Andrew Toles

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Alvin Andrew Toles

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Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Andrew Toles began his professional career in 2012, but it was derailed by mental health issues.

He was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 4th round of the 2010 amateur draft, one pick ahead of pitcher Seth Rosin, but opted not to sign. He continued on to the University of Tennessee, but was dismissed from the team in October of 2011 because of behavioral problems[1]. He then enrolled at Chipola College and did sign after the Rays took him in the 3rd round of the 2012 amateur draft. He signed for a bonus of $369,700.

With the Princeton Rays in 2012, Toles hit .281/.327/.482 with 7 home runs, 33 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 51 games. In 2013, he hit .326/.359/.466 with 2 home runs, 57 RBI, 62 stolen bases and 79 runs scored in 121 games for the Bowling Green Hot Rods. The speedster led the Midwest League in batting average and hits and was named a Mid- and Post-Season All-Star, a Topps Class-A All-Star, a Organization All-Star, the Rays' Minor League Player of the Year and the best baserunner in the Rays' system. In 2014, he hit .265/.304/.341 with 24 stolen bases in 52 games between the Charlotte Stone Crabs and GCL Rays but he missed two months of the season because of personal issues, then, the Rays decided to release him at the end of spring training in 2015 for what were obviously non baseball-related issues, although details were not provided.

Andrew sat out all of 2015, working in a grocery store for minimum wage to make ends meet while waiting for a phone call from another organization. He was dealing with crippling anxiety and sought help from a mental health treatment center. However, his reputation as a troubled young man was now established, and it took until late September for him to get a second chance, in the form of a call from Andrew Friedman, who had originally drafted him as GM of the Rays and was now team President of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He did not waste that second chance. 2016 proved to be a whirlwind tour up the baseball ladder, as he started out in Class A with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes then moved up to the AA Tulsa Drillers after hitting .370 in 22 games. He was just as solid in the Texas League, as he hit .314 in 43 games to earn another promotion to the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers. There he hit .321 in 17 games to earn a call-up to the Show. He made his debut with Los Angeles on July 8th and continued to bat well over .300, forcing the Dodgers to give him increased playing time. On August 31st, he capped an excellent month of August with a grand slam off Adam Ottavino of the Colorado Rockies with two outs in the 9th inning at Coors Field, turning an 8-6 deficit into a 10-8 win. Overall, he played 48 games for the Dodgers and hit .314 with 19 runs and 16 RBIs. he was used regularly in the postseason, playing a total of 11 games between the NLDS and NLCS, hitting .364, including a .462 average with 4 runs scored in the Dodgers six-game loss to the Chicago Cubs in the Championship Series.

In 2017, he was hitting .271 with 5 homers and 15 RBIs after 31 games when he suffered a season-ending injury. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he crashed into the fence while trying to preserve a no-hit bid by Julio Urias in the 7th inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 9th. He failed to catch Andrew McCutchen's drive which landed for a double in left field. As a result, he missed the Dodgers run to the World Series and began 2018 back in the minors with Oklahoma City. Given he was still recovering from his serious injury, it was Max Muncy who got the call when the Dodgers needed early-season reinforcements due to a rash of injuries, and the veteran minor leaguer became a folk legend by hitting 20 homers before the All-Star break. Meanwhile, Toles was injured from mid-April to early June and did not really get going until then. He was hitting .326 in 34 games in AAA when on July 9th he was called up to L.A. to replace Yasiel Puig, who had to go on the DL with a strained oblique muscle. In his first game back that day, he went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs in an 8-2 win over the San Diego Padres, demonstrating that he had not lost his batting eye during his prolonged absence from the Show. He couldn't keep this up, however, as he hit just .233 in 17 games, with 2 doubles his only extra-base hits. He returned to AAA where in 71 games, he finished at .306/.345/.461.

He never reported to spring training in 2019, citing an unspecified personal issue, and was placed on the restricted list by the Dodgers. According to his family he spent the following months going in and out of mental health facilities, never staying long enough to follow a proper course of treatment. The period included an incident when he went to Hong Kong, lost his passport, and was arrested for stealing food at a gas station; the American consulate managed to get him repatriated, but he disappeared again when he arrived back in the U.S. On June 22, 2020, he was arrested for trespassing when found by police sleeping behind the Federal Express building at Key West, FL's airport, with just a small book bag as his sole possession. He refused to leave the area, leading to his arrest, and listed his address as "the streets of Key West". He was forcibly hospitalized, but was likely to flee again as soon as his condition improved.

Toles' father Alvin [2] played in the NFL from 1985-1988.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mike DiGiovanna: "Talented but troubled Andrew Toles gets a second chance with Dodgers", The Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2016. [3]
  • Bob Nightengale: "'He really needs help': Family seeks help for Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles, who is homeless and hospitalized", USA Today, June 30, 2020. [4]
  • Mike Oz: "Dodgers outfielder Andrew Toles jailed after being found sleeping behind Florida airport", Yahoo! Sports, June 26, 2020.

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