The Dodgers don’t have too many holes in their lineup. We might quibble over the actual value and production that Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford might provide, but even without Matt Kemp in their lineup the Dodgers are able to put together a pretty nice batting order.
It came out this week that manager Don Mattingly could use Yasiel Puig as his everyday leadoff hitter, a move that…well it’s a move that just sort of makes sense. Which is weird, coming from Mattingly.
Considering all the Dodgers weapons, is putting Puig at the top of the order the best use of these toys. It’s the Dodgers and another First World Problem but it it worth a look.
Yasiel Puig spent a good chunk of last season in the Dodgers leadoff spot so this would not be a new challenge for him. As far as total starts, Puig hit second the most frequently, then leadoff, then cleanup. I find this quite interesting, as those are the three “most important” batting order spots, as dictated by The Book. And Yasiel Puig is no worse than the Dodgers third best hitter, so all these spots work for him.
Dodgers reporter Ken Gurnick suggests flipping Puig to first and dropping Carl Crawford to the second spot is largely dependent on base running. Crawford doesn’t get around quite like he used to while Puig runs like an unbroken thoroughbred, though your average Kentucky Derby entrant would likely have a better stolen base record.
Base running shouldn’t be the determining factor when laying out the batting order. Yes, Puig gets on base a whole lot more than Crawford. But the extra power in Puig’s bat makes me think he’s a better fit for the two slot. Especially if Crawford isn’t going to run much anymore, as that leaves Puig to just do his thing at the plate without distraction or concern.
If I’m Mattingly (and I think we can all agree I basically am), I follow Puig with Adrian Gonzalez and then Hanley Ramirez. I like Hanley’s bat better and flipping these two maintains the LRLR model that managers crave.
Andre Ethier in the five spot keeps our structure in tact, then Juan Uribe. Uribe probably won’t be as good in 2014 as he was yesterday but he always has enough pop in his bat to keep pitchers honest. After him, A.J. Ellis and his patience will be tested as Alex Guerrero or whoever LA uses as second base and the pitcher round out the lineup.
Many of the projection systems simply love the Dodgers talent, putting them on as many as 91 wins. The order in which Mattingly doesn’t really factor in too greatly in that calculus – just getting the talent in one place is the biggest issue. And when Matt Kemp returns, they have a whole ‘nother set of questions and adjustments to make. (Call me crazy, but sticking Carl Crawford in center field should take care of that problem all on its own in no time.)
Yasiel Puig in the leadoff spot is a fine idea. But his skills and the skills of the players around him might force LA’s bench boss to switch things up to better accommodate his squad. Not a bad problem to have, a hitter too powerful for the leadoff slot? The rich really know how to live.
Important read of the day
While the Dodgers lineup largess is built on the back of a fat TV deal, your dude and mine Jonah Keri digs in deep on the Orioles/Nats deal mess and shows it isn’t always such a money factory.
It’s a very interesting look at just how much insider trading (so to speak) goes on in baseball. There is so, so, much money in this game but don’t think for a second any owner lets dollar one pass through their fingers without a fight.
And while we’re on the subject of shady TV deals, read this Astros County recap of the ‘stros current TV morass. It’s like the Dodgers TV deal except the opposite! Things are really look up in Houston!
The Dodgers really know how to live
In addition to all the lineup fun listed above, there are many other reasons to envy Dodgers fans. Like this fan-made Parks & Recreation crossover GIF!
Courtesy of @akatheConMan on twitter, this is the Lord’s work.
And then there is the legend of Zack Greinke, a man who makes more than $25 million a year as a professional baseball pitcher who also happens to scout high school pitchers in his spare time. Yes, the same Greinke who sat in on the Dodgers draft room because it interests him. That hardly seems fair.
2016 top prospect Austin Bergner also pitches for West Orange. Up to 93 with good curve. Zach Grienke in attendance.
— Steffan Segui (@steffanbaseball) February 6, 2014