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The Dodgers Sound Like They Will Platoon Less In 2019

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ platoon lineups of 2018 may have been successful. However, they weren’t largely popular amongst the fan base or players.

Now, Dave Roberts shares with Bill Plunkett of the OC Register that they weren’t popular with the manager himself. Furthermore, Roberts has some good news. The platoon lineups may be less necessary in 2019.

Roberts sounds like the nightly maneuvers of the lineup stressed him out.

“Yeah. It was the toughest year for me,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the aggressive platooning the Dodgers adopted down the stretch and into the postseason last year.

“There was a lot of trying to find consistency with at-bats for players and there was a lot of trying to keep guys active and relevant. There’s no exact science. For me to find whatever gives us the best chance to win, I have to default to that every day.”

While Roberts has stopped short of saying there won’t be platoon lineups at all in 2019 – it has the sounds of a different approach. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the Dodgers will give players every opportunity to be everyday players this season. Or at least give them a longer leash to show what they can do.

“There was a certain narrative on us platooning last year,” Roberts said. “That was kind of for survival. … The model isn’t necessarily to platoon. It’s just the way it worked out last year.”

A handful of Dodgers will jump at this. One of the most interesting reads thus far of the spring has been Cody Bellinger saying he wants to play every game. Equally important – Roberts has said he expects Bellinger to lead the team in plate appearances.

It would make the fan base and roster happy, and it’s worth an attempt.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. What’s the real post mortem on 2018. There was too much platooning because there were too many empty at bats. The platooning may have helped, but there were still too many strikeouts and too manymen left on third, etc. Now there is less platooning, a revamped outfield and a new hitting coach. So everyone knows what’s going on, but a thorough analysis would be welcome.

    • I agree with you izzylangfan about the “too many empty at bats. There were still too many strikeouts and too many men left on third.” I’ll still cross my fingers that the 2019 Dodgers will platoon less.

      • I say the same, Robin and I could have told everyone here that the players were ‘NOT ALL IN’ with that platooning scene and I can bet most players privately were disgruntled about how they were managed , from the FO on down to their ‘puppet’

  2. I don’t believe they will ever stop doing this. They’ll have to be reminded again by a properly run team how it’s done and then they still won’t change.

  3. We all saw how that OCD with platooning did to the Dodgers in the 2018 WS. when ya create a team full of marginal players as a result of it there was no way on earth they wee even the slightest match for Boston, or mos likely ANY AL team they might have faced.

  4. Great to hear this! Good article Clint! and a fan of your posts!

    I like Doc, I think he is really good manager, however, I had always thought he was a fan of and big on the platoon, based on his track record. It is comforting to hear that he isn’t necessarily all about it, because a manager shouldn’t be as analytically based as the front office. I’ve always liked Doc, but this last season with the excessive platooning was hard to watch. There are some positions that will still need a platoon, like left field with Joc, Verdugo, Kiké, Taylor, whatever happens over there. It does seem like Taylor will get the lions share of playing time at second. I would honestly like to see what Muncy can do at 2nd and see how well he can play there. After all that was his natural position coming up into the minors. An infield of Belli at 1st, Muncy at 2nd, Turner at 3rd, and Seager at short would be one of the best we’ve had in long time, and one of the best in the league (considering IF! Munce could hold down 2nd defensively). That would open up the outfield a little as well…. I digress.

    Happy to hear that we will, hopefully, not have to pull our hair out every night due to the platooning situation!

    However! I do have a question for you Clint, and the Dodgers Nation….

    Given that this regime, with Friedman at the helm, does not give out large contracts (as we allllllll know!), what will they do when our core of young, very talented players reach FA? I’m talking Seager, Bellinger, Buehler, Urias, and to a degree that we don’t quite know yet, the catchers Smith/Ruiz.

    Is the brain trust trying to reduce this payroll for years to come so they will stay under the luxury tax, so we aren’t paying tooth and nail for when it comes time to sign our young, very talented core before or when they reach FA?

    My biggest fear is that Friedman, who was, as we know, the GM for the Rays for years; will run the team in the same fashion. Build up great, homegrown talent, but never fork out any contracts to keep that talent.

    Are they going under the luxury tax in preparation to sign these kids before or when the reach FA? I hope that is part of the plan. Kasten and Walter have great track records as well.

    Sorry for such a long post.
    I would love to hear some comments, concerns, all of it.

    Lets go Dodgers!!!
    we are a solid team for sure!

    • MaxDodgers! You brought up an interesting point. What will happen when Seager, Bellinger, Buehler, Urias are FAs? I’m guessing Not all of these players will be with the Dodgers and therefore not get paid huge contracts.

  5. I completely understand why the platooning took place in the 2018 season hopefully we won’t have the need for it this year, if we do so be it just glad to know we are one of the few teams that have a deep enough roster to be able if we are put in the position to have to do it.

  6. “Obviously, from an organizational standpoint, as many guys that you have who are really good against left-handed and right-handed pitching, is great,” Friedman said last fall. “It’s great for roster construction. It’s great for winning games. It’s great for having balance. It’s great for having depth in case someone gets hurt.” This was a Freidman quotation but the very reason for it last year was BECAUSE Dodgers had several players who COULD NOT hit both LHP and RHP. Now to be fair, once it was discovered such as Puig’s inability to hit LHP, that sort of forced them into it. But I also knew that most of our players WERE NOT ALL IN on the obsession with platooning. Players were not really given much of a chance in the 2nd half against both sides of a pitcher.

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