Andrew Toles received the call for his big league debut in early July and never looked back, sticking with the club through the end of the season by filling in at all three outfield positions and frequently appearing as a pinch-hitter late in games. All told, it was a miraculous season for the 24-year-old Toles -- who had sat out the entire 2015 season -- as he jumped through the hoops of three different minor league levels before reaching the show, with a composite line of .331/.374/.511 in 349 plate appearances across the three levels. He was also consistent, hitting at least .314 with a .511 SLG or higher at every stop, as well as stealing 23 bases in the minor leagues last season. There's plenty of volatility here, with the downside to revisit the minors should big-league pitchers discover a hole in his swing, but there's no denying his tremendous upside in an organization that is becoming increasingly frustrated with Yasiel Puig.
Toles is in position to be a left-handed platoon partner in left field along with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez, Bill Plunkett of the Orange Country Register reports. The 24-year-old went 2-for-4 with a grand slam Saturday against Oakland, raising his spring average to .348. With Andre Either (back) expected to miss an undetermined amount of time early in the season, Toles is the lone left-handed outfielder remaining. Trayce Thompson and Scott Van Slyke might also be used in left field, per manager Dave Roberts, but he's not ready to make any decisions. One thing is certain, Roberts has made it clear that he doesn't want Gutierrez facing right-handed pitchers, so there's some at-bats available.
With Andre Ethier (back) being shut down for 7-10 days, Toles has little standing between him and regular playing time to begin the regular season. Toles continued his solid spring Monday, going 1-for-3 in a loss to the Indians and bringing his Cactus League batting average up to .286 in 35 at-bats. Ethier's presence in camp presented a potential roadblock to regular playing time for the young outfielder, but with the former's availability for Opening Day in question, Toles becomes the leading candidate to see regular playing time against right-handers in left field. The 24-year-old doesn't possess much power (he never hit more than seven home runs at any minor league level), but could be a sneaky source of steals (123 steals across four minor league seasons) without hurting fantasy teams' batting averages.
Toles went 3-for-4 with a triple, an RBI and a trio of runs scored in Wednesday's spring training win over the Mariners. Toles returned from a minor knee injury this past weekend, and Wednesday's performance is a good indication that he is back up to full speed. The 24-year-old is currently the front-runner for regular playing time in left field after breaking out in 2016 (.314/.365/.505). The job isn't his yet, as Andre Ethier remains in the mix as a left-handed bat who can start in left field. If Toles does win the job out of camp, he would likely platoon with one of the lefty mashers the Dodgers have available off the bench after only receiving 13 plate appearances against southpaws last year.
Toles (knee) is expected to play in Saturday's game against the Angels, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. He is not in the starting lineup, but it sounds like he will get into Saturday's game after missing time with a slight knee hyperextension. Toles needs to hit the ground running this spring to solidify the everyday job in left field.
Toles has missed the last four games with a slight knee hyperextension, but is expected to return to action later this week, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Now we know why Toles has been absent from the last several exhibition games. The fact that he is expected to be back this week is encouraging, as this is an important spring for him to establish a firm hold on the strong side of a left field platoon.