|MiLB (Rancho Cucamonga)||100||.370||.314||.500||149||0||N/A|
What happened in 2016: There were a lot of great stories on the 2016 Dodgers, but one of the best had to be that of Andrew Toles.
Toles’ journey to the Majors was an arduous one. A third-round draft pick by the Rays in 2012, Toles had two good years in their farm system, then a bad one that led to him being released. He missed all of the 2015 season as he dealt with issues related to anxiety (and, yes, worked at a Kroger).
Toles made his way through the Dodgers’ farm system quickly, jumping from High-A Rancho Cucamonga to Double-A Tulsa after just 22 games. After 43 games in Tulsa, Toles was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Toles then got his Major League call up on July 8 and made his debut that night, going 1-for-4 with a double. He fared well throughout July (.316/.395/.395 in 43 PA), but was sent back to Oklahoma City for a couple of weeks in August before returning to Los Angeles for the remainder of the season.
Toles was highly impressive in limited MLB playing time. Noteworthy speed, solid defense and a strong arm made him a lot of fun to watch, and the results were more than satisfactory. With regular playing time, his numbers will likely decline a bit (that .385 BABIP isn’t sustainable), but he still has the potential to be a valuable asset, especially against right-handed pitching.
The most exciting Toles moment of the year had to be his top-of-the-ninth, two-out, go-ahead grand slam in Colorado on Aug. 30. I’m posting the video here because it’s so joyous.
Toles continued tearing it up through the postseason, going .364/.423/.455 in 26 plate appearances, and his success led to him being selected to lead off in Game 6 of the NLCS. He got one of the Dodgers’ two hits in that game (although he was immediately erased on a double play). He was also responsible for a brutal error in the top of the first that extended the inning for Clayton Kershaw. Of course, none of that mattered, as Kyle Hendricks and the rest of the Cubs’ pitching staff pretty thoroughly shut down the Dodger offense. (I know, none of you especially wanted to relive that, and I apologize.)
It’s too bad that that’s out last memory of Toles this year, but I’m still looking forward to seeing what he’ll do next season.
2017 status: Toles will be back with the Dodgers next year, barring a trade. It is very likely he’ll be getting a good deal more playing time in the Dodgers outfield in 2017.