Since Andrew Friedman took control of the Los Angeles Dodgers front office as president of baseball operations, he’s focused on improving the depth throughout the 25-man roster and organization.
That approach has proved particularly beneficial with several starting pitchers and outfielders being lost to injury. First-year Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has utilized his depth to the fullest extent, using 33 different lineups in 40 games.
Roberts believes the Dodgers’ method comes with a positive aspect for players. “Every roster in the Major Leagues isn’t constructed this way. Our guys, the way we’re constructed, we have depth,” he said on Monday.
“We’ve talked about it since the winter, so for me, I like this in the sense that everyone feels they’re doing their part and contributing. When we look into September and guys are fresh, the numbers will be there.”
Roberts allowed each player on the roster can state their case to play more, which he doesn’t view as a negative. Perhaps no player is more deserving of more at-bats than Trayce Thompson.
The 25 year old is batting .292/.338/.611 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 72 at-bats this season. Five of his home runs and 12 RBIs have come in nine May games, with Thompson leading the team in both categories this month.
To this point, Thompson’s starts have largely been dictated on pitching matchups. The bulk of his playing time has come against left-handed starters, though Roberts has also utilized Thompson in games where he thought the versatile outfielder could hit a right-handed starter well.
“Trayce has never been, for me, that he can only hit left-handers,” Roberts said. “It’s just the way we’re set up to give the left-handed hitters the opportunity against right-handers. It just works out more for him and [Kiké Hernandez] to hit against left-handed pitching.”
Roberts added that, despite the club’s depth, there’s only so much maneuvering he can do. “When you’re the Dodgers and have a roster that’s deep, you can’t have your cake and eat it too,” he said.
“There’s only so many at-bats out there. It’s my job to figure out what’s best for each position player that night.”