Player Grades! Infielders/Catchers (based on regular season performance)
So far I've graded the Dodgers' pitchers and outfielders, so today I'll be grading the infielders and catchers who were on the NLDS roster plus Austin Barnes. Again, these grades are based purely on regular season performance, so playoffs numbers are irrelevant here.
Austin Barnes: C-. While he frames at a well above average rate and handles the pitching staff very well, Barnes simply cannot hit. He started the season with a hot streak but fell into a large, gaping, slump that led to a mid-summer demotion to Oklahoma City. Barnes figures to be sophomore Will Smith's backup in 2020.
Matt Beaty: B+. Beaty proved to be a solid contact hitter with a little bit of power and a great bench option when he wasn't starting. While he lacks the power of many players on the Dodger, he makes up for it with a low strikeout-rate and a decent OBP. Never wavering in the clutch, Beaty also had many dramatic home runs and heroic hits for the Dodgers in 2019.
David Freese: A. Speaking of clutch, David Freese ended his MLB career with a great, albeit short, season with the Dodgers in which he continued to crush left-handed pitching and improved significantly against righties. Unfortunately, various maladies prevented him from playing a full season and ultimately led to his deciding to retire at the end of the 2019 season.
Gavin Lux: B. While Lux tore up PCL pitching, he had a bit of a rough transition to the Major Leagues and struggled to get on base consistently. However, he did hit two home runs in September stint with the Dodgers, displaying his immense power and potential to be a future perennial All-Star. With a bit of a bumpy transition expected for any minor-leager, Lux is the current favorite to be the 2020 National League Rookie of the Year.
Russel Martin: B-. Martin, as a backup catcher, had no real job to do other than handle a pitching staff mixed with veterans and rookies. He did so ably and with ease, although he did struggle mightily at the plate. His bat, did, however, heat up at the end of the year and he hit some clutch home runs in September. Martin, now a free agent, expects to play in 2020, and I find it likely he will sign with a bad team with a young pitching staff.
Max Muncy: A+. Muncy shattered any ideas that his monster 2018 season was a fluke following it up with a debatably better All-Star season in 2019. He crushed homers left and right with the most majestic bat-flips of anybody else on the team. The area in which Muncy improved the most was his defense, where he became a valuable asset a 3 infield positions in 2019. I hope that, in 2020, he hits a homer off Bumgarner into the pool at Chase Field.
Corey Seager: B. Seager, when fully healthy, hit very well in the regular season. Unfortunately, after he started to get back into the swing of things in May and June after Tommy John surgeries, he injured his hamstring, subtracting a month from his season. When healthy, he showed flashes of his 2016-17 greatness, but could not consistently produce at that high a level. Here's to hoping Seager has a fully healthy 2020 season.
Will Smith: A-: The Fresh Prince of Chavez Ravine absolutely tore up the league when he arrived over the summer, hitting two walkoff home runs in his first two stints with the Dodgers. After his initial ascendance to godhood, he returned to Earth a little bit in August and September, struggling to consistently reach base and hitting fewer home runs, but this was likely due to fatigue as he had never played a season that stretched into September before.
Justin Turner: A-: With Turner, as usual, the hitting was superb but he had a daily battle with his own aging body. In a season shortened by various injuries, Turner tied his career high with 27 home runs after not hitting any in April. His defense did decline as he aged, but his team leadership is equally as invaluable as his clutch hitting.