Is Pages making his case for a long-term roster spot with LA?

April 30th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Juan Toribio’s Dodgers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

A couple of hours before last Tuesday’s game vs. the Nationals, sat in the visitors' dugout at Nationals Park. It was the start of his first road trip in the Majors, and he wanted to enjoy the view.

It was one of the few moments where Pages has looked and acted like a rookie. That’s because since getting called up to the Majors on April 16, the 23-year-old Cuban outfielder has looked and played every bit like a big leaguer.

“Very impressed with Andy,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I think one of the things that we bet on Andy was the head, that he wasn’t going to be overwhelmed being here. Certainly, he’s not.”

Since arriving from Triple-A Oklahoma City, Pages (the Dodgers' No. 3 prospect) has shown the hit tool that made him one of the top prospects in the organization and across the Minor Leagues.

Through 12 games with the Dodgers, Pages is hitting .298 with two homers, five doubles and eight RBIs, including three in their 8-4 win over the D-backs on Monday. While those numbers have certainly been impressive, it was just as important how he responded to his early struggles at the plate.

Pages recorded his first big league hit in his first at-bat on the first pitch he saw on April 16. After that single, however, he had brief struggles, going 1-for-13 with eight strikeouts. Getting to the fastball, especially at the top of the zone, was an issue for Pages.

But it took him about three games to make the necessary adjustment, something that doesn’t happen nearly as quickly for any player, but especially one his age.

Pages made a concerted effort to cut down his swing when needed. Over the next seven games, Pages went 11-for-29 with two homers and a 1.056 OPS. Most importantly, he punched out just twice.

“He just didn’t panic,” Roberts said. “He has the ability to go from line to line. I love him defensively. He’s engaged. Not that he didn’t open up eyes before, but you just don’t know until you see it at this level. I’m happy that he’s getting a good little run. It’s good for him.”

Pages’ time in the Majors came much earlier than anybody anticipated. But with the Dodgers losing Jason Heyward to a back injury and seeing Chris Taylor struggle at the plate, it opened the door for them to test out the rookie outfielder.

While ups and downs are expected for every young player, Pages is looking more and more like a player who is here to stay. Sure, Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani and Will Smith are the primary reasons the Dodgers flipped the switch and won six in a row, including the first five on their nine-game road trip. But it’s impossible to ignore that the bottom of the order looked much more dangerous during that stretch, and it was all because of Pages.

Now, the real test will come when the Dodgers are healthy. Heyward is still at least a couple of weeks away, which means Pages will continue to get playing time in center and right. But when he returns, the Dodgers will have to make a decision. James Outman and Taylor haven’t performed so far this season. If Pages continues this development, it’ll be hard to send him down.

“Well, everyone’s idea of a while is relative,” Roberts laughed, when asked if Pages will be with the Dodgers for an extended period of time. “So -- yeah, he will. My version is yes, he will.”