The Los Angeles Dodgers need Mookie Betts to be healthy again. They have been trying to fill the void left in right field by his absence for much of the season. This is not to say that he has not played for much of the season, but when he has played, he has not always been healthy. Mookie was attempting to play with a hip injury after returning from the injured list, which made it uncomfortable for him to run. He was able to swing the bat, but running is a big part of baseball. Players need to run in the outfield to successfully make plays. Players need to run after putting the ball in play when batting. It is nice to see Mookie attempt to be on the field, but it is bad to see him limp around.
The Dodgers need Mookie Betts on the field, but they need him to be healthy. They made the correct move to place Mookie back on the IL. But the Dodgers need better production from the right field position. Billy McKinney has been absolutely horrible on the offensive side of the game for the Dodgers. He is a bad replacement for a former MVP. McKinney has batted to an abhorrent .163/.323/.184 slash line since becoming a Dodger. The only bright spot is that he has 12 walks, which is why his .323 OBP is so high compared to his .163 batting average. But McKinney has not brought any pop with him to the Dodgers as evidenced by his repugnant .184 slugging percentage.
Dodgers Need Mookie Betts Healthy
The Dodgers ought to be playing Matt Beaty over Billy McKinney in right field until Betts returns. Beaty has batted to a .256/.358/.352 slash line this season for the Dodgers. He has four home runs and 30 runs batted in. Another option is Zach McKinstry, who has amassed a .217/.265/.408 slash line for the Dodgers this season. McKinstry’s OBP is about 60 points lower than McKinney’s, but McKinstry’s batting average is higher and his slugging percentage is significantly higher.
Another option, although probably not a good one, would be to move the newly acquired shortstop, Trea Turner, to the outfield until Mookie returns. Turner has 45 games under his belt in the outfield, so it would not be out of the question. This would not be optimal, however, because the Dodgers expect Turner to be the second baseman moving forward. So they would like him to obtain game experience at second base prior to the start of the playoffs. Turner does have 49 games of fielding experience at second base, but 42 of them were in 2015 and 2016.
The Dodgers will have a lot more versatility when Justin Turner returns. Chris Taylor will be able to move back to the outfield again with AJ Pollock and Cody Bellinger. Then when Mookie returns, Dave Roberts will be happy to have the problem of juggling a full outfield again.
Embed from Getty Images