One of the biggest surprises for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 was the emergence of Andrew Toles. After making his MLB debut that season, he wound up being a starting outfielder for the team down the stretch and into the playoffs.
That was despite being out of baseball and working at a grocery store less than a year prior. Toles went into 2017 once again as a starter in left field and got off to a good start to the season before going down with a season-ending ACL injury on May 9.
After a long rehab process, Toles is finally back to being healthy and will be without limitations this spring. He will likely compete with the likes of Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Kiké Hernandez and potentially Matt Kemp for the starting left field job.
“He’s a dynamic player. He was terrific for us in ’16. I anticipate there’s gonna be a little bit of rust going that long without facing live pitching,” Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said of Toles.
“But we’re excited to have him in camp and get him into games and see how he looks because he brought a different element to this team before he went down. It’ll be exciting to have him back around.”
In 48 games for the Dodgers in 2016, Toles proved that he is an above-average Major League player on both sides of the ball, slashing .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.
Toles then came back the following season and proved his first experience in the Majors was not a fluke, hitting .271/.314/.458 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 31 games before going down with the injury.
If Toles can return anywhere close to his pre-injury form, then he has to be considered the frontrunner to be named the team’s Opening Day left fielder.