Dodgers Team News

Dave Roberts Discusses Shohei Ohtani’s Dominance as Dodgers’ Leadoff Hitter

Shohei Ohtani was thrust into the Dodgers’ leadoff spot when Mookie Betts fractured his hand. Ohtani, who had prior leadoff experience from his time with the Angels, has made an instant impact atop L.A.’s lineup.

Read more: Should Dodgers Trade For a Full-Time Shortstop To Replace Mookie Betts?

Ohtani led off for the Dodgers in each of their four games this week against the Colorado Rockies. Ohtani went 8-for-18 (.444) with two home runs, three doubles, and seven runs batted in. He also scored six runs.

The Dodgers took three of four from Colorado, and have found a source of instant offense in Ohtani. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke about Ohtani’s move to the leadoff spot, and what he’s seen from him so far.

“It was by default,” Roberts said of his move to leadoff. “We had no one else. So, he’s a perfect default. He’s done it before. He’s done it before. And honestly, he’s swinging the bat well there, and he was starting to swing the batter better before that. So, he’s just doing what he needs to do as far as controlling the zone.”

Roberts initially said he wasn’t sure if Ohtani would only lead off against right-handed pitching, but thus far, he’s been the leadoff hitter against pitchers from both sides. And considering his success, Ohtani will likely stay there for the foreseeable future.

The Dodgers head back to Los Angeles to welcome Ohtani’s former team, the Angels, into Dodger Stadium for a three-game set. Expect to see Ohtani in the leadoff spot for all three games.

Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.


  1. Mookie is a much better 2nd or 3rd hitter. I believe Shohei is a natural leadoff batter. When Mookie returns, it is going to be interesting to see who Dave puts where in the batting order. As I have said previously, Dave Roberts is as flexible as a granite boulder. People who are that stubborn should not be in the field managers position.

    1. I agree. He consistently has almost 100 RBI’s every year as a lead off hitter. Could you imagine if he was a 2/3 hitter?

      Take last year, 40 home runs, 40 doubles, 108 rbis, and he consistently has the most home runs from the lead off spot pretty much every year. Could you imagine what his numbers would have looked like if he had 1-2 guys on instead of all those lead off doubles with no one on base and all those solo home runs? He could be a 150 rbi guy. Not to mention .400+ OBP, and all those runs he scores, he would consistently be on base for the 3-4-5 guys.

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