This is the Dodgers’ perfect lineup for 2021 — you can’t go wrong.
By any metric, the 2020 season was the culmination of everything the Dodgers have worked for over the past decade.
LA combined an elite top of the rotation with punishing bats one through nine and closed out the World Series title that had been so elusive to them in previous years. They examined a near-perfect roster in February and said, “Yeah, we might as well add Mookie Betts.” They did just about everything right — as, to be fair, they’d done in 2017, 2018 and 2019, too.
The honeymoon doesn’t last forever, though, and the Dodgers’ braintrust enters 2021 with a few decisions to make. Luckily, their baseline for excellence remains the same, and they’re only a couple of finishing touches away from being able to put out a perfect lineup on a daily basis.
Now, the ideal batting order includes a DH, universally, but apparently, Major League Baseball isn’t confident they’ll be able to drop that under our tree this Christmas. No problem. For the sake of this experiment, you can assume the pitcher is batting ninth — fill in your favorite pitcher! Mine’s Don Drysdale.
As for the one through eight spots, here’s how we’d situate them.
Batting First: Mookie Betts, RF
The Dodgers shouldn’t overthink this. Just put Mookie Betts in right.
Placing Mookie Betts in the leadoff spot is the biggest slam dunk in Los Angeles since Shaq’s groin ended up on Chris Dudley’s face.
The power-hitting, count-dictating speed demon was born to lead off for a World Champion, and that’s exactly what he’ll be doing when the Dodgers take the field for the first time in their gold-tinged jerseys next season.
Betts is in Hollywood for another 12 seasons through 2032, and honestly, the most worthwhile use of this blurb might be trying to figure out when the first year he won’t be leading off will be. 2030? He’ll slow down at some point, but even his slowest is Corey Seager’s sprint speed.
No need to overthink this. Betts is this generation’s face of the Dodgers, and he’ll be the first face every opposing pitcher sees for a long, long time.