The front office for the Dodgers has been the recipient of a lot of backlash this off-season. Fans have been calling for them to do something, whether it be make another trade or sign any player (preferably Bryce Harper).
On Thursday, the front office finally did something, signing outfielder A.J. Pollock. After giving the fans what they’ve been asking for, they still were the recipient of backlash. Fans across social media were outraged with the move, upset the Dodgers were signing an injury-riddled player as opposed to laying out $200+ million for Bryce Harper.
24 hours after the move, it’s already being called a bad signing. Before Pollock even puts on a Dodgers uniform, he already has major expectations on his shoulders.
So, who exactly is A.J. Pollock, and what should Dodgers fans expect from the 31-year-old?
Well, Dodgers fans should already be very familiar with Pollock. Throughout his career, he has notoriously been known as a ‘Dodger-killer’.
In 89 career games versus LA, Pollock is hitting .291/.352/.532/.884. He has 17 home runs with 43 RBI, and has scored 57 runs. Most of his damage came more recently in 2018, where he hit nine home runs in just 19 games versus LA.
Before being placed on the DL with a left thumb avulsion fracture, Pollock was putting together an All-Star campaign for the 2018 season. Through the first two months, Pollock was hitting .293 with an OPS of .969. He had 11 home runs and 33 runs batted in.
When he returned from the two-month DL stint, he wasn’t the same player. He hit only .236, with an OPS of .704. There’s little doubt that the injury had a negative impact on the second-half of his season.
Throughout his career, Pollock has been a very consistent hitter against left-handed pitchers, something that will benefit the Dodgers greatly. From 2012 until 2017, he hit .288 against southpaws. His numbers took a decrease in 2018, as he hit only .221 against them, though it was largely impacted from his second-half, where he hit only .189.
For the most part, Pollock is still a very consistent and reliable bat against lefties, hitting .275 for his career.
On the defensive side, Pollock gives the Dodgers an every day center fielder with elite defense, yet another upgrade from last year. No knock on Cody Bellinger or any other Dodger that played center last year, but with Pollock now out there, LA gets significantly better.
The biggest knock on Pollock throughout his career has been his health. He appeared in only 113 games last year, and only 112 the year before. In 2016, he was limited to only 12 games.
2015, Pollock’s last healthy season, was arguably his best. He hit .315 with 20 home runs, and was an N.L. All-Star. Though it’s asking a lot to rely on the outfielder to be healthy, he has proven to be one of the game’s best outfielders when he is.
When it’s all said and done, Pollock will have the most to prove in 2018. He’s essentially the replacement for fan-favorite Yasiel Puig, and will have a lot of eyes on him.