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Dodgers Top 3 Lineups Against Right Handed Pitching

A look into the best possible lineups against RHP.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 21: Alex Verdugo #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates a game winning two run homerun of Matt Beaty #45, for a 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies during the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 21, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Lineup construction. No other topic gets people divided on social media hours before a game. A few months ago we touched briefly on lineup construction. I’m going to give 3 possible lineups in this piece. This is going to be a two part article series. In the next piece I’ll obviously delve into the best lineups against southpaws. Before I enumerate 3 lineups, let’s take a statistical dive into the splits from the Dodgers as a team.

Do The Splits

 

 

According to 2012 data (which I realize is a little dated, but these numbers don’t change as much as you’d think) 39% of pitchers in the majors are left handed. The 2019 Dodgers have had 37% of their at bats against right handed pitching. That said, let’s see simple percentages to see who the Dodgers have had more success against. Some simple facts:

  • Dodgers hit a HR every 19.08 at bats against RHP
  • Dodgers hit a HR every 20.92 at bats against LHP
  • Dodgers score a run every 5.92 at bats against RHP
  • Dodgers score a run every 6.96 at bats against LHP

I just wanted to illustrate these particular numbers to make a point. The Dodgers do in fact hit right handed pitching better than lefties, but not as dominantly as it may seem. Here are the lineups I’d choose.

Lineup 1 (Currently Healthy and Active)

  1. Justin Turner 3B
  2. Corey Seager SS
  3. Will Smith C
  4. Cody Bellinger CF
  5. Max Muncy 2B
  6. Chris Taylor LF
  7. Joc Pederson RF
  8. Matt Beaty 1B
  9. Pitcher

Ok, hear me out. Justin Turner is not a prototypical leadoff hitter, I know. His OBP clip against RHP is an insane .390 clip, though. Your leadoff hitter should get on base as much as possible.

Justin Turner does that against RHP very well. Everybody knows Seager mashes RHP so that’s an easy 2-hole choice. Will Smith bats 3rd because he has incredible reverse splits with .355/.425/.935. That’s an incredible clip against RHP. Cody gets cleanup because he’s Cody. Max Muncy has the strangest splits, but he’s a lock to hit well. Chris Taylor has a higher overall OPS against left-handed pitching, but a higher average against righties. Chris Taylor also gets the start over AJ Pollock because you don’t want to see his numbers against RHP. Before getting in Joc Pederson in the 7 spot — he’s the one most people are going to want my explanation for — this lineup has Matt Beaty rounding out the top 8. Because all “Hit Man” does is hit.

Now, I very much like what Joc Pederson contributes against RHP. That said, Joc is the prototypical “3 true outcome” guy. He either strikes out, walks, or hits a home run much of the time. Batting him 7th means he doesn’t end a ton of innings. This rounds out the well. Overall, this lineup is very top heavy but featuring some impressive slugging on the bottom.

Lineup 2 (Healthy Roster Edition)

For a lineup against RHP, there’s really only one substitution. Crank up “Volver, Volver.” It’s Dugie time. Yes–Alex Verdugo has reverse splits. Even with reverse splits, his numbers are better than Chris Taylor’s. He also fits perfectly with the Dodgers propensity for ignoring those reverse splits, anyway. Alex Verdugo is perfect for the leadoff spot.

  1. Alex Verdugo CF
  2. Corey Seager SS
  3. Justin Turner 3B
  4. Cody Bellinger RF
  5. Max Muncy 2B
  6. Will Smith C
  7. Joc Pederson LF
  8. Matt Beaty 1B
  9. Pitcher

Lineup 3 (Lets Get Wacky)

  1. Max Muncy 2B
  2. Justin Turner 3B
  3. Corey Seager SS
  4. Cody Bellinger RF
  5. Will Smith C
  6. Alex Verdugo CF
  7. Matt Beaty 1B
  8. Joc Pederson LF
  9. Pitcher

Max Muncy at leadoff? Yes. Justin Turner has a higher OBP against right handed pitching, but only a few points. Mostly, it’s because his batting average is higher. Max Muncy’s walk rate is very high, and he works a count better than almost anyone. I also chose Max Muncy for this ‘wacky’ lineup because I feel like so many times our pitcher sacrifices to move over a runner or two, only to have Joc up with two outs. We love Joc Pederson, but he’s not the most ideal Dodger to have up with 2 outs needing a hit. Max Muncy is definitely a batter I’d want up there in that situation.

Final Thoughts

The lineup against right handed pitching is pretty easy. The Dodgers have a row of heavy hitters on the left side of the plate. My next article I’ll have a harder time setting up the lineup against left handed pitching. There are people who say lineup construction is irrelevant.

Ultimately, that’s just wrong. Lineup construction does matter over time, and a few tweaks can make the difference between winning a playoff series and losing it.

Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

One Comment

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  1. Not too bad other than messing with leadoff. Turner@ leadoff is just wrong on many levels. I want someone who can maybe score from first on a long double. I would rather Doogie lead off than Turner or Muncy, but I’m fine with how it is now.

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