Dodgers: Projecting the Dodger Lineup After the First Flurry of Moves

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 09: Manager Dave Roberts
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 09: Manager Dave Roberts /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 25: Yasiel Puig /

5. Yasiel Puig, Right Field

The number five spot in the Dodgers lineup was the lineup’s weakest link last season. Last season, the number five hitter in the lineup hit .215/.308/.390 with 162 strikeouts and only 76 RBI. Any player that Roberts put in there was immediately set to fail, including Puig.

Even Puig, who is coming off of his most complete season of his career struggled in the five hole. In 83 at-bats, Puig hit .193 and had his worst OBP (.264) of all other spots in the lineup. In fact, Puig really struggled to hit in the top half of the lineup altogether. He was statistically more productive hitting at the bottom of the order.

But I’m throwing Puig in here in hopes that he could replicate his 2017 season. Puig was visually more disciplined at the plate, and that led to a career-best walk rate (11.2%) and strikeout rate (17.5%).

Should Puig continue to trend in this direction, he’s a reliable protection for Bellinger. With Bellinger hitting fourth, you need to back him with someone who has power and could put the ball in play, and Puig is coming off of a career-high 28 home runs.

I would attest Puig’s struggles in the five spot to some bad luck. Puig’s batting average on balls in play (BAbip .190) was by far the lowest at any other place in the lineup.

Puig had a great season last year, and he deserves to get the first crack at hitting in a spot where he can produce more runs. However, if Puig regresses and his strikeout numbers jump back up, Roberts will have to drop him back to the comfortable spot of hitting eighth so he could see more fastballs.