There can’t be much complaining done so far with the combined score from LA’s first two games being 18-0 over the San Diego Padres but one thing I have noticed is Dave Robert’s unorthodox placement of people in his lineup and his reasons for doing so.
Chase Utley as a leadoff man is some what surprising to me as he doesn’t have many wheels and often pulls the ball to the right side which most teams will counteract with a shift, putting his OBP down fro what it usually would be for a leadoff man. A leadoff man’s job is to get on base any way they can ad try and start something for the inning, Chase certainly doesn’t try and swing for the fences every time like a leadoff man LA had last year which is a positive and he is smart but his tendencies cant be changed.
His OBP was only .286, .284 and then .291 over the past three years, this would put him 131st in the MLB among qualified player and his stolen base numbers are at 4, down to 3 and then last year at 1. When compared to some of the leadoff men in baseball he isn’t up there obviously with the likes of Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon, but he makes up for it in his smarts where he is 13th in the majors over the past 5 years in base running wins above replacement.
The next argument is one that Donnie did last ear as well for a bit coming into the stretch when Turner was getting off his streak and Adrian Gonzalez was starting to get hot again, playing Adrian in the clean up or 4 spot and batting Justin Turner above him at 3 doesn’t make any sense to me.
Of the two who is more likely to hit a homerun or a double? Adrian would be that guy, and then who is more likely to have his base hits be singles? Justin Turner. This would mean, combined with the fact Adrian will hit for a higher average and get on base more than JT, batting him above Justin would be beneficial for runs to be driven in being left by the first 2 an then if this is the case a single can bring Adrian home after a big hit for a double.
This ties in well all around baseball with the clubs best batter batting 3 where he will not only get more at bats but also determine the outcome of the game, such as in a Dodgers vs. Giants game last year which LA lost as a result of Turner not getting a hit in the top of the 9th.
The last worry I can see is the lack of speed so far in the first 4 positions with Utley, Seager, Turner and A-Gon not being the fastest payers in the majors and to be followed up by two rather quick guys, the quickest LA have anyway in Yasiel Puig and the faster Carl Crawford. For me swapping out Corey or Chase with either of these guys brings balance to that lineup and has speed shifted through it, with Joc Pederson to follow them, who is learning how to steal bases in the bigs, and then getting to the bottom. This would also allow Seager to get his at bats in a less pressured situation most of the time and allow him to grow first rather than needing some production for the middle order men to drive in.
Something which Dave Roberts has done well is keep Joc to the 7 spot which helps him to grow and eliminate some of his strikeout numbers like he had last year where Donnie had him leading off, a ludicrous idea for someone who strikes out near to half his at bats. Keeping him down the order will help as he can provide some pop to drive home guys left on through the middle and a strike out doesn’t hurt as much as it does for the first out of the inning and in the position which gets more at bats than anyone.