How A.J. Pollock Impacts the Dodgers’ Prospective 2019 Lineups

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(Getty Images photo)

Yesterday, the Dodgers finally signed another outfielder. To many fans’ chagrin, however, it was not Bryce Harper, and was instead A.J. Pollock.

Dennis covered the stats of Pollock in his article yesterday, and brought about the question of what the lineup and defensive configuration might look like with Pollock on the team.

Being that Pollock is a center fielder, Cody Bellinger would not be where he spent much of last season. He will go back to first base where he was most of his rookie season, or over to right field if Max Muncy is handling first base duties. Bellinger is such an incredible athlete that he can move to multiple spots, seemingly without a drop in defense. David Freese will also be seeing time at first.

Speaking of Muncy, he would not be moving to multiple positions. The third base experiment did not go well last year. But, he could be taking over the second base vacancy, or make it the rotation of Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor, and himself.

Right field could see the platoon of Bellinger and Alex Verdugo, while left field would see Joc Pederson, Taylor, and Hernandez.

We know who will be manning third, short, and behind home plate, in Justin Turner, Corey Seager, and Austin Barnes. But first base, second base, and the corners of the outfield could be a revolving door. But that seemingly is what the front office likes, platooning and matchups. This group of players definitely gives them that.

As far as lineups go, it could look something like this against right-handed pitching:

  • Pederson LF
  • Seager SS
  • Turner 3B
  • Muncy 2B
  • Pollock CF
  • Bellinger 1B
  • Verdugo RF
  • Barnes C

And against left-handers:

  • Pollock CF
  • Seager SS
  • Turner 3B
  • Hernandez 2B
  • Freese 1B
  • Bellinger RF
  • Taylor LF
  • Martin C

Both lineups are solid, and a threat from top to bottom. Anytime you have Bellinger that far down the lineup, that’s a pretty good position to be in.

IF Pollock can remain healthy, and that is a huge if, this is a great pickup. It’s not splashy like a Harper deal might have been, but there’s a solid upside, again, if he remains healthy. Two of Pollock’s injuries were dumb luck, a broken thumb and broken elbow. Still, having Bellinger, and also Pederson able to take over center field duties to rest Pollock is also a big advantage the Dodgers have.

I still would like to see the Dodgers trade for J.T. Realmuto, as I would always want to see the best possible team on the field. At this moment, however, I am content with what the front office has put together. It’s more than good enough to win the division, and is still one of the top two or three teams in the NL. The front office has shown that they are willing to make big moves at the deadline.

Content, for now.

 

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61 thoughts on “How A.J. Pollock Impacts the Dodgers’ Prospective 2019 Lineups

  1. Are you so happy with your lineup against right handers Andy that you are actually pulling the right fielder? 🙂
    I assume you would be inserting Verdugo there?
    Muncy’s splits last year were really not bad against lefties so I don’t see any reason to strictly platoon him if he doesn’t regress badly (.361 OBP, .891 OPS against southpaws). Freese should get some starts but not every time a lefty goes against us.
    Also, as much as I like Kike, in my opinion any lineup that has him batting cleanup leaves something to be desired.

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    1. Doc did say that Muncy would probably see more time against lefties. I didn’t want to get too intricate, just a generalization, getting all players into a lineup. I also agree Kiké cleanup isn’t great, but that’s the kind of lineup they sent out a lot last year so 🤷🏻‍♀️

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  2. Pollock will most likely be the leadoff hitter regardless of who is on the mound. He hits both equally well. I can’t understand why you have Bellinger so far down in both lineups, especially against a righty. No way he hits that low and if he is then something has gone terribly wrong.

    Right:
    1. Pollock CF
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Bellinger 1B
    5. Muncy 2B
    6. Joc LF
    7. Verdugo RF
    8. Barnes C

    Left:
    1. Pollock CF
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Freese 1B
    5. Kike’ LF (or swap with Bellinger)
    6. Bellinger RF
    7. Taylor 2B
    8. Martin C

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    1. Pollock’s splits say he is better in the middle of the order. Bellinger is a legitimate 30/30 threat who might become a more complete hitter if 1 of 5 ABs are leading off a game: his OBP is already better than Pollock’s. If Bellinger can improve his OBP ahead of Turner, Seager, Pollock and Muncy that would be a great 1-5. Depending who wins the last three spots, do the Dodgers trade for Realmuto, etc. then 6-8 would be great too. A legitimate power threat like Bellinger protected by Turner and Seager will get his RBI chances too as the line up turns over.

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  3. JP Morosi now saying the Dodgers and Padres are most active in JTR talks with others also in the mix. Padres, however, are supposedly using my strategy and insisting on a window to extend Realmuto before making any deal. If we’re going to have to include Ruiz, we should definitely do the same.

