Why the lengthened Dodgers' lineup will not repeat 2023 downfall

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Some stars can be so bright that it’s easy to miss the constellations they help create.

To almost no one’s surprise, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense has looked deadly to begin the year. With the way Mookie Betts has swung the bat so far, and given how much star power the boys in blue have, it’s important not to lose sight of the lineup's most unsung strength: length.

Pitchers normally fear facing the top four to five members of an opposing batting order, but Los Angeles has constructed the kind of lineup that allows for the bottom half to receive numerous opportunities throughout the course of a contest.

Further, the Dodger's top bats uniquely allow for these situations to occur. Of course, Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman can all mash home runs, but they are also disciplined hitters who will gladly take walks, slap singles, or slug doubles. Specifically, Betts and Freeman are currently leading the team in walks.

Dodgers' lineup provides unprecedented length in 2024

Taking LA’s order from their series opener against San Francisco as an example, it is possible that we’ll see Max Muncy, Teoscar Hernández, James Outman, Chris Taylor, Jason Heyward or others bat five through eight in the order. Each of these players has some pop to their game, and even if they don’t slug home runs every night, their ability to elevate the baseball could result in needed sacrifice flies.

According to Baseball Savant, the Dodgers had the lowest ground ball% as a team through April 8th, and the highest line drive%. The top hitters account for most of this, but the trend could also speak to what LA’s coaches are preaching.

It’s only April, but the Dodgers will undoubtedly be judged based on how they perform in October. The length of their lineup could make a key difference. Opposing pitchers will have to choose “who” to attack. Even if LA were to have a repeat of last postseason’s offensive disaster where the top players did not produce, the length of their lineup will make that much less likely to result in a total blanking.