Dodgers Lineups: Looking at a Few Possible Batting Orders for 2018

yasiel-puig-and-matt-kemp (1)
(Getty Images photo)

While many of the media outlets covering the Dodgers were offering up their 2018 projected lineups not long after the conclusion of last year’s World Series, it’s been a while since we’ve jotted down any of our own ideas. Not much has altered as far as the position players go, but after letting our thoughts digest for most of the winter, some of our views have changed a bit since we’ve laid out any projections.

Matt Kemp has returned to Los Angeles, and although his chances of making the Opening Day 25-man roster are still slim, the more he hangs around, the more his opportunity to play for the Dodgers improves. Hypothetically, if Kemp is indeed around for the beginning of the season, it will create quite the roster logjam in the outfield. But considering his career .319/.380/.542 slash line against southpaws, it’s very tempting to push aside his defensive skills for a moment and insert him in the Opening Day lineup against left-hander Madison Bumgarner and the Giants on March 29.

There’s been a bit of speculation on where Chris Taylor fits into the impending roster, but it doesn’t really make sense to bust-up perhaps the best 1-through-4 quartet that baseball saw last season. And being that MadBum will be on the bump in the opener, the remainder of the lineup fills out quite easily.

  1. Taylor – CF
  2. Seager – SS
  3. Turner – 3B
  4. Bellinger – 1B
  5. Puig – RF
  6. Kemp – LF
  7. Forsythe – 2B
  8. Barnes – C

There has also been a lot of talk about Logan Forsythe and how he will fit into the club’s 2018 plans. For the entirety of the 2017 regular season, Forsythe hit just .190/.315/.262 in 286 plate appearances against right-handed pitching. Career-wise, his numbers are a little better, but not stellar by any means, as he has a .236/.317/.344 lifetime mark against right-handers. Many believe that management may give the Memphis native more chances to improve against righty pitching this season, but a lifetime .344 slugging over a seven-year career isn’t likely to drastically change overnight.

And even though Austin Barnes may see the most action behind the plate for the Dodgers this season, Yasmani Grandal will definitely get his share of playing time, which will presumably come mostly against right-handed pitching.

Conceivably, one of the most interesting positional battles may be between Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles; however, if both are showing promising potential with the bat early in the season, there’s a simple fix against righty pitching, at least from an offensive point of view. By moving Taylor into second base and putting Pederson in center field with Toles in left, the bating order would be nearly optimized. With Forsythe on the pine, the squad’s defense would drop a few ticks, but this would by no means be a daily occurrence.

  1. Taylor – 2B
  2. Seager – SS
  3. Turner – 3B
  4. Bellinger – 1B
  5. Puig – RF
  6. Pederson – CF
  7. Grandal – C
  8. Toles – LF

Last season, after all the combinations were jumbled together, skipper Dave Roberts rolled out 110 different lineups, and when considering the club’s continued defensive versitility, there’s no reason to believe anything will be different in 2018, at least until the postseason arrives.

Of course, Kemp could be sent packing early and a few injuries may impact any projected lineups, but considering that players have yet to report to Camelback for spring camp, these guesses—sans Kemp—might be as good as any you’ll see.

 

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14 thoughts on “Dodgers Lineups: Looking at a Few Possible Batting Orders for 2018

  1. Every time I see Kemp’s name in a proposed 2018 lineup I get a little more excited about the possibilities. Maybe that’s just “pie in the sky” wishful thinking but I’m really hoping he gets to Glendale with the team and they actually see what he can do before making any final decisions. Getting rid of him would either involve giving up a prospect or prospects to get back a little of his salary or getting another team to take a chance on him while getting practically no salary back. Either way, I think the potential upside for bringing him to ST is worth it.

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    1. Sort of like having a beat-up 2011 Porsche in your garage? Maybe take it to the mechanic and see if he can get it rolling for another year before you take it to the junkyard and climb into your more reliable 2017 Honda Civic?

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      1. I’m all for giving Kemp at least a shot. If his attitude is unfixable, or if his glove proves to be worse than a Manny Ramirez type of LF, then by all means make some arrangements to send him away.

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      2. Totally agree on the attitude. That’s non-negotiable. With regard to Manny’s left field performance, I’m not sure if anyone has ever played that position worse than him, but I think we’d all agree he made up for it at the plate. If Kemp managed to play left field worse than Manny it would have to be attitude related.

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    2. Jeff,
      Given the amount of prospects that the Dodgers currently have on the farm, wouldn’t it be practical to perhaps trade some away in hopes of making the big league roster better? I mean when you examine first base, shortstop, and several outfield positions – the boys are loaded for the foreseeable future.

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      1. I’m certainly not opposed to trading prospects in the right kind of deal. The one guy I don’t think I would trade under any circumstances is Keibert Ruiz. At 19 his upside seems spectacular considering how he has already performed. It would take a lot for me to trade Buehler but I’m not saying I absolutely wouldn’t do it for the right return.

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      2. I wouldn’t want to be a shortstop or first baseman in the Dodger system, or a catcher other than Ruiz or maybe Smith.

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      3. Hard to tell exactly how highly the front office values Verdugo. He’s still very young and really didn’t get a chance to play when he was up last season. I seriously doubt we’ll re-sign Puig when his contract is up after 2019 (just a feeling), assuming we haven’t traded him before then. As I keep mentioning, we still don’t really know what we have long term in Toles or Joc. CT-3 might ultimately wind up as the second baseman, so there could ultimately be room for Verdugo, but he’s also a valuable trade chip. Almost impossible to figure how this will play out, but I’d love to have you put your thoughts in an article. I think that because he didn’t set the world on fire last September, people are tending to put him on the back burner.

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  2. The lineup you have against right handers has a lot of question marks, hopefully most of them will work out on the positive side. We still have no idea what we’ll get out of Joc. Toles has only had 200 MLB at bats. And, as much as we all feel that CT3 and Bellinger will have great careers, they’ve only had one good season. As Dodger fans, we want to assume that last year will be at least a typical year for them but we can’t absolutely count on that. JT, Seager and to a certain degree Grandal have shown us over repeated seasons what we can expect from them (barring injury). Puig made great strides last year so we hope and assume that this is what we’ll get, but we can’t be really sure.
    I’m feeling much more positive than negative about the above, but as they say, “that’s why they play the games.”

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