2. So … Who Plays Left Field Now?
On the surface, AJ Pollock isn’t a name you hear and immediately think “star” or “I don’t wanna face that guy!”, but he’s been one of the best hitters on the Dodgers since the start of 2020.
Though he constantly deals with various injuries that limit his time on the field, he has a career 116 OPS+ and has recorded marks of 132 and 137 the last two seasons. His 16 home runs and 34 RBI in 55 regular-season games in the shortened 2020 played a huge role in the Dodgers snapping their World Series drought.
Then came 2021, where he appeared in 117 games (his most since 2015), registered an .892 OPS alongside 21 homers and 69 RBI, and tore the cover off the ball in the NLCS against the Braves.
That’s tremendous production from the left field spot … so now who’s going to play out there? Will it be Chris Taylor, so LA can put together their dream infield of Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy, Trea Turner and Justin Turner? Or will one of those guys DH with Edwin Rios, Gavin Lux, Zach McKinstry or Hanser Alberto getting some valuable reps? Or is this an opportunity to give Lux as many at-bats as possible to see if he can live up to the billing after a slow start to his MLB career?
Either way, it’s hard to deny the Dodgers just removed a very productive player from an important position without a key answer. Taylor can certainly play a good left field, but he’s had more experience at shortstop and center field (overall in his career) and just as much at second base over the last couple of seasons.
This is hardly a “problem,” but Dave Roberts now needs to ensure Pollock’s production isn’t completely lost with whatever lineup variation he trots out there.