Dodgers: Three Questions Entering Spring Training

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Dec 1, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi at press conference to announce Dave Roberts (not pictured) as the first minority manager in Dodgers franchise history at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 1, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi at press conference to announce Dave Roberts (not pictured) as the first minority manager in Dodgers franchise history at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

Who will lead off?

Last year, 12 different players hit in the leadoff spot for the Dodgers. Joc Pederson led the Dodgers, leading off in 69 of the 162 games. Jimmy Rollins (52) and Carl Crawford (11) each led off double-digit games, and Justin Ruggiano, Enrique Hernandez, Yasiel Puig, Chase Utley, Darwin Barney, Austin Barnes and Justin Turner also led off at times.

With the Dodgers returning all their regulars with the exception of Rollins, there’s still not an obvious leadoff candidate for 2016. Micah Johnson probably has the best speed on the roster, but with a crowded 25-man roster it’s probably that he will start the season in the minors. Pederson was a great base stealer in the minors, stealing 33 bases in each of his final two seasons in the minors. That base stealing ability didn’t translate last year, as he stole only four bases and was caught seven times.

This probably isn’t what most fans want to hear, as many were clamoring for Don Mattingly to set a lineup and stick with it last year. With all the new information available every day, it would be an error to stick to one lineup day in and day out and not take into account matchups and whether a player is hot or cold. It would probably help some players to have a defined role and know when/where they’re going to be in the lineup.

A little while ago, I made the case for Puig to lead off. I think the combination of his on-base skills, explosiveness and potential makes him a great top-of-the-order guy, even if he doesn’t steal a lot of bases. He’s probably equally as valuable in the middle of the order, but look for the leadoff hitter battle to potentially come to the forefront of Spring Training.

Next: How is Alex Guerrero Still a Dodger?

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