During the offseason Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman focused on adding depth throughout organization, as he was well aware of the toll a 162-game season can take on players, causing injuries.
What Friedman was not aware of was that the Dodgers would tie a Major League record of putting 27 different players on the disabled list this season. What also could not have been foreseen was the production the team would receive from rookies Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart, Jose De Leon, Rob Segedin and Andrew Toles.
Toles’ contributions have been particularly surprising considering he out of baseball last season. “Obviously, he’s come up huge for us this year. It’s actually a great story,” Friedman said while speaking at the third annual “Dodgers All-Access” event.
“I had some experience with him from the Rays, we drafted him in  and he really hit the ground running. He was our Minor League Player of the Year, and then ran into some personal issues he was trying to cope with that presented a lot of challenges in his development.”
Toles was released by the Tampa Bay Rays in March 2015. He wound up connecting with Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler, who first met Toles when they were both part of the Rays organization.
“Gabe Kapler is someone who deserves a lot of credit for Toles. He had encountered him with the Rays and reached out, talked to him, and brought the idea to us. So Kapler spent a lot of time with [Toles], invited him to Instructional League last year to work out with our guys,” Friedman explained.
“Toles came to Instructional League, worked extremely hard, fit in really well with the group, we invited him to Spring Training, and the rest is history.” The 24-year-old outfielder began the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Toles was promoted to Double-A Tulsa, then Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting well at each level, before making his Major League debut in July. Toles is batting an impressive .379/.440/.652 with seven doubles, three home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games.
“For him to not even get an invite to Major League camp and be doing what he’s doing for us right now is great,” said Friedman of Toles’ success. “It’s really a testament to him and what he’s kind of battled through. Everyone in the clubhouse loves him and the way he’s fit in and worked hard.”
The highlight of Toles’ and perhaps the Dodgers’ season, came last week when he launched an opposite-field grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers a 10-8 lead over the Colorado Rockies.
Toles’ grand slam capped off a five-run ninth inning to help Los Angeles salvage a three-game series at Coors Field.