Dodgers Should Keep Cody Bellinger in Center Field for the Time Being
When Corey Seager went down, Chris Taylor eventually shifted to shortstop, causing uncertainty in center field for the Dodgers. It is a position that Cody Bellinger should have locked down if the roster remains the same.
The Dodgers have had Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, Joc Pederson, and Cody Bellinger man center field this year. But with Corey Seager gone for the season, Taylor will assume most of the starting duties at shortstop.
When Taylor initially moved back to short, Kike, Verdugo, and Pederson split time. But recently, Dave Roberts has moved Cody Bellinger into center, which has paid off defensively. And if the roster remains as it is, Cody should be the starting center fielder moving forward.
He is long, fast, and athletic and has shown to be a capable defender at the position. Plus, the other options have not been so great. Advanced metrics, courtesy of FanGraphs, say that Joc is having another subpar year defensively, as is Hernandez. Both are better-suited to play in the corner outfield.
Verdugo would be ideal, but he is currently sitting in triple-A because the franchise cannot seem to carve out a spot for him on the major league roster. And Taylor is probably the best and most natural defender at shortstop the team has with Seager gone.
And that leaves Cody by process of elimination alone. But we do not even need to use POE to realize that outside of Taylor, he is the best defender in center field the roster has to offer.
But if you do not want him manning center because you do not think he should be starting due to his struggles with the bat, that is flawed logic. Ridicule him all you want; he has deserved it because he has been slumping. Keep in mind, however, that a struggling Bellinger is still better than a struggling Hernandez and Pederson.
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Not to mention, Bellinger has the most potential with the bat, and when all three are lacking in any offensive production, the defense should win out.
The front office should refrain from making any moves for a center fielder because placing Bellinger in the outfield has allowed Dave Roberts to pencil in Max Muncy at first base more often, in turn keeping his bat in the lineup.
And as long as Muncy is producing, he should stay at first, keeping Bellinger in center field, and preventing Andrew Friedman & Co. from making any moves.
If they were to make a move, they should look to reinforce shortstop because it is the frailest position on the roster due to the lack of quality depth.
It would also allow Taylor to move back to center field. And you cannot ignore that the franchise already has a guy, in Alex Verdugo, waiting in the wings ready to take over in the outfield. The Dodgers have quality options, so there is no need to bring anyone in.
Next: Muncy Settling in Nicely
So the front office should not waste their time or assets looking for external help in search of an outfield captain. They already have some capable ones within the franchise. But sticking in the context of the current roster, keeping Bellinger there also creates stability and is the best decision.