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      1. Same thing the Reds did with Gray. Current team gives new team a (usually) 72 hour window to negotiate an extension with the player. If they can come to an agreement the trade is consummated. If not, the trade is cancelled or the terms (players received) are re-worked. Dennis seems to think that there might be an MLB rule that says you can’t speak directly with a player from another team but this has been done before so my guess is as long as the player’s current team gives approval it’s OK.

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  4. Why you sticking Pollock at leadoff? I don’t think that’s automatic. He got on base at .316 last year, .330 the year before. His 7 years career OBP is only.328. Taylor might be better. .331 last year, .354 the year before. Heck, shake it up….Max Muncy, .416 OBP vs RH starters.

    Analyze that Doc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here’s a thought. Instead of Realmuto how about offering KC a package they can’t refuse and go for Whit Merrifield? I know they say he’s not available but for the right price everyone is available.

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    1. I like the idea, KC is rebuilding, but the already traded the heavyweights. Merrifield, 5.2 fWAR, is team controlled until ‘23. He’s also 30, which is kinda weird, so who knows, he could be available. Call ‘em up Alex.

      I think I just put Taylor there and hit him 100 grounders every day this Spring.

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  6. I love merrifield also, but second basemen are probably the easiest to position to fill, so I wouldn’t want to give up to much in a trade for a 2b. We could have had LeMehieu without giving up anyone. Now start talking to KC about Salvador Perez, and I’m on board.

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  7. Scoop, the reds got a 72 hour window to work out an extension with gray. If there was an extension, the yanks got one package, if ther was no extension they agreed to take a lesser package. It was like a player to be named later. I think that is what Jeff is talking about.

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    1. Yeah, I read that. Thought it was unusual, But it makes sense for the team doing the bidding. It could work for everybody, especially if they are giving up Ruiz. I figured he was the future, Realmuto is the now JT is only 28 so, sure, extend him. But be prepared to watch Ruiz playing in the All Star game wearing a Marlins jersey.

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      1. I just checked and his agent isn’t Boras so it could actually be possible. Realmuto will be traded by next week. This can’t drag out any longer (said the man who made the same proclamation about Machado and Harper).

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    1. I could definitely see AF proposing that but I’m not sure the Marlins would go for it. I guess that would all depend on what other teams were offering and which other players we would include in the trade

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    1. Barnes is a much better player than people give him credit for. Last year was a fluke, y’all can hold me to that. He’s not a power hitter but he’s always been a good hitter who gets on base and takes walks. Behind the plate he has bear flawless technique. It’s fun for me just to watch him work on days he catches. I really want Barnes to get his shot this year so I hope the Padres offer Miami a package for JTR they can’t turn down.

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      1. I agree. Barnes projects.241/.346/..376 so most think he will improve. I have to ask – why Martin? I thought that was the signal Andy was done talking to Miami.

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    2. What weakness does Realmuto fill exactly? We need a righty bat who crushes lefties. Realmuto is terrible against lefties. We want a power bat from the right side. Realmuto is a 15-20HR hitter in the Marlins park which is much easier on a.m. the hitter than Dodger Stadium. We want a good defensive catcher. Realmuto has a strong throwing arm, his best defensive trait. He is also terrible at pitch framing. Barnes is excellent behind the plate calling games, blocking bad balls and most importantly pitch framing. Barnes doesn’t have the arm of JTR however. For me there are better ways to use our prospect capital to better the team.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t want everyone to think I’m just negative about JTR just to be negative. There is a good reason for it. He’s going to cost what a superstar should get in trade because of the position he plays and the lack of good catchers in the league. The only problem with that is we are the deepest team in catching talent in MLB even after the loss of Grandal. If you are going to trade 2-3 top prospects give me a star. For that I want a frontline starter, a .300 power hitting outfielder, or a .300 hitting 40 stolen base gold glove 2B to hit atop our lineup. JTR is a fine player he’s just not a star.

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      2. Realmuto is good defensively, but the reason Andrew wants him is his 4.9 oWAR. A number like that out of that position makes him drool.

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  8. Gotta love the rumor mill. Now everyone thinks the Padres are going to get both Realmuto and Machado. There is also other news on the Padres front……….they are going back to those UGLY Yellow and Brown unis. Not sure if the scheme will be the same, but in 2020 it will be happening. I do not trade Ruiz at all…….sorry to be a mood killer.

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    1. I’m all for SD getting Machado and Realmuto. That will mean they have to trade away some of the insane number of quality prospects they have AND spend big money. They will use all their money to sign both Machado and Realmuto so they will have to hope they hit on their young guys coming up.

