Jon SooHoo-Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo-Los Angeles Dodgers

Of the challenges Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly faces heading into a the season with plenty of new players and sky-high expectations, how he’ll set the lineup card day in and day out figures to be one of the more tedious tasks.

Aside from needing to be mindful of providing certain players with rest and taking into consideration matchups, Mattingly’s new roster has added flexibility that’s come with some uncertainty. Whereas Dee Gordon emerged as a natural leadoff hitter, there isn’t a clearcut replacement.

Jimmy Rollins may assume the role, though Mattingly isn’t ready to commit to that just yet and understandably so. Regardless of how it unfolds, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will play some role in helping set the batting order, according to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times:

Contrary to the reputation of some young sabermetrics-bent executives who have old-school managers, Friedman says he will not essentially make out the lineup card for Mattingly. However, it is clear they will discuss the lineup far more than most managers and executives.

Friedman’s involvement isn’t to suggest he doesn’t trust Mattingly or wants to be in complete control, but rather is a byproduct of his belief in collective thought so as to come to the best solution:

Don has a job and that’s to manage our 25-man roster and deploy them on a nightly basis for what gives us the best chance to win, but there will obviously be debate over what that means, and there should be,” Friedman says. “Donnie is so mired in the day-to-day stuff that sometimes he doesn’t see things as clearly, while other times he has his finger much more on the pulse than we do. It’s all about us listening to each other.”

With Gordon and Matt Kemp no longer on the team, Howie Kendrick, Rollins and Yasiel Puig figure to be the first dominoes to fall that will then shape the lineup card. Both Rollins and Puig are capable of batting leadoff, and Kendrick essentially can hit anywhere from the two-hole to sixth, and stated as much at his introductory press conference.

Which catcher starts for the Dodgers also figures to have an impact on how the lineup card will shake out on any given day. The majority of A.J. Ellis’ career at-bats have come from the seven (110 games) and eight (213 games) spots.

Conversely, Yasmani Grandal has most-often been penciled in as the cleanup hitter (74 games) and in the fifth spot (53 games). His next highest total of games played from a specific spot in the lineup card is 24 games when batting eighth.

No matter which lineup Friedman and Mattingly may eventually settle on for the lion’s share of the club’s games this season, it will likely come after plenty of trial and error.

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About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

48 Responses

  1. Michael N. Norris

    First chink in the armor…….never a good sign when the pres of baseball operations butts in.

    Reply
    • Alex

      Bill James did this all the time with the Red Sox and they won 3 championships. Heck, he’s even written a book about baseball managers. Plus, with Mattingly’s interesting choice of managing at times, what’s not to like about having open discussions and being on the same page?

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        There is nothing wrong with discussions, but in game strategy and player positioning should be left to the manager, that is what he is paid for, and Bill James is not a good example as he was never a president of baseball operations…he is nothing but a stat geek and he had nothing to do with the Sox winning

      • Alex

        He was appointed Senior Adviser of baseball operations by their owner. And he was instrumental in a number of moves such as bringing in David Ortiz, trading for Bellhorn, mixing up the bullpen and closer roles (for better and worse, admittedly). To say he had nothing to do with it is the furthest from the truth.

      • ninjasarenameless

        Preach. Dispel the ignorance floating on these boards.

      • Michael N. Norris

        James was an analyst on those teams right? Now I do not know about you, but I have never seen an analyst win a game,,,,,no matter what info he provides, the players on the team still have to perform…..he has nothing to do with winning

      • Alex

        Yeah, he put those guys in place for them to win. Someone has to decide who to get and who should get traded away. Of course the players have to play, but the F.O. decides who stays and who goes. That’s why there’s a F.O. I understand you prefer the “old school” method and that’s fine, but sabermetrics have been around for what 20-30 years now and EVERYONE uses it to a degree, not just the Jameses and the Friedmans of the world.

    • ninjasarenameless

      Mattingly is new to advanced metrics and makes questionable managerial decisions. Agreed with Alex–WTF is not to like about having open discussions and being on the same page? And Bill James had nothing to do with the Sox winning? GTFO Giants troll. All you do is complain.

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        You are blinder than a bat……that is a Dodger jersey shit head …..and if I complain that is none of you business. I earned the right……I said there was nothing wrong with discussions ..and I do not always agree with Donnie either……but that is my business so butt out and kiss my ass…

      • Alex

        Hey man no need to start swearing at others or you will get kicked off these forums very easily. Fair warning.

      • Michael N. Norris

        No need for him to attack my allegiance to my team either, but you are right, sometimes my emotions get the better of me.

      • Michael N. Norris

        But just so you know I understand what GTFO means and that is just another way of cursing, so he started it…

      • ninjasarenameless

        What are you, 10? I came to these boards to discuss intelligent baseball, but most of the posts I see are YOU complaining about the front office and talking about “who started what first.’

