Dodgers release former Guardians top prospect as outfield further takes shape

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day
Los Angeles Dodgers Photo Day / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Dodgers are moving on from an offseason signing they figured might pay off, should the need for outfield depth arise. But with the emergence of James Outman and the presences of Jason Heyward, Chris Taylor and David Peralta, someone had to be squeezed out of the picture.

Former Cleveland Guardians top prospect Bradley Zimmer, who was signed to a minor-league contract in the offseason, was released on Friday after spending most of his time with the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.

Unfortunately, Zimmer was hitting just .219 with a .665 OPS in 31 games with OKC. He struck out an alarming 46 times. Last year, he logged 109 games in MLB with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, but his performance may have sealed his fate as a major leaguer.

Zimmer batted .124 with a .436 OPS and 24 OPS+ while striking out 45 times in only 117 plate appearances. He was mostly used as a defensive replacement because of his speed, but the trade off simply wasn't adequate.

The Dodgers were perhaps hoping he could somewhat turn it around offensively and eventually provide some relief in the outfield, since the picture featuring Outman, Heyward, Peralta, Taylor and Trayce Thompson wasn't exactly the most promising behind Mookie Betts.

Dodgers release former Guardians top prospect Bradley Zimmer

And even with Betts taking a decent amount of his reps at second base and shortstop now, Zimmer didn't impress enough at Triple-A to warrant a promotion. That says a lot, too, because with the outfield situation thinned a bit due to Betts' other contributions, it's not like these guys have been knocking it out of the park.

Though Outman's been a sensation, here are the numbers for the rest of the bunch:

  • Heyward - .192 AVG, .722 OPS, 93 OPS+
  • Taylor - .186 AVG, .701 OPS, 84 OPS+
  • Peralta - .204 AVG, .547 OPS, 46 OPS+
  • Thompson - .117 AVG, .600 OPS, 62 OPS+

Not exactly the most offensively proficient bunch, though the defense has been solid and there's enough pop/potential/experience to warrant keeping them around.

Zimmer's athleticism and speed certainly made him an intriguing option if he was able to cut back on the strikeouts and provide a shred of productivity at the plate, but the fact he's still struggling in a very hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League provided the Dodgers with all they needed to know.