Three Dodgers takeaways: The 6 All-Stars, Justin Wrobleski's debut and more (2024)

LOS ANGELES — The announcement wasn’t surprising, but it was satisfying for Teoscar Hernández. As Dave Roberts spoke in front of the clubhouse Sunday morning and read off the names of the Los Angeles Dodgers who had been selected for an All-Star Game appearance, Hernández was the one who evoked the biggest smile. The veteran outfielder ingratiated himself with his teammates quickly.


His second All-Star selection, he admitted, is validation after a maddening trip through free agency.

“A little bit,” Hernández said. “A lot of people expected me to not perform well after last season.”

The former Silver Slugger felt he was primed for a multi-year pact despite the Seattle Mariners declining to give him a qualifying offer. He settled for a deferred one-year deal with the Dodgers. It’s paid off: Hernández entered Sunday in the top 10 in the majors in RBIs and enjoying a resurgent season that may revise how he’s valued. He may even participate in the Home Run Derby, openly lobbying MLB for an invitation after slugging 19 so far this season.

Hernández is just one of the six-pack of the Dodgers who will be making the trip to Arlington, Texas, for this month’s All-Star Game. Only the Philadelphia Phillies have more.

“There’s six of us, that’s pretty special,” Freddie Freeman said. “When you got over 20 percent of your team going to an All-Star Game, that means you’ve got a pretty good team.”

Their star-studded roster will be represented as such.

For Tyler Glasnow, a first-time All-Star, it’s validation for a full, healthy first half for his hometown club.

“It’s always been my goal,” Glasnow said.

For Will Smith, it’s back-to-back All-Star selections to further cement his claim as one of the preeminent catchers, pacing the position in FanGraphs WAR (3.4) and OPS (.854) entering Sunday.

For Freeman, it’s another stamp for a model of consistency. He expressed extreme frustration with his start to the season, yet entered Sunday once again with an OPS above .900 (.913) as he takes part in the Midsummer Classic for the sixth consecutive time and eighth time overall.

“You never know when it’s your last one,” Freeman said. “So every single one is special. I can’t wait to enjoy it.”


For Mookie Betts, it’s an audacious challenge in what he’s called one of the most difficult seasons of his career. He very well could have been the National League’s starter at shortstop — a position he hadn’t played full-time since high school — had he not broken his hand last month.

For Shohei Ohtani, it’s the first of what the Dodgers hope could be a decade of trips for the man they gave 700 million reasons to sign. Ohtani swiped a pair of bases on Sunday, becoming the first player in the majors this year to reach 20 home runs (he has 28) and 20 stolen bases.

The moment that Doc announced our six All-Stars to the clubhouse.

— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 7, 2024

A strong big league debut for Justin Wrobleski

Wrobleski was wolfing down a burger at Yard House when the call he’d been waiting on finally came. The left-hander had been alerted earlier in the week there would be a chance he would make his major league debut this week, just three years after undergoing Tommy John surgery and being selected in the 11th round of the draft. The years since have quickly seen him emerge as one of the more intriguing arms in the Dodgers’ pitching development pipeline. His arrival came after just two starts in Triple A. But the Dodgers wanted him in reserve, flying him to Los Angeles with no promise of a debut until the call finally came Saturday night.

Then Wrobleski surprised his new manager. He told Roberts he had been more nervous ahead of his first few starts at the Triple-A level than he was when he stood on the Dodger Stadium mound for the first time on Sunday.

“He even said there were some starts in Triple A that he felt more nervous than he did today, which you don’t hear very often,” Roberts said. “But I think he meant it.”

Said Wrobleski: “I just felt normal. Felt like I belonged. It was a lot of fun. … I’ve prepared for this. I’m ready for this. I was ready for this. Just kind of telling myself that. This is what you do. You go out there, you get outs.”


It’s a quick rise that showed in the pair of hiccups that abbreviated his start. Wrobleski flashed intriguing stuff, including a fastball that topped out at 97.8 mph and has unique extension in his delivery to make it play even better than that. But the mistakes weren’t left unaccounted for. He cruised before he left a slider up that the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich punished for a two-run shot in the fourth. When he did leave a fastball over the plate, Eric Haase drove it out for a two-run blast of his own in the fifth.

Wrobleski lasted five innings and gave up four runs in a 9-2 loss. The outing encouraged the organization.

“I’m really, really impressed with the way he carries himself, the way he carried himself today,” Roberts said. “The emotions didn’t get too much for him. I know his stuff plays here.”

Given the Dodgers’ pitching needs, Wrobleski will be back again.

“We’re going to see him again soon,” Roberts said.

There's the first Major League strikeout for Justin Wrobleski, the @Dodgers' No. 14 prospect.

— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 7, 2024

Is third base a trade deadline need?

The Dodgers certainly didn’t expect third base to be part of their shopping list, but with each passing day, Max Muncy’s oblique is making that more of a potential reality. Perhaps it was bold or too bullish for the club to claim Muncy could be back after a minimum injured list stint back in May, but no one could have thought that Muncy would still not be all that much closer to a return at this stage in July.

It’s hard to find much optimism for a step forward. Muncy has stopped swinging a bat, Roberts said this weekend.

“There’s no progression,” Roberts said. “It just continues to remain stagnant as far as kind of this discomfort, soreness, so we just haven’t been allowed to or continue to progress because he just has that same sensation.”


The Dodgers have struggled to fill the void at third, with Chris Taylor the latest to get some runway at the position. He hit a home run Sunday to extend his recent hot stretch at the plate. A move at the deadline looms if the position remains unstable.

Another door may be opening: Miguel Vargas, who played third base during his time in the minors, was last year’s Opening Day second baseman and now has a chance at some more regular at-bats in left field with Jason Heyward’s injury absence.

Vargas has produced, slugging a pair of home runs this weekend and earning more of a look.

“I’ve been patient,” Vargas said Saturday after his go-ahead homer off the bench sealed a Dodgers win. “I’ve been working on myself trying to get this type of opportunity.”

The opportunity has come in left field, and his bat is making the Dodgers think about other possibilities. He’s also started taking ground balls at third base again. It’s something the Dodgers are now willing to go back to.

(Photo of Teoscar Hernández and Shohei Ohtani celebrating a home run: Kirby Lee / USA Today)

Three Dodgers takeaways: The 6 All-Stars, Justin Wrobleski's debut and more (1)Three Dodgers takeaways: The 6 All-Stars, Justin Wrobleski's debut and more (2)

Fabian Ardaya is a staff writer covering the Los Angeles Dodgers for The Athletic. He previously spent three seasons covering the crosstown Los Angeles Angels for The Athletic. He graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May 2017 after growing up in a Phoenix-area suburb. Follow Fabian on Twitter @FabianArdaya

Three Dodgers takeaways: The 6 All-Stars, Justin Wrobleski's debut and more (2024)
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