      • citizen_irate

        Seriously, running yourself into a corner and having nothing left to say shouldn’t leave you to resorting to such bafoonery

      • Michael N. Norris

        First off it is spelled BUFOON moron. And not being a Red Sox follower I was not aware he was actually in charge of something…so I was not in a corner….

      • citizen_irate

        Moron?I only meant to keep the peace and I did not resort to calling you names my good sir, I’d expect the same chivalry from a man of your seasoning. And as for my snafu on the word buffoon you got me there chum, but I was not referring to you as a buffoon so please don’t fling your feces at people trying to have an open discussion about sports then say, “he started it”.

      • Michael N. Norris

        I apologize there….my bad….The guy really ticked me off and I should not have taken it out on you.

  2. Eric

    I’m sure Mattingly is friggin stoked that the big boss is going to “help” him do his job. Cause I sure love when my f#$%^ing boss is standing over my shoulder.

    Reply
    • Alex

      But Mattingly is looking over the shoulders of all his players. And I’m sure scouts are analyzing every single move of every at-bat, too. How is this any different?

      Reply
      • Eric

        .Because Mattingly doesn’t get to
        decide if Mattingly still has a job next year.

  3. Paul F. Di Bella

    Mattingly should be gone anyway.. He was a great ball player but not Manager material.

    Reply
    • Bob Smith @amoresports

      and that is based on what? His sub .500 record? Nope — cant be that since he is about 60 games over .500. Hmmm. Oh I get it! he can’t get past the LCS! Uhhh, the players haven’t been able to do that! What is it then?

      Reply
      • Bob Smith @amoresports

        It is actually 61 .. and he is at .547 clip!

      • Paul F. Di Bella

        I never mentioned a sub-.500 record nor did I mention the NLCS.. As per Lasorda and a few others, a Manager should get credit for only about 10 to 12 wins or losses per season. The rest falls on the players. I think that is a fair statement. That being said, I don’t “believe” (just me personally) that Donny BallGame has the respect of his players, I think he lacks motivational skills. He’s made some goofball call but, all managers do at times.

        Don’t misunderstand, I am a huge Dodger fan and I’d love to see him win. I can only assume you are a fan as well….@bobSmith?

      • Bob Smith @amoresports

        HUGE fan since 1968 … I was being satirical with my sub .500 comments and NLCS miffs just to make a point. Donnie Baseball does grind on me often! In fact I will be writing a recurring Game feature this season called, “Stadium Club Rumblings” where I armchair games I am able to see when not working. I look to have some fun! I am @amoresports and SportsAmore on FB! Here’s to the Dodgers!

      • Michael Plunkett

        This is bullstuff first Friedman traded Kemp & D, bullpen of castoffs and sore arms now he wants to help with line up – fire Friedman today

  4. Bob Smith @amoresports

    Can you say Al Davis? Jerry Jones? Or, Dan Snyder? I don’t see any good in this thought process! That’s why Donnie has Wallach as a bench coach and the rest of the staff. This does not give me a warm fuzzy!

    Reply
    • citizen_irate

      Davis and Jones won multiple titles in their times…..I’d take that if it at least led to one redskins superbowl appearance for my sorry skins

      Reply
  5. Michael N. Norris

    reply to ninjasarenmaeless……You have no clue who I am there b head. And does that look like a Giants jersey I am wearing to you? As a fan I can complain all I want,. I earned the right over 60 years watching and rooting for the team, if I do not like the front office or their moves that is my business not yours you self righteous asshol.e..

    Reply
    • ninjasarenameless

      When posters complain all the time about everything –and in your case, you complain about everything front office related and it’s not even objective — it’s hard not to conclude that you’re trolling the boards. Dodgers.com may be a better site for you to troll on.

      Reply
  6. Michael N. Norris

    I have been a Dodger fan for more than 60 years. I am not a real fan of saber metrics, so I do not always agree with the new front office. I am old school baseball, no DH. and I like hard nosed guys, I could care less who is the best pitch framer. I think all these stat guys have put so may stupid stats in place that the everyday fan has no clue. When I was a kid, we could quote Stan or Willies BA, HR’s and ribbies by heart, now you have guys asking what is his OBP or how is he with RISP…..But that’s the game the way it is today., does not mean the stat geeks are always right. They missed both world series teams by a mile. And I am no company man when it comes to trades, free agents, or how the team is run. I have seen so far 1 good owner in Dodger history. O’Malley….actually that would be 2 Walter and Peter. Warner and McCourt were total disasters and McCourt almost ruined the team. I am reserving judgment on Guggenheim. The new FO with Zaidi and Freidman may impress stat guys and those looking for change for changes sake, Me, I think they have made a couple of really questionable moves and signings. Time will tell if I am right. If wrong, I will admit it. But I will tell you this, Trading one of your best power hitters to a division rival is nuts. And it always comes back and bites you on the ass.

