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Scott Van Slyke is thriving next to the Dodgers’ big-name, high-priced outfielders

Jun 10, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

Scott Van Slyke Dodgers Getty Images

There’s been lots of talk about the Dodgers having four big-name outfielders for three starting spots, but while everyone debates how manager Don Mattingly should divvy up the playing time among Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier a different outfielder has been the most productive in the bunch.

In what is admittedly limited playing time of 90 plate appearances facing primarily left-handed pitching, Scott Van Slyke has hit .278 with six homers, five doubles, and a 1.060 OPS. By comparison, Puig has a 1.014 OPS and the none of the other three big-name outfielders are above a .750 OPS.

Van Slyke’s strong production dates back further than this season, too. Last year in 152 plate appearances for the Dodgers he posted an .807 OPS that ranked third on the team behind Hanley Ramirez and Puig, and his numbers in the minors include a .330 batting average with 31 homers, 55 doubles, and a 1.009 OPS in 171 games at Triple-A.

Van Slyke can hit and at age 27 he deserves an extended look to see exactly how good he could be in a full-time role, but he picked just about the worst situation possible in which to potentially get that extended look. So he’ll have to settle for posting big numbers in small playing time for now.

Dan Patrick Show: Don Mattingly talks Dodgers’ chemistry issues

  1. dodger88 - Jun 10, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    What is amazing is that following the 2012 season he was designated for assignment to free up a spot on the 40 man roster and none of the other 29 names took a flier on him.

  2. kaleidoscopictreats - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    Quick, someone frame this discussion by the having-too-many-good-players-is-a-problem narrative.

  3. yahmule - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    I really enjoyed watching his dad play. Glad to see the young man is carving out his own place in the game.

  4. beavertonsteve - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    It isn’t out of the question that the Dodgers best current outfield option would be Peterson/Van Slyke/Puig.

    • yahmule - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      You could be right. Pederson went from bad to better than respectable against LHP this season. He deserves to get his chance. I think the former 11th round pick has a very bright future.

  5. rbts2014 - Jun 10, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    I would go with the outfield option of Crawford/Van Slyke/Puig once crawford gets healthy. Since that road series in minnesota, crawford seemed to have gotten his stuff together but unfortunately got hurt.

    • davidpom50 - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      There’s no way Crawford should be playing over Kemp.

  6. davidpom50 - Jun 10, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    I love Scott Van Slyke, and I think he could be a very good every day player. BUT it is worth pointing out that he has huge platoon splits (.241/.371/.310 vs RHP despite a .413 BABIP, with a 35% K rate, .302/.474/.810 vs LHP), and the 5 outfielder situation has allowed him to see lefties in roughly 2/3 of his at bats

  7. mkprz - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    I guess the Dodgers think it’s better to play the most expensive players and lose, than play the better, low cost platers and win.

  8. musketmaniac - Jun 10, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    As a pirate fan, I see our future first baseman. Huntington make the call. Pirate fans absolutely adore his dad.

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