The Los Angeles Dodgers have been a mixed bag early on in the 2023 season, and that is exactly what most fans should have expected. This is a transition year for the Dodgers, and there naturally were going to be bumps early on in the road.
Los Angeles' ceiling for the 2023 season is going to be decided by the franchise's ability to adapt to these bumps and field the best team possible. Sometimes that is easier said than done, especially if the coaching staff and front office has a bit too much belief in a particular player.
Less than one month into the season, it is clear that there are certain changes that Dave Roberts and co. are going to have to make if the team is going to maximize its potential and win the NL West.
3 changes Dodgers must desperately make before May 1:
3. Swap Max Muncy and Miguel Vargas in the field
Miguel Vargas came up through the Dodgers farm system playing third base, and with Justin Turner leaving, all signs were pointing to him being the everyday third baseman. Instead, the Dodgers decided to move Vargas to second base to play Max Muncy at third.
Muncy has been woeful in the field so far for the Dodgers, and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as he was just as bad last year. Muncy is statistically one of the worst defensive third basemen in the league, so the decision to play him at the hot corner is questionable.
Vargas has been serviceable at second base, but he can certainly hold his own and produce at the same level at the hot corner. More importantly, Muncy himself is better at second base than he is at third base (and it is not even close).
Muncy has posted a combined -8.3 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) in his 1566.1 innings at third base. According to FanGraphs, an UZR of 0 is average, with -8.3 falling between below average and poor. In his 1329.2 innings at second base, he has a combined -0.3 UZR, making him marginally below league average at the position.
Muncy is much more reliable at second and Vargas can handle the hot corner. Why did the team make this switch in the first place?