LOS ANGELES—That outfielder Andrew Toles should make the major leagues is not surprising given his skill set.
What is surprising is Toles made it to the majors at all after the missteps he took along the way.
“I’ve matured a lot,” said Toles, 24. “I don’t talk as much now. I try to be on time. A lot of small stuff.”
Toles was dismissed after just one season at Tennessee, where coach Dave Serrano said he did not live up to the “standard of accountability” required of a student-athlete. Toles lasted just one year at Chipola (Fla.) JC, where he also was suspended.
A 2012 third-round pick of the Rays—under current Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman—Toles’ ability was apparent almost from the start. He hit .326 and won the batting title in the 2013 Midwest League to earn the Rays’ minor league player-of-the-year award.
In 2014, however, he clashed with his high Class A Charlotte manager, was benched and eventually spent two months away from baseball dealing with “personal issues.” The Rays released him in 2015 spring training.
“It was a situation where a lot of things didn’t go my way,” Toles said. “Me and my agent came to an agreement with the Rays that it wasn’t a good situation for me.”
Toles spent last season out of baseball, “pretty much sitting at home waiting on phone calls” and even briefly working at a Kroger grocery store back home in Georgia.
He finally got a call from Friedman and signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in the offseason. He cruised up the system, hitting a combined .330 while jumping from high Class A to Triple-A and making his major league debut on July 8.
Very quickly, he made a positive impression on manager Dave Roberts.
“He can hit. He can defend. I like his energy,” Roberts said.
• Cuban rigthander Yaisel Sierra, signed for six years and $30 million this spring, moved to the bullpen after going 4-5, 7.05 in 13 starts at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He recorded a 2.57 ERA in relief and was promoted to Double-A.