Dodgers 2016 Player Review: Andrew Toles
David Zalubowski-AP Photo

After the 2015 season the Los Angeles Dodgers, under advice from director of player development Gabe Kapler, made a minor move by signing Andrew Toles. It reunited the outfielder with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who drafted Toles in 2012 while the Tampa Bay Rays general manager.

The third-round selection had just spent an entire season out of baseball after getting released by the Rays in March 2015. Toles began the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, and tore his way through the Dodgers’ Minor League system.

In 22 games with the Quakes, he batted .370/.414/.500 with nine RBIs to earn a call-up to Double-A Tulsa. In 43 games for the Drillers, Toles hit .314/.363/.514 with five home runs and 22 RBIs, which earned him a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

He slashed .321/.339/.518 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 17 games with OKC. That left Toles hitting a combined .331/.374/.511 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 82 Minor League games when he was called up to join the Dodgers.

The 24-yea-old made his MLB debut on July 8, going 1-for-4 with a double in a win against the San Diego Padres. Toles played his way into a consistent role with the Dodgers, batting .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 48 games.

He primarily saw time against right-handed pitching, which resulted in Toles starting Game 1 of the National League Division Series against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals. Toles went on to hit .364/.423/.455 in 11 postseason games.

While the season was overwhelmingly positive for Toles, he did have a few down moments in the playoffs. First against the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series, as he had an opportunity to throw a runner out at home plate but the ball sailed halfway up the first-base line.

Then in the decisive Game 6, Toles took his eye off a fly ball in the first inning and dropped it, which led to an extra run scoring.

Nonetheless, the last 12 months for Toles have truly been inspiring, as he went from being out of baseball in every sense to starting and batting leadoff for the Dodgers in their final postseason game.

2016 Highlight

Toles had one of the biggest hits of the Dodgers season on Aug. 31 against the Colorado Rockies. With his team one out away from being swept by the Rockies in a double-header, Toles came up with the bases loaded and Los Angeles trailing by two runs.

All he did was launch an opposite-field grand slam off Rockies closer Adam Ottavino to finish off the comeback, leading his team to a 10-8 victory.

2017 Outlook

Plenty remains unknown for Toles heading into next season. He figures to factor into the Dodgers’ plans but what specifically that entails figures to hinge on how the offseason unfolds.

Andre Ethier and Trayce Thompson are returning from injury to add to an already deep group of outfielders. But after the success Toles had in 2016, he will at the very least be given the opportunity to battle for a starting spot come Spring Training.