The Los Angeles Dodgers have successfully relied on their depth mantra for two seasons now, yet still face some uncertainty at second base and center field. Joc Pederson, once the primary center field, only recently returned from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Logan Forsythe, acquired to be the everyday second baseman, has struggled in the role. That’s left the Dodgers to turn to Austin Barnes, Chris Taylor and Chase Utley for production. Taylor handled duties in center field in Pederson’s absence and now has helped fill the void at shortstop.
How it will all settle come the playoffs is still to be decided. Though, Forsythe appears to have a starting job locked up when the Dodgers face a southpaw.
“Against left-handed pitching, he’s right where he needs to be,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“The defensive importance of what he does, securing the double play, the range factor, that has a lot of importance in the middle of the field. The on-base percentage against right-handers is certainly respectable, but the slug is not where we’ve seen it.”
Roberts added the team is not giving much thought to playing Taylor, nor Barnes, at second base with any regularity. With Forsythe earmarked to start against lefties, Utley makes for a natural platoon when the Dodgers face a right-hander.
“We’re getting to a point where we need to hone in on some consistency, but everything should warrant a consideration,” Roberts said. “I’m not set on any decision right now at second base.”
In center field, Pederson started in the series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time since Aug. 18. He’s now made three consecutive starts. Although not elite, questions revolving around Pederson do not pertain to his glove.
“What I expect for Joc is to play the defense he’s capable of playing,” Roberts said. “And putting forth the at-bats we’ve seen in the past, and being an integral part of what we’re doing this year.
“For me it’s contingent upon the defensive quality and at-bat quality, and not even results. If the quality is there, the results will come. I want to see good at-bats.”
Roberts previously said he received positive reports from the Triple-A coaching staff on Pederson’s progress with the change in his mechanics at the plate.
Whether Pederson, Taylor or perhaps even Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers intend to find an answer over the next month. “We are trying to settle in on someone,” Roberts said.