The Dodgers decision to carry five outfielders this season was a head scratcher, but Scott Van Slyke showed Monday why, with the four others previous all stars, he made the cut.
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The power-hitting right hander slugged two no doubter home runs in the Dodgers 6-2 win against the Reds in Great American Ball Park. He also walked twice and got a broken bat single to complete a night where he reached base five times, drove in four runs an scored three.
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He may play much, but the ability to put together a game like that is why he’s on the team.
“I know what I’m here for, and I don’t mind. I’m not going to complain,” Van Slyke said afterward.
He’s there to mash, and that’s what he’s done in limited action.
Here’s some perspective: The Chesterfield, Missouri, native only has 72 at bats but his six home runs are fourth on the team. Of his 20 hits, more than half are for exta bases. And while his batting average is a respectable .278, his on-base percentage is a eye popping .435. And the Dodgers are getting this type of production for just over $500,000, Van Slyke’s salary this season.
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“He’s been good for us all year,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says. “He’s done what we want him to do, basically be dangerous. He hits the ball out of the ballpark.”
Dodger fans have seen this type of player before. He’s former up and coming LA rightfielder turned $126 million franchise outfielder for the Washington Nationals - Jason Werth. Like Werth, Van Slyke shows he’s got all-star ability. Like Werth, Van Slyke is not flashy, but steady with the glove and can play all three outfield spots and like Werth, Van Slyke's potential may never be fully realized in Dodger blue.
But if the 27-year-old continues to let his bat do his bidding, a Werth-level contract could be in his future.