Andrew Toles
(Ralph Freso / Associated Press)

When Andrew Toles first made an impact on Major League Baseball, it seemed like finally, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a consistent leadoff man. President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman had him signed after witnessing his performance as a Tampa Bay Ray. Toles possessed all five tools, something a Dodger player was missing for a while. Mystery shrouds this ballplayer and now that the details are surfacing, Andrew Toles is one sad case.

Dodger manager Dave Roberts had so much faith in Toles in 2016, he began to start the speedy outfielder regularly. Toles proved his worthiness hitting .314 and slugging .505 from his call-up in July to the end of the season. His finest moment came against Colorado, smacking a go-ahead grand slam being faced down to the last strike. This faith ultimately led the Dodgers manager to have Toles make regular appearances in the postseason, hitting .364 as a result. Unfortunately, the first of his big deciding downfalls occurred in game six, or Chicago’s pennant-clinching game.

In a small way, Andrew Toles’ dropped flyball in game 6 had a similar impact that Bill Buckner’s play did 30 years prior. Anthony Rizzo lifted a ball to left field, which should’ve been a can of corn. Toles whiffed on it and it allowed runners to go to second and third. This opened the door for the Cubs, winning the game, 5-0 and at that point making Kershaw look even worse in the postseason than he deserved. Chicago went on to win their first World Series Championship in over 100 years.

The next event occurred in May of the 2017 season. Up until this point, he was the Dodgers’ everyday leadoff hitter. It all came crumbling down when Toles tore his ACL in an attempt to preserve Julio Urias’ no-hitter, ending the season for the left fielder. He had surgery but only appeared in 17 games for Los Angeles in 2018 batting .233. It got even worse with his failure to show up to Spring Training for 2019 due to what was only cryptically classified as a “personal issue.”

During the next two years, nobody batted an eye at what had happened to the former Dodger leadoff hitter. No news was coming out, but suspicion was present especially with his mental health issues in previous years which had him let go from the Rays. Toles has dealt with anxiety as well as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In 2015, he spent time away from baseball at a mental health facility as well as a cashier at a supermarket. Assuming the worst was easy to come by during these years based on these conditions.

After waiting a long time, Toles was finally arrested for illegally trespassing in a Florida airport back in June. He appeared homeless with his address written as “the streets of Key West.” The worst thing about it was that his family was unaware of his whereabouts the entire time up to this point. His being arrested was possibly the best thing that could’ve happened to him as it might’ve even saved his life.

This is Toles’ current status as far as we know. Hopefully, he’s getting the help he needs and perhaps could achieve the confidence to return to baseball. A serious lost soul.

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