While there’s been very heavy speculation lately about the effectiveness of the Dodgers‘ most common batting orders, there’s little guarantee that moving around several regular pieces will make a huge difference in the overall potency of the offense. The same can be said about moving up right fielder Yasiel Puig in the lineup—he’s definitely thrived in the lower part of the order, but when given the chance to hit in the middle, hasn’t made much of a notable difference at all.
So the decision is easy, right? Keep Puig in the eight-slot where he’s been the most effective all year. Yasiel has produced a .277/.360/.544 slash line while hitting eighth, and has added 14 long balls, eight doubles, a triple and 32 RBI. Not bad numbers at all—almost every team in the bigs would kill to have a No. 8 hitter of that caliber.
Yet, manager Dave Roberts has done a little bit of fluctuating as of late, primarily moving Puig up several spots in the regular order. Most specifically, Yasiel has now hit fifth over the last three games against the Rockies, going 3-for-11 with two doubles and a walk in the process. For the year in the five-hole, though, he has now garnered 53 AB, while slashing a mere .132/.246/.302.
The biggest problem right now for Roberts in writing out the lineup cards is that his options for the lower part of the order are slim, at least from the standpoint of offensive production. Curtis Granderson, who has hit all over the place in the lineup, has gone 7-for-67 since becoming a Dodger and is slashing .208/.321/.448 for the entirety of 2017. Joc Pederson is hitting .211/.326/.406 over 307 PA this season, and seems to be trying a new batting stance with each AB. Logan Forsythe is hitting .230/.359/.326—the .326 slugging is not a typo—and despite his solid glove work, has not lived up to expectations with the bat. Catcher Yasmani Grandal, who frequently slots into the five-hole, has now fallen below the .250 mark for the year, and has gone a paltry 3-for-29 over his last 31 PA. Utility man Enrique Hernandez, who is a mainstay in the lineup against southpaw pitching, is slashing .216/.305/.429 for the season.
Theoretically, it really shouldn’t matter at all where any of these players hit when it comes to production, but if a little tweak in the order may cause the spark that’s needed to create a bit of much-needed momentum, many close to the club would certainly be all for it.
And in the greater scope of things, based on how Puig has matured at the dish and how he’s become more patient especially, a one through five order of Taylor, Seager, Turner, Bellinger and Puig doesn’t seem too shabby in the least. It’s the lower part of the order that could really use a boost.
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