez but he is too valuable as a super utility man. He will see many at-bats and I just don’t know if they will be as a starting second baseman. Same could be said about Barnes, he will get at-bats just not at second base.
Logan Forsythe has been a disappointment and Chase Utley is not the answer long-term. So it is time to look forward and see what the Dodgers will do with the ever-changing second base position. Chris Taylor should be the guy that finally sticks and becomes the second baseman for the foreseeable future.