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  9. It’s funny that the padres keep being rumored to be in on a lot of guys, it doesn’t seam like they are quite ready to go for it. Their pitching is not playoff caliber yet so them going after machado, and Realmuto doesn’t make sense to me.

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  10. I’m sorry but Barnes is the weakest link on our team by far. I don’t buy even those weak hitting projections you gave Scoop. If you want to win a WS you have a chance to get the best catcher in baseball you do it. Realamuto’s splits on lefties weren’t good last year but his career numbers are much better. His,power numbers have been increasing and he’s in his prime. Game 5 of WS 2 outs and runners on base I want Realmuto up there and not Barnes!

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  11. Times running out for us. This year and next then Kersh and JT could be finished. Championship windows don’t last long. Unless your the Patriots!

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  12. Talk about stirring the pot. There was a blurb on twitter that said one of the things not mentioned in Kershaw’s contract was the stipulation that Yasiel Puig had to be traded before spring training. Not that I believe that to be true, but it is stirring the pot at it’s highest form.

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    1. I’m sure it wasn’t in writing but it might have been discussed verbally. Kershaw’s and Puig’s personalities probably didn’t mix very well.

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  13. Part of me was sad to see Puig get traded, he had his flaws, but he had matured somewhat over the last two seasons, man, could he be exciting and frustrating, to watch. I do think it was probably the right time to trade him. Ward, his mentor was gone, he was probably going to get platooned more this season because of his splits, in which case he would have more than likely become a distraction, or it may have been just a money dump. Whatever the reason, I think it was for the best. I do think Yasiel is going to have a big year in that ball park this season, I’ll rout for him when he is not playing against the dodgers, but I understand the FO did what they thought was best for the club for whatever reason.

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  14. Rich Buster Posey is still the best catcher in baseball until proven otherwise and I could even argue that others are right up there with Realmuto like Gary Sanchez, Yaz, Willson Contreras and Salvador Perez. All have very similar numbers but each with their own deficiency in their games. At the beginning of last season Austin Barnes was ranked the 6th on MLB’s top catcher list, right behind Realmuto at 5. This isn’t to say I don’t like JTR and think he’s very good, I do. I just think for the price it would take there are better options to make the team better. The pitching staff already knows Barnes and he’s dynamite behind the plate. I also believe he will start hitting again like he’s don’t his entire career. Save the prospects in case Friedman needs to make another blockbuster trade in July. Let some other team desperate for a catcher trade the top of their farm system and then hand Realmuto a 6 year $120 million dollar contract in 2020 while we play Barnes and then have Keibert Ruiz play for pennies on the dollar for several years.

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  15. I actually would believe Kershaw demanded management do something with Puig as a silent stipulation to him coming back. It’s obvious Kershaw and Puig weren’t best buds and Clayton is a hyper focused player. I can see where Puig would wear you down being around him all the time. I still wish he was here though because he was so fun to watch. He’s going to have a ridiculous year in that little league park and get paid handsomely by someone but it won’t be the Reds or Dodgers. I bet Puig hits 35+ HR this year and makes the all star team.

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  16. Rich I think it’s possible, even likely, Realmuto just had his career year. The data says catchers peak between the ages 25-28. Posey had his best year at 25, Johnny Bench 24, Piazza 26-28, Rodriguez 28. That’s not to say Realmuto won’t be good into his 30s, he might be. Those guys sure were. But he made his first All Star game at 27. He’s been good for 3 years, but he’s only been very good 1 year. The great catchers were very good in their early 20s and stayed that way for years. I don’t know that’s Realmuto. Perhaps. I really like Ruiz. I could be wrong, but I think he may be something special. Does Realmuto put us over the top? Who knows. If we get him, and it costs Ruiz, I hope he’s a late bloomer and has his 2 best years later than most.

    I think most of us believe it was time for Puig to go. That said, we should have been able to get a lot more for him. That trade looks worse with every passing day. Maybe those two prospects are the real deal. Hope so. But it’s way too early to know. If we could use them for Realmuto……

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  17. Anybody seen our new depth chart?

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/team/depth/_/name/lad

    Bellinger back to first. Freese third string.

    I’m betting Maeda now wishes he hadn’t signed an incentive contract. I think they ALL should be, but the Union of Millionaires disagrees. Sure wish I could have had a guaranteed contract. California Teacher’s Association wasn’t that powerful. Neither was the Union at Coca Cola in Redding. Miserable place to work. Anyway, I like an outfield of Pollock, Bellinger, and Verdugo. What do I know.

