Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dodgers Lineup: Early Projections Part 2

Out of the cage into the line-up.
(photo courtesy of Cindy Murphy)
Yesterday, we took a look at the first-half of the potential Dodger batting order; today, let's talk about the second-half of the line-up. Yes, it's early, but I do love a good speculation!

Yasiel Puig getting laced for #5?
Fifth: Here's where I see right fielder Yasiel Puig, if he doesn't slot fourth to replace Justin Turner on days his knee is barking. This is the year that Puig should settle in offensively. Though this will be his fourth season, he has really only completed one full season, in 2014. That year, he batted close to .300, had 16 home runs, 37 doubles, 9 triples, and 69 RBIs in 558 at-bats, all statistics that prove he would thrive in the middle of the Dodger batting order. But what about last year's dismal showing you ask? Shouldn't Puig bat lower? No. The expectations for Puig have been unfairly high since he stormed the league in 2013, so naturally, he tried to return from his two hamstrings injuries too soon, marring his 2015 season. The hiring of new manager Dave Roberts might be the best thing that ever happened to Puig. Roberts smartly talked to Puig straight away and gave him a "clean slate." His talent and potential are unquestionable, and with the support of his manager, the middle of the order is where Puig belongs. Watch out MLB.

Yasmani Grandal powering
up the catcher position.
(photo courtesy of Cindy Murphy)
Sixth: Before hurting his shoulder last season, catcher Yasmani Grandal brought a power boost the Dodgers haven't seen at the position since Mike Piazza. He won't hit as many homers as the newly minted Hall-of-Famer (One of the worst trades in Dodgers history--I literally screamed profanities all day when Piazza was traded by those Fox News Corp. idiots in 1998), but, barring injury, he could hit around 20-25. Perfect guy to protect Puig.

Andre Either: Best option at
#7 and left field.
Seventh: There are three options with slot #7, and it's all about left field, just like last year. Option #1 depends on whether Andre Ethier is able to overcome his annual trade rumors. This would seem to be the year for the Dodgers to finally deal him because his value is as high as it will ever be coming off a very solid 2015 campaign. The team may also want to get rid of him with his 10/5 rights around the corner (can't be traded without his consent). Option #2 is Carl Crawford, but his injury record is almost as bad as his throws from the outfield (sorry, Carl, just keeping it real), so the occasional starts and pinch-hitting duties seem like a better fit. Same with Option #3's Scott Van Slyke, kind of an always a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride type of player, unless of course, the Dodgers ever trade him, in which case, he will become the next Paul Konerko, who went on to hit 425 home runs after the team traded him. It is a luxury to have a solid, professional hitter like Either in the seventh slot, and Roberts will not be happy if the front office trades him. He is by far the best bet.

Eighth: As I pointed out yesterday, I believe Dodger rookie Corey Seager will eventually take over the big 3-spot in the lineup one day soon. However, until he is ready, Roberts will stash him in a place he won't feel any pressure. Hello, number 8, a place where no hitter really wants to live since he doesn't see many good pitches to hit with the pitcher on deck. Joc Pederson began his rookie season in this spot and managed to hit a ton of homers. Seager showed a patient approach in his successful stint last September, so it figures that he can start the season here. If he picks up where he left off, he will swap places in the lineup with somebody who is struggling or the lineup will get reshuffled to accommodate him. The most likely scenario is Pederson not thriving in the lead-off role, pushing Kendrick up to the first slot, Seager to the second, and Pederson down to the eighth.
#8 but not for long for Corey Seager.
So that's how I see the Dodger lineup potentially shaking out. Again, it is very early, with about a month to go and many spring games for Roberts to tinker with. Sound off in the comments section and tell me what you think.


  1. By all accounts I've been hearing and seeing for myself, Puig looks like he's got laser focus this year. Yes, he's young with a big ego; but after last year's humbling season, this is working in his and the Dodgers' favor. He's got something to prove now, which has got to be bad news for the rest of the league.

  2. I was surprised at first to see Seager predicted to be so low in the line up, but when you look at who the Dodgers have (especially if Ethier truly becomes the everyday LF), where else could the rookie go? I would love to see him become a huge threat at the bottom of the order, particularly late in games when a solid pinch hitter comes in behind him, and he gets to have a chance to win games for us!