Dodgers Team News

Dodgers News: Mattingly Noncommittal On Rollins Batting Leadoff

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

As a result of their offseason makeover, the Los Angeles Dodgers have on paper, traded in prolific offense for much-improved defense. The new collection of players are certainly capable of performing well offensively, it just may look different.

Howie Kendrick won’t steal 64 bases a la Dee Gordon, but he’ll put the ball in play and make pitchers work to get him out. Jimmy Rollins may not replace the bat Hanley Ramirez is capable of swinging, but it’s not beyond reason to believe he’ll be more consistent.

Along with needing to replace production from Gordon, Matt Kemp and Ramirez, manager Don Mattingly essentially needs to rework the batting order. Gordon solidified himself as the leadoff hitter last season and with his departure, the Dodgers don’t necessarily have an obvious answer.

One candidate is Rollins, though Mattingly wouldn’t yet commit to him, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports:

Last season, Rollins only hit from the leadoff spot in 21 games. The lion’s share of his at-bats came from the two-hole, where he was for 111 games. However for his 15-year career, the majority or Rollins’ games came with him batting leadoff (1,459 games of 2,090).

Should Mattingly not decide to go with Rollins, Kendrick or Yasiel Puig could be other options to bat leadoff. Though it should be noted during Kendrick’s career with the Los Angeles of Anaheim, he primarily hit second, fifth and sixth.

Kendrick’s best slash last season came in 39 games (161 plate appearances) as the cleanup hitter — .320/.366/.513 with four home runs and 28 RBIs, both of which were his best totals among the various spots in the order he hit from.

In just 252 career-games with the Dodgers, Puig has been moved throughout the order by Mattingly; in 140 of those games, Mattingly penciled Puig in at the second spot. Puig’s next highest games played with respect to batting order is as a leadoff hitter — 39 games, hitting .301/.386/.527 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

As Mattingly has so often stated when questioned how other roster issues would iron out, he’ll have six weeks to tinker with the lineup before needing to put pen to paper for meaningful games.


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  1. Rollins should lead off. Crawford prefers to hit second and who knows if Joc Pederson is going to get the playing time. Although Puig can draw walks, he needs to protect Adrian Gonzalez in the cleanup spot.

    My lineup would be:
    SS Jimmy Rollins
    LF Carl Crawford
    1B Adrian Gonzalez
    CF Yasiel Puig
    2B Howie Kendrick
    3B Juan Uribe
    RF Andre Ethier
    C Yasmani Grandal
    Pitcher’s spot

    Bench would be: C AJ Ellis, IFs Justin Turner and Darwin Barney and OFs Chris Heisey and Scott Van Slyke. Have Heisey and Van Slyke platoon with Crawford and Ethier. If Ethier gets traded, which I doubt unless he starts hitting and producing runs and if teams are willing to take that contract, I have Joc Pederson start at CF and Puig at RF and keep Heisey and Van Slyke as my reserve OFs.

    1. Alejandro unless he plays very badly, which as Michael Norris has re-minded us he has in the Spring and during his call up, I think Pederson starts. The Front Office Guys have stuck their neck out with the Kemp trade. I think Pederson starts and Grandal bats either 4, 5 or 6th. We shall see, soon…

      1. I think Grandal bats between 6th, 7th or 8th. Pederson could start if they send Van Slyke or Heisey to the minors and go with a platoon but it all depends on what they do with Ethier.

        1. Van Slyke, I believe is assured a bench roll, look at his numbers they are really good. I think he will platoon in Left Field with whoever wins that job. I think management has decided it will be Pederson CF, Puig RF and then a dog fight for platoon with Van Slyke. I think Grandal bats 5th or 6th. But it is only a WAG so who knows?? The great thing is the season is approaching and only a couple off days until Spring games start…

          1. I think Puig will hit cleanup, Kendrick will bat 5th and either Grandal or Uribe bat 6th or 7th.

            Crawford is going to be at LF. Crawford hits ok with a lefty on the mound but Mattingly might platoon if both Crawford and Pederson start. I prefer Van Slyke to come off the bench but who knows if he’s going to make the team. The team does have the options to send both Heisey or Van Slyke to the minors. Like I said it all depends on what they do with Ethier.

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