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    1. No one has a clue how Verdugo is going to play in an everyday role. You cannot predict that. I have seen a lot of players that were very good at AAA. Consistent .300 hitters. Sustaining that kind of success in the majors is much harder. Verdugo has a lot of skills. But I do not put a guy who is basically a rookie in the leadoff spot. If Taylor is anywhere near the 2017 version, I put him there. Kike actually does well there. Pollock has been a leadoff hitter before, but his numbers in that spot are pretty pedestrian. Joc hit 8 homers in that spot last year, so if he is still a Dodger come opening day, look for Roberts to stick him in that spot. Verdugo is going to hit much lower in the order.

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  18. What a difference a new browser makes! Had to switch to Firefox since IE is no longer acceptable to yahoo. It is pretty fast, but the best part is now, for the first time in over a year, I go to mlb.com and when I check on transactions I can see them! Used to be I could see them all the time. Yesterday was a pretty busy day for the Orioles. They sent out invitations to spring for all the non roster guys. Surprise, one of those was Diaz. He will be in his first big league camp. Hope everyone has a great day..

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  19. I still think the team will play belly in the OF with Muncy and Freese at 1b, and Taylor/ Kike at 2b. Muncy would be definitely below average at second, for any length of time.

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    1. And once again Keith I am beginning to doubt your wisdom. I love ya dude, but Muncy at 1st weakens the defense and you are counting on the guy to be the Muncy of 2018. I do not believe that is going to happen. The league adjusted to him as the season went on and during the playoffs he was not the same guy. Oh yeah, he hit the homer that won the only game they won in the series, but his K ratio went way up during that series. He was a shorter version of Bellinger 2017. I have no doubt Ol Dave will have him over there sometimes. He is a perfect DH when they play in AL parks. I also think that he needs to get off to a really good start to get any kind of regular playing time. He struggles, and it is off to AAA. And I think if they are smart, Taylor is at 2nd the bulk of the time. Kike in a super reserve role is what he does best. All of this is based on everyone playing at a high level. There is not one person in the organization who can say how Verdugo is going to pan out, or if Toles becomes someone like McGee who played for the Cardinals way back when. Muncy is below average at first. He is even worse at 3rd. It is true, you can hide his defensive short comings more at first, but you also increase his chances of failure because 1st baseman are involved in so many plays. Do not get me wrong, I like Max. He is a grinder. Maybe he works incessantly this spring and becomes a much better fielder. But the fact is, he is not Belli over there who gives you gold glove type defense. He also is not adept at digging balls out of the dirt and as he does not have Belli’s length, he will miss balls Belli will get to. With Seager coming back from surgery on his shoulder, his throwing strength is not going to be what it was right away. Muncy will not get to throws that Belli would thus saving errors. My main concern is that the only time Bellinger was ever injured it was from playing in the outfield. It cost him 11 days and that cost him the chance of hitting 40 homers his rookie year. Sorry my friend. I am of the mind that Max is not repeating last year and gets no where near 30 dingers again.

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      1. Valid point about Seager’s throws Bear, at least at the beginning of the season. I saw a TV interview with Muncy at Fan Fest yesterday and, believe it or not, he says he’s most comfortable at second. Also said he took off some weight this winter. Doc/AF indicated they plan to play Pollock in center most of the time, so that leaves Belli in a corner or at first. I honestly think they really aren’t sure of how they’ll deploy everyone yet and will use ST to make some of those decisions.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Depth charts this time of year are worthless. So are projections. No one can project who is going to do what when. Joc exceeded projections last year. Muncy was on no-ones radar. Pollock could end up playing 150 games. They take the past and try to make you think this is what is in the future. They were doing the same with Harper and Machado. Worthless exercise and only the stat geeks believe in that crap.

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  21. Bear you miss understand me, I’m not stating what I would do, I’m stating what I think doc will do. I think the team wants him on the field a lot so that’s why I keep throwing him on first base.
    Bear humor me a little, I do think, from things I’ve read, the team wants Muncy to play substantial innings, not just platoon or come of the bench. So if that is the case, where do you play Muncy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sure do not play him everyday at a position where he can impact the game that often with weak defense. He says he is most comfortable at second. So lets see if the slimmed down version of him can actually handle the position. He supposedly has lost some weight. Also everyone is expecting him to be the offensive force he was last year. I am sorry bud, I just do not think he is going to come anywhere close to replicating that offense. If he does, I will gladly eat crow. But my gut is telling me he has a Taylor like regression. More K’s and less homers. OBP will go down too as will his OPS. If he is close to the same player, they will be very lucky. To me all of you are hoping for everyone on this roster to be healthy and productive yet no one, not even me, can predict what they are going to get from any of these players. Thats why I do not trade all those pieces for Realmuto and Abreu. I do not think there is any trade out there that brings the Dodgers even with the AL’s big 3. They might be the class of the NL after trades like that. But WS champs? Doubtful

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