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Dodgers: Who Ends Up Batting Second Following the Departure of Trea Turner?

In 2022, the Dodgers had as much stability at the top of the lineup as they’ve had in a long time. After Mookie Betts returned from his fractured rib in early July, LA manager Dave Roberts was able to pencil in the same three names at the top of the order almost every day: Betts, Trea Turner, and Freddie Freeman.

Turner, of course, is no longer with the team, having departed for Philadelphia on a lucrative new contract. So what will the top of the Los Angeles lineup look like in 2023? And more specifically, who will bat second? Let’s look at some of the options.



Freddie Freeman makes a lot of sense as the number two hitter. He actually batted second in more than half of his games in 2022, including each of the first 77 games of the season. For his career, he has posted a .917 OPS in 905 plate appearances out of the two-hole, his best numbers of any batting order position with at least 50 PA.

The main downside to having Freeman bat second is more at-bats with no one on base. Freeman hit a league-leading 47 doubles last year, so the more often he can come up with someone on base, the better, and batting third probably gets him a couple dozen more ABs with at least one runner on.

Will Smith is another option to bat second. Smith spent most of his time batting cleanup last year, but he is generally pretty good at getting on base (career .356 OBP) and hitting the ball hard. He’s not a prototypical two-hitter, especially because while he runs well for a catcher, he doesn’t run well overall, so he’s less likely to score from first on a Freeman double than Trea would have been.

Max Muncy has actually batted second more than any other spot in his career, and he’s done pretty well in that spot, posting an .899 OPS in 801 PA. Muncy runs about the same speed as Smith, although his speed is more likely to last because he’s not squatting behind the plate 150 times a game. Muncy gets on base and could fit well between Betts and Freeman.

Gavin Lux is a less obvious option, but if we’re talking about the speed to score from first on a double, you have to at least consider the fastest guy on the team (now that Trea is gone). Lux had an on-base percentage of .373 last year before his neck injury slowed him down, and if that version of Lux shows up in 2023, he could combine with Betts for a formidable 1-2 punch.

If Jason Heyward makes the team, he’s a decent option to bat second. He’s spent more time in that lineup slot than anywhere else, with 1,475 career PA in the two-hole. Heyward doesn’t strike out much, which is something you look for in a two hitter, but he also doesn’t walk much. If the goal is to maximize the chances of Freeman coming up with at least one runner on base, Heyward might not be the answer.

Miguel Vargas batted .304 with a .404 OBP in Triple-A last year, with nearly as many walks as strikeouts. If he put up those numbers in the big leagues, he’d be the ideal number-two hitter. Of course, he likely won’t be quite that good for LA this year, but he’s likely to be quite a bit better than he was in his brief time in the big leagues last year. I wouldn’t expect him to start the season batting second, but he might play his way into that spot.

Realistically, Freeman still probably makes the most sense. The second spot in the lineup is where the best hitter on the team belongs, especially on a team with a lot of good hitters. Freeman coming up with runners on base fewer times might be made up for by having more good hitters behind him to drive him in after one of those doubles. Smith, Muncy, and Martinez can follow with the pop, with Vargas, Lux, and whoever’s playing left and center filling out the lineup.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. He's been blogging about baseball and the Dodgers 2004 and doing it professionally since 2015. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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8 Comments

  1. In a perfect wold Lux would bat second and be the kind of hitter you want there. If he can’t then it’s Freddie because you can’t have a slow runner in the 2 hole. I’ve long wanted Freddie as our number three batter because of his ability to drive runs in.

  2. With the addition of Rojas, now is the time to pull the trigger on a trade that will solve several problems with the starting lineup. Trade with Milwaukee for Willy Adames and Corbin Burns, send Lux who’s from Milwaukee and he’s still a while from bid money along With Tony Gonsolin and prospects Pepiot,Andrew Jackson and Andy Pages. I feel Milwaukee would do it, they get two young MLB players with several years of contract control and a couple of probably major league ready players. As for dodgers remember no more defensive shift. So Adames at SS and Rojas at second. That is a very solid DP combo. Keep chubby Muncy at third. Vargas is probably needs one more year of minor league baseball. This is Muncy last year under contract. Go trade Friedman.

  3. It looks like Spring Training will be the time to figure the batting order out that fits the best.

  4. Jason Hayward is a great guy who should have retired, Cub fans have been bitchind about him for at least 5 years, I wouldn’t count on too much

  5. Nice article. But note.
    Freddie Freeman highest OBP on the team.
    JD Martinez, Lux, Will Smith, and Betts have similar OBP around .340 to .350. So did Justin Turner. However, Betts, Freeman, and JD had all over 60 extra base hits last year. JD and Freeman were both on the doubles leader board and this number of production likely increases with the shift rule changes. The second spot is the key to the 2023 order. It could very well go to JD or Smith. Especially when 8 and 9 are Vargas and Lux. So mid game Vargas, Lux, or Betts are on base to be driven in. JD and Freeman hit doubles very well. So obvious fits and if they aren’t 2, should bat 3 or 4. However, JD and Smith have speed concerns. Lux or Vargas are both young and fast. Either would greatly benefit there, but must produce to hold the spot. Freeman is obviously best choice. Either batting 2nd or 3rd. If Smith doesn’t bat 2nd, he is clear 4th clean up. Likely his best spot. With Smith 4th. 5 and 6 are JD and Muncy, if they don’t bat higher. Muncy, may be the best 2 hitter option, with his walks and benefit from Power behind him. That said strongest lineup strategy looks like 8, 9, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…….Vargas, Lux, Betts, Muncy, Freeman, Smith, JD Martinez, Outman. This leaves CT3 likely at 7th spot.

  6. If only Taylor could cut down on strikeouts and see more pitches; he would be ideal in the two spot. I think he would be much better trying to make contact and use his speed instead of trying to rip it out of the park.

  7. Should be Lux, good LH contact hitter, can get first and third with singles to right with a man on third. Can steal if needed.

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