    Reply
    • Alex

      As I said, it’s fine if you prefer “old school,” but every team is using sabremetrics more and more every year, to varying degrees. The game changes all the time, and you need to adapt (whether fully or even partially). It’s essential to have more tools than your next opponent.

      Oh, and BOTH World Series teams last year used a lot of sabermetrics. The Giants’ here:

      http://deadspin.com/5956642/the-giants-sure-use-a-lot-of-sabermetrics-for-an-anti-sabermetric-team

      And the Royal’s here:

      http://fansided.com/2014/10/18/mlb-kansas-city-royals-arent-anti-sabermetric/

      They’re just not as open and outspoken about it as Mr. Beane and Co. But they still use it a lot.

      Reply
      • Michael N. Norris

        The experts missed by a mile, whether the Giants and Royals rely on it was not what I said…

      • Alex

        Everyone missed it, including fans, GMs, scouts, ESPN analysts, etc. I don’t believe you guessed it right, either. But it happens. Point being, sabermetrics were used and made them winners. It’s been happening for many years now.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Yep, and right there is the beauty of the game. All the saber metrics in the world could not have predicted that. Because no matter how many inane stats they make up, or how they evaluate players, it still has to get done on the field. What made them winners was a combination of LUCK, and players producing in the clutch.

      • Alex

        But why do a lot of the same teams get in the playoffs almost every year? Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals, Royals this year, etc. Sabermetrics has helped these teams get 85-90+ wins a year. Maybe they get in 5 out of 7 years, but that’s better than being a bottom dwelling team all the time, hoping for that one year in forever when you could surface and taste the World Series, only to go back down to the bottom-dweller for another 10-20 years. Having an edge over your opponents to get into the dance is just as important. Sure 13 playoff wins is a crapshoot, but if you’re not getting in the dance often, you’re not gonna win much.

        If you choose to ignore sabermetrics, you’re missing out on a very vital part of the game that pretty much a lot of MLB teams are using and investing billions of dollars on. They wouldn’t keep doing it year after year if it didn’t work.

        Oh, and statisticians don’t “make up” numbers, no matter how snide of a remark you try to make. It’s just like anything (ERA, BA, OPS) but just dug a little deeper. You should learn about it. You might actually like it.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Alex, I do not care about those things because I go to the game to watch the game, not sit there and calculate whether Turner’s OPS will affect this at bat. That is for people who live and breath that stuff. I care about W’s and L’s….About whether or not it was a well played game. Saber metrics is vital to you and some other people, but not to me. I never thought about that stuff watching May’s, Banks, Clemente, Aaron, Mantle, Koufax, Wills. So why in the world would I care now? I have seen enough baseball in my over 60 years watching the game to love the game for the game, not the stats. It has been 27 years, yes that is true. But for the most part I have gotten great entertainment out of my team. There were a few bumps in the road like the 99 loss team, but I have enjoyed watching them. I am not going to clutter that up worrying about their RISP stats. The stat guys dreamed up or came up with those sets of numbers and to them, they mean something. I enjoy watching the game. I could care less about stats.Except the win or the loss.

      • Alex

        Ok cool I can get behind that. I’m glad you still enjoy the game the way it is. I enjoy it similarly, too, on the field. You’re right; it takes clutch performances to win (Gibson ’88); that’s why stats are just one tool of the trade and not the end all be all. I think our F.O. is smart enough to know that.

        Can’t wait for Spring Training to start on Wednesday! Enjoy the games, mate.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Thanks. Living in Colorado now I get to a couple of games in Denver when they play the Rockies. But I go home to California at least once in the summer to see family and catch a few games. I try to go on bobble head night to increase my collection. But my main source of Dodger baseball is watching them on MLB.com..the subscription service. I then stream the games to my TV.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Another thing. Since they have been in LA, the Dodgers have had 10 losing seasons. 18 first place finishes, and 19 in second. prior to this streak of 27 years, they had never gone more than 8 years without a WS appearance……For most of their run in LA they have been very competitive.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Adapt? I am a fan, no need to adapt. I either like it or I do not and I reserve my right to dislike or otherwise not toe the company line. You and other younger folks can like this style of management , that’s fine, I prefer the old way and the old players.

      • Michael N. Norris

        Made a boo boo there…wrong TV network.. Murdock’s company was FOX, you are right. I liked Peter..he kept the Dodger as a family thing. But he was not as astute as Walter.

  7. Michael N. Norris

    DM has upped the teams win total as manager every year. He went from 82 to 86 to 92 to 94 last year. But he is still on the hot seat because he is not the new FO’s guy. He makes some in game blunders as do all managers, but he has been able to handle the players for the most part.

    Reply
  8. steven

    Friedman is one of the smartest men in baseball..Mattingly should be fired..this is smart, because they need to collaborate on the lineup and hopefully the bullpen.

    Reply

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