With Spring Training comes a lot of excitement. Our favorite players are back playing the game we all love. However, on occasion, Spring Training can break our hearts with the injury of a beloved player. Such was the case last night with Justin Turner. Unfortunately, in the third inning, Turner was hit on the left wrist by Kendall Graveman, fracturing his wrist. Fortunately, reports are indicating that the fracture is relatively minor. It will not require surgery, and Turner should recover fairly quickly. Even so, the question becomes, “Who replaces Justin Turner at 3B in the meantime?” There is certainly no shortage of internal options, but who fits best there? There are three, maybe four, options to fill Turner’s absence at the hot-corner: Logan Forsythe, Kike Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer. In the unlikely event that none of those players work out, there is also Edwin Rios and Jake Peter.
Forsythe is the first and most obvious choice. And don’t take it from me, take it straight from Doc:
Roberts said his initial thoughts are Bellinger replaces Turner in third spot in lineup, Logan Forsythe fills in at 3B
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 20, 2018
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) March 20, 2018
It seems pretty cut and dry that Logie Bear will take the majority of the playing time at the hot corner for now. There are a number of reasons, but chief among them is Forsythe’s defense at the hot corner. Defensively, he had a 20.1 Ultimate Zone Rating average at 3B in 2017. He also played 301.2 innings there last year and had 4 defensive runs saved. By comparison, he posted a 9.2 UZR/150 and 5 DRS in 587.2 innings at 2B. So he actually is better defensively at 3B than 2B, where he is viewed as above average.
Then there is his offensive value. In the playoffs he hit .297/.435/.351, and it seems more likely he will be closer to his batting lines of 125 and 113 wRC+ in 2015 and 2016 than his 90 wRC+ in 2017.
Though Hernandez is having quite the excellent spring and is actually hitting righties well, he is probably not going to hold down a lot of playing time at 3B. Indeed he is quite capable of playing 3B, but he has more value as a super utility guy who mainly will fill in in at OF, SS, and 2B. That doesn’t mean he won’t fill in at 3B at all. It’s just not likely he will take more time than Forsythe.
Austin Barnes and Kyle Farmer
Both players are listed together for the same reason: they are catchers first. Both Barnes and Farmer can play 3B quite well, and the Dodgers would do well with them there. But the club is much better off with them as catchers. Even if Barnes fills in elsewhere it is more likely he plays at 2B. Farmer is the more likely of the two to fill in at 3B. And it isn’t a sure thing that he will even make the Opening Day roster.
Edwin Rios or Jake Peter
How wonderful it would be to see either one of these guys make the Opening Day roster, let alone be holding down 3B. However, this will likely not happen. Edwin Rios is smashing the ball all over the park this spring. But the biggest problem is that his defense at 3B over the years has necessitated a move off of 3B. At this point, Rios is primarily a 1B that can play 3B in a pinch, but for a team like the Dodgers who rely on great defense, putting Rios’ glove at 3B, just to get his bat in the lineup, would be a mistake. Especially considering how Justin Tuner handled the hot corner.
Jake Peter is a little more curious of a case, but his issue is more of a platoon problem. Despite being able to play all over the diamond like Kike Hernandez, Peter’s main position is 2B. And the fact that he is a lefty makes the situation more complicated for him. Since Chase Utley is already our main lefty to play 2B, Peter is likely to not make the Opening Day roster. Not only that, but he was also reassigned to Minor League Camp yesterday. In case you didn’t know, Peter was not on the 40 man roster.