In 2014 the leadoff position for the Los Angeles Dodgers remained constant with second baseman Dee Gordon batting from the spot in 133 of the team’s 162 regular-season games.
Gordon has since been traded to the Miami Marlins, and with the Dodgers current roster configuration, there aren’t many options to replace him atop the batting order.
With the Dodgers first Spring Training game just one day away, manager Don Mattingly made the decision to go with Jimmy Rollins as the club’s leadoff hitter.
According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, Rollins is more than willing to assume the role for his new team:
Jimmy Rollins on batting leadoff: "You feel like you're that firestarter again, like you'll be that spark plug to get things going."
— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) March 3, 2015
The 36 year old, whom the Dodgers acquired via trade this offseason from the Philadelphia Phillies, has spent a majority of his 14-year career in the leadoff spot; he’s batted leadoff in 1,459 out of 2,090 career games (roughly 70 percent).
Furthermore, Rollins has thrived as a leadoff hitter throughout his career, slugging 46 career home runs and yielding a .331 on base percentage from that spot in the order. While Rollins may be getting older and won’t steal as many bases as Gordon, who stole 64 in 2014, the veteran shortstop hasn’t completely lost his speed — he stole 28 bases in 2014 while only getting caught six times.
Mattingly pegging Rollins as his leadoff guy allows other players like Carl Crawford, Howie Kendrick, who may have also been considered for the role, and Yasiel Puig to remain in the middle of the lineup card where they can drive in more runs.
Rollins will begin his 2015 leadoff campaign Wednesday when the Dodgers host the Chicago White Sox in their Spring Training opener.
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