Depth charge: Trayce Thompson and Kiké Hernandez off to fast starts

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

When a foul ball fractured the leg of starting left fielder Andre Ethier in March, knocking him out of action for approximately three months, his position fell primarily to Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke.

By the time the Dodgers played their first home game, Crawford and Van Slyke were on the disabled list as well. But the Dodgers have thrived in left field, thanks largely to the fast starts of Trayce Thompson and Kiké Hernandez.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS V ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKSThompson, acquired from the White Sox during the offseason, is 7 for 16 with a 1.063 OPS (190 wRC+). Hernandez, who went 9 for 56 in Spring Training, has nearly matched that hit total by going 8 for 20 in the regular season with a .955 OPS (162 wRC+).

Coincidentally, Thompson (who turned 25 in March) and Hernandez (who turns 25 in August) each have two doubles, two walks and three strikeouts.

Neither Thompson nor Hernandez have been confined to left field, but their offense while playing there has helped make left the Dodgers’ No. 2 offensive position through 10 games, behind only right field.

By the way, Ethier was also a potential leadoff hitter for the Dodgers. In his place, the Dodgers have started only two players in the top slot: Hernandez (6 for 11, 1.311 OPS) and Chase Utley (11 for 33, .890 OPS). The Dodgers’ .994 OPS at leadoff is third in the National League.

Obviously, Thompson and Hernandez won’t continue to bat over .400, but when the Dodgers talk about the importance of depth, this (like Ross Stripling in the starting rotation) is what they mean.

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