Remember we recently talked about the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ biggest problem on offense? It was the 4-5-6 spots and that’s on manager Dave Roberts for not making the proper changes.
Now, the funny part about it all is that the 1-2-3 and 7-8-9 spots are performing fairly well … but there’s still work to be done, particularly at the top of the order. It’d be real nit-picky to suggest there needs to be an overhaul of the bottom of the lineup, especially with the production thus far.
As for the top of the order, though, it’s been Mookie Betts leading off, followed by Freddie Freeman and Trea Turner. Betts’ injury may have actually been the first domino to fall in Roberts realizing that a couple of tweaks can really help the Dodgers wake up and keep the run scoring consistent.
Since Betts hit the IL, Turner has been a fixture in the leadoff spot. Care to guess his batting average when hitting first in the Dodgers’ lineup this season? It’s .447. His OBP is .526. Though that’s only in nine games of a sample size … think that might mean something?
He’s mostly batted leadoff for his career and the numbers still hold up — .303 average, .844 OPS, 332 runs scored, 67 home runs, 214 RBI and 152 stolen bases in 457 games.
That should be the first change that’s made once Betts is ready to return to the field … especially since Betts is a more prominent power hitter.
Why hasn’t Dave Roberts made these changes to Dodgers lineup yet?
Second order of business? Bumping Betts down to No. 2. Yes, like Turner, most of his career reps have come in the leadoff spot, but his game has perhaps changed over the last couple years. He’s not an average machine like he was for his three best career seasons and he’s not stealing bases at a high rate like he once was. Leave that burden for Turner at the top, then let Betts work his OBP/power magic right behind him.
This is the most drastic change Roberts would make … because moving Freeman to the No. 3 hole is just as sensible as shifting Turner to leadoff.
Most of Freeman’s career at-bats have come in that lineup spot and the numbers speak for themselves:
- .296/.386/.514 with 682 runs scored, 191 home runs, 651 RBI and 557 walks in 1,070 games
His numbers in the two-hole have been slightly better, but only in 186 career games. Not really comparable.
All we’re trying to say is putting two prominent hitters back in their lineup positions of comfort/familiarity might make the top of the order even more potent. Staying rigid with these three guys — all of whom are extremely versatile — seems like a missed opportunity when the offense has failed to maintain consistency for this long.