Dodgers: A New Beginning for Dave Roberts with More Experience

Fresh off a new four-year contract and second consecutive World Series loss, Dave Roberts will start the fourth chapter of his tenure as manager for the Dodgers during Spring Training 2019.

In three seasons as skipper, Roberts has led the Dodgers to two consecutive Fall Classics and was two wins shy of punching a ticket to it in his first year. But the honeymoon phase evaporated at the torturous start of last season.

The success rate of any trigger Roberts pulled was low. Certain calls to the bullpen were puzzling and benching players amid a hot streak were head-scratching but the Dodgers managed to top the NL West in 163 games.

Since becoming manager, Roberts has accumulated 287 regular season wins and reached at least 90 wins in each of the three seasons. Perhaps the most exhilarating being the 104-win season that led to Los Angeles’ first ride to the World Series since 1988.

But his sophomore season as manager was the best case scenario for a team firing on all cylinders. Injuries piled on out of the spring training gates last season with broken wrists and Tommy John surgeries to vital players.

With the absence of two top-of-the-order hitters, the presence of Max Muncy and Manny Machado propelled the Dodgers from the bottom to the general vicinity of first place. As players were added to the roster, via triple-A promotions or trades, the dugout quickly turned into an embarrassment of riches.

The Know-how

The lack of consistency among players taking the field became a common thread with Roberts. Towards the end of the season, third baseman Justin Turner and Machado were the only everyday-players on the team.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 27: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts #30 visits the mound in the ninth inning during Game 4 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, October 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Pitching matchups saw hitters on a hot streak sit on the bench while a player with a batting average hovering over 200 stand in the batter’s box. The inconsistency carried into the postseason with different lineups and leadoff hitters.

But with three unique years of experience under his belt, Roberts is set up for a different path in his fourth season.

Avoiding the platoons will be key for Roberts as the subtractions in the offseason strengthened the lineup, rotation and bullpen. With thinning out the overcrowded outfield and inability to sign a second baseman, only three positions are laid out for platoons: catcher, first base and second base.

Consistency will be a huge factor in how the Dodgers play in the upcoming season since that’s where they lacked the most when it came to runners in scoring position and putting the ball in play.

By having less multiple-position players and trying to balance out their playing time, Roberts can have a consistent lineup between series instead of 112 variations similar to last season.

The proposed three-batter minimum requirement by Major League Baseball will pose the greatest challenge for Roberts since he’s fond of matchups out of the bullpen. With the possibility of restricting usage out of the pen, the likelihood of starting pitchers facing a lineup for a third time increases.

Advanced analytics have been the main determinant for many decisions on the field, but the margin of error for winning the World Series is dwindling with each year of experience. A third consecutive trip to the Fall Classic isn’t out of the question as the Dodgers are one of the best sounding teams in the National League, once again.

As the saying goes: “the best things come in threes;” and with three years of experience, Roberts has the masterplan for which keys to turn at the right time.

[button link=”” type=”big” color=”red”] BY THE NUMBERS: THE DODGERS ARE BETTER THAN YOU THINK[/button]

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  1. Right now this current team is NOT AS GOOD AS THE TEAMS IN 2017 AND 2018.. We still will probably have struggles against LHP, as Pollock cannot be expected to correct this issue by himself. And as catchers go, both will probably be Mendozas at the plate but they will obviously share time as not catcher will play everyday anyway anywhere in MLB. 1st base and 2nd base? Those positions should not have to be platooned but it is what it is and I am not too excited for this season with this current roster

  2. Even if the dodgers make it to world series they will fall short again. They need a top tier pitcher to put them over the top. But I think 2019 dodgers will falter in playoffs this year. I have been big dodger fan since 1966. But good luck.

  3. sad that we don’t have a manager who has passed baseball 101………….no matter who we get will help the team if players we get are smarter than the leadership…….last year is a prime example……musical chairs are for pre-schoolers and these guys are adults who want play and win games…that’s what they get paid for…….or release them