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Dodgers Potential Lineup Construction After Mookie Betts Trade

The lineup should be dangerous.



Yes, there is a snag currently in the Mookie Betts/David Price deal from Boston. However, the deal is expected to get done.

The Dodgers had a very good offense during the 2019 season, postseason excluded. For the basic slash statistics (Batting Average/On-Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage) against National League teams, they were fifth in BA, second in OBP and first in SLG.

Now the Dodgers have traded for Mookie Betts while sending out Alex Verdugo and Joc Pederson. They will also have Gavin Lux and Will Smith for full seasons. One of the weak parts of the offense last year was that it was too left-handed heavy. Betts is a right-handed hitter while Verdugo and Pederson are both lefties.

Let’s take a look at some lineup possibilities. One of the big questions will be where Betts will bat in the lineup?

Player Offensive Strengths

  • Cody Bellinger – power, speed, improving walk rate and contact
  • Mookie Betts – speed, power, on base, walks, contact
  • Max Muncy – power, walk rate, decent speed
  • Corey Seager – decent power (lot’s of doubles), pure hitting skills
  • Justin Turner – works at bats, good on base, professional hitter
  • A.J. Pollock – strong against lefties, some power, good second half of 2019
  • Gavin Lux – speed, decent power, could hit for high average
  • Will Smith – power, improving bat, fast for a catcher
  • Matt Beaty – works pitch counts, decent power, good contact
  • Kiké Hernandez – power, hits lefties well
  • Chris Taylor – speed and some power
  • Luis Rengifo – switch hitter, speed, decent walk rate, some pop
  • Austin Barnes – good eye, fast for a catcher
  • Edwin Rios – serious power

The Basic Starting Eight

This is my favorite lineup right now. My favorite part is that it alternates lefty and righty hitters throughout the lineup. With the big contract that A.J. Pollock was signed to last season, I fully expect him to be the regular left fielder. Gavin Lux is one of the top prospects in baseball, was untouchable this off-season and made the playoff roster after being called up in September. He should be the starting second baseman and should NOT be platooned to start the season. They will also have Will Smith at the Major League level for the whole season.

For the first part of the season I do see Pollock and Seager flip-flopping based on the pitcher. If Seager improves his approach then I would hope to see him batting 2nd but Muncy is so much better at working a count and getting a walk.

If They Platoon – Against Right Handers

My hope is that the Dodgers don’t platoon much but it could be used in some cases. The Dodgers seem to love messing with the lineup even if the players are basically the same. Here’s an option against a right-handed starter.

  1. Gavin Lux – 2B
  2. Max Muncy – 1B
  3. Mookie Betts – RF
  4. Cody Bellinger – CF
  5. Corey Seager – SS
  6. Justin Turner – 3B
  7. Matt Beaty – LF
  8. Will Smith – C

This includes the back-to-back MVPs. Turner hasn’t batted this low in years so it shows how deep the lineup can be.

Speed Kills Against Righties

  1. Lux – 2B
  2. Betts – RF
  3. Bellinger – CF
  4. Muncy – 1B
  5. Seager – SS
  6. Turner – 3B
  7. Beaty – LF
  8. Smith – C

This lineup puts 3 fast guys at the top of the lineup with a right-hander on the mound. I specified against a righty because I don’t see the Dodgers ever letting Lux bat high in the lineup until he proves he can hit lefties. Personally, I believe he will prove that he belongs in the top two of the lineup.

Platoon Against Lefties

  1. Betts – RF
  2. Muncy – 1B
  3. Turner – 3B
  4. Bellinger – 1B
  5. Pollock – LF
  6. Smith – C
  7. Seager – SS
  8. Kiké or CT3 – 2B

I do hope they don’t platoon much but there are many times that they will want to get Hernandez into the lineup against a lefty. If Madison Bumgarner is pitching, then Kiké plays. Other potential moves include putting Bellinger at first base with Taylor in center field with Kiké at second base. Luis Rengifo can play all over and is a switch hitter.

Summary – Lots of Options

Not to pick on Joc Pederson, but I am glad he is not the leadoff hitter for the Dodgers anymore. I wanted him fifth or sixth in the order. With Mookie Betts, the Dodgers have a legitimate leadoff option and I believe Gavin Lux could also find himself at the top of the order later in the season. The lineup has more options to be more balanced. This starts to matter in the later innings as opponents can no longer use the lefty type specialists (3 batter minimum) to get just one batter unless it is the last batter of the inning. When the Dodgers would have 2-3 lefties in a row a team could bring in their lefty specialist to get them out. With a good mixture in the lineup the specialist is less likely to appear.

The Dodgers, with Betts and full years from Lux and Smith, should have the best offense in the National League. The bigger hope is that they can improve in the playoffs. How many bad at-bats happened in the 2019 post-season for the Dodgers? Adding one elite hitter like Betts will give the rest of the lineup more opportunities and should make them better. If Lux can slash .280/.380/.500 then that will take the team way above and beyond.

There is a lot to be excited about with the 2020 Dodgers’ offense. This should be fun.

NEXT: Dodgers World Series Odds Improve Drastically After Mookie Betts Trade

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

Comments

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  1. One thing is certain about batting orders. By season end Dave Roberts will have used about 50 different ones.

  2. How about forget about the lefty right b.s. Betts is a m.v.p. leadoff hitter.!People need to start realising that for about 110 years, baseball had the fastest, best contact hitter on the team leading off and they weren’t worried about what hand the pitcher used. The days of Joc, Kike,Taylor leading off are over. Betts is a baseball player, not a experiment dictated by a computer science major! He will hit the ball all over the field off every starter and if Roberts starts that stupidity, you can absolutely forget about having any chance of signing him..

    • AMEN! Kirk, and if Roberts tries this platooning stuff then he should be disciplined in some way. I will say it again…THAT is one reason why players don’t necessarily want to be here.

  3. LF should be the only platoon spot. It’s important for the playoffs to have one set team with your best players and with this group there should be no figuring it out during the season we know who should be starting and who should be bench guys there’s no justification this year for the over analyzing

  4. Yeah, they said the lefty/righty thing was real. But, Bellinger and Muncy proved them wrong. So did Verdugo. The computer guys need to stop with this crap. Let the young guys bat, and LEARN how to hit the pitcher on the mound. The only way a kid is going to learn is to PLAY.

    Look forward to DJ Peter’s power bat in the lineup too…

  5. Every position player the Dodgers have would start for ANY team. If all these players have just average years, the Dodgers will have the best lie up ever.

  6. If Bryce Harper and Mookie joined the Dodgers they would still lose in the playoffs.
    Kershaw will lose game 1 and 5 as usual.
    His 90 mph fastball aint good enough against good hitting teams.
    Kenley is not the great reliever he once was. He will blow saves.
    Waist high 93 mph cutters that don’t cut aint gonna work in the playoffs.
    Finally Joe Kelly. The lunatic who signed him to a long term contract should be fired.
    Just look at his era for the last 3 years. An era over 4 every year, unbelievable.
    Sorry Dodger fans. Kershaw, Kenley and Kelly will lose it again in 2020.

    • I agree but we gotta also include our choking hitters who flail away at garbage and try to hit homers on every pitch

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