The Dodgers, of course, already had three All-Stars in their outfield. Then up popped Cuban insta-star Yasiel Puig. So now they have three actual All-Stars and a virtual one (Puig was famously not picked after a month of ripping up the majors).
So there’s hardly room for another, what with yet another All-Star at first base, and no DH, right?
And not only does Scott Van Slyke seem like a spare part on the Dodger roster, a trade to Seattle would unite him with his dad, Andy, the one-time Pirate star who’s now a Mariner coach.
Meanwhile, Dodger bloggers are getting enthused about 22-year-old Joc Pederson, who had 22 homers and 70 walks at AA last year.
So it’s a match made in heaven, right? Except that — despite their apparent bounty — the Dodgers (rightly) don’t view Matt Kemp as anything resembling a sure thing, and Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have had their own injury issues. Puig cooled off once his BABIP settled into more normal levels, and Pederson has zero plate appearances above AA.
So no shocker if they hold onto Van Slyke for insurance. But if they did move him, how much does he address the “Left-Handed Tilt” that we’ve been discussing?
Here’s Van Slyke’s traditional hitting statistics:
You can see it breaks down in to two eras. Nothing special until age-22 (2009) and then quite good after that.
Now we plug him into the Spectometer minor-league analysis machine. (Note: I don’t highlight minor-league results after age-25 or when the age-arc is “+3” or more.)
|Year||Age||Lvl||HR%||BB%||XBH + BB%||ISO||K%||PSA+||Conv+||Comp|
|Age Arc||Slugger > 4%||Goal > 8.5%||Goal > 19%||Goal > .200||Goal < 20%||Strong Prospect > 100|
Why does Van Slyke’s admittedly impressive statistical record somehow seem to be less than meets the eye? And why does it seem like maybe the Dodgers think so too?
At the least, Van Slyke suffers from several of our well-known caveats/red flags/warning signs:
- His bust-out was in the hitter-friendly California League.
- When he made the all-important jump from Cal League to AA, he flopped (and got sent back to California).
- Beware of hitters who don’t succeed in AA until age-24.
- Despite his huge success in AA Chattanooga at age-24, the Dodgers left him there. He had gotten token AAA call-ups the prior two years, but the year he was really crushing the ball they just left him at AA.
Reading between the lines, it seems that the Dodgers didn’t really view him as “all that.” It seemed like he was on course heading into 2010, but he went to AA at age-23 and put up .235/.300/.350 in 65 games. He recovered after being sent back to the Cal League, but it seems like the Dodgers never really bought in after that — despite some very impressive numbers.
All that being said, does he fit the Mariners’ post-Gutierrez need for an extra RH bat in the outfield? Except for playing CF, yes, he does.
As a role player, Van Slyke looks like a good fit. His dad is already getting good marks as a coach, and the son might benefit from the combination (as long as he doesn’t have unrealistic expectations). He doesn’t seem likely to be a star, but all he would have to be is a RH hitting option in a part-time role.
But the Dodgers may not be ready to let Van Slyke go until they get better health reports on their stars, or until they’re convinced Pederson is ready to step in (Pederson is left-handed).
When the Dodgers are ready to deal, Van Slyke is certainly not worth Nick Franklin straight up. Franklin is a power-hitting middle infielder who has performed above his age-arc and been a highly-ranked prospect. Van Slyke, not.
But if the Dodgers are interested in Franklin, Van Slyke could be part of the package. Or they may be willing to do a smaller deal if they conclude Van Slyke is expendable.