This past weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers got three big pieces back from the injured list. David Freese and Corey Seager returned from hamstring injuries suffered in June, and Seager got to make his first ever appearance at Fenway Park. AJ Pollock made his return after missing most of the year with a right elbow injury, and will go back to being the everyday center fielder. These returns are huge for the Dodgers who currently own the best record in baseball at 63-33 (.656). So how can these players help the Dodgers going forward?
Image: Cody Bellinger celebrates hitting a home run with teammates / Photo Credit: Dodgers.MLBBlogs.com
First off, Corey Seager was 3rd in the MVP voting his rookie year, and is widely regarded as one of the best shortstops in all of baseball when he is healthy. Seager has been good this year in his return from injury hitting hitting .274 with 8 home runs and 38 RBI’s while playing solid defense at short, however his numbers are still not all the way up to where the team would like them to be. At his best, Seager is a .300 hitter with 30 home run power, and going forward in the 2nd half of the season, the Dodgers will need Seager at the top of their line up producing at the highest level he can.
Image: Corey Seager smacks a base hit / Photo Credit: Dodgerinsider.com
David Freese was picked up by the Dodgers last year at the waiver deadline and has been nothing short of excellent for the team. While he has not played in as many games as he used to, Freese has put up great numbers hitting .301 with 8 home runs and 23 RBIs while sporting an OPS of .980 in the games he plays. While he may not have the amount of playing time to be considered a league leader, in the games he does play there are only 7 players in all of baseball with a higher OPS than Freese and those are players in the conversation for MVP.
He has also been extremely clutch for the team, coming up huge for them twice during the 2018 playoffs where he had the game changing hit in game 4 of the NL Division series vs the Braves, and hit multiple home runs vs the Brewers from the leadoff position during the 2018 NL Championship Series. Plus do I need to remind you of what Freese did in 2011? David Freese will be a key piece off the bench for this team going forward.
Image: David Freese rounds the bases after hitting a home run / Photo Credit: TrueBlueLA.com
This brings us to AJ Pollock. When he is healthy, Pollock can be a very productive player. Last year in Arizona, Pollock had 21 home runs, 65 RBI’s and an OPS of .800 which are above average numbers for your average MLB player. The key phrase with Pollock though is “when he is healthy”. Ever since his All Star season of 2015, Pollock has not played more than 113 games in a season, missing time with significant injuries in each of the years including this year. It was one of the reasons I, along with other Dodger fans were skeptical of the team signing Pollock to a four year deal this past offseason.
However the Dodgers were trying to overlook Pollock as being injury prone, and hoped he could be closer to the player he was back in 2015. At his peak, Pollock is capable of hitting at least .275 with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, and the team could use his speed and defense the most. Pollock has been an above average center fielder for most of his career, and since Dodger manager Dave Roberts has started to play Joc Pederson at 1st base, it seems like Pollock will have the center field spot on lock for most games going forward. He could be one of the key pieces to this team going into the 2nd half of the season, now it’s just up to Pollock to perform and show the Dodgers he was worth the money they spent on him.
Image: AJ Pollock getting a hit off of the Giants / Photo Credit: CBSSports.com
Who do you think will make the biggest impact on the team in the 2nd half? Which player will have the best 2nd half of these 3? Leave a comment below, and as always, Thanks for reading!