Nearly a quarter into this shortened 60 game season, the Dodgers stand with a 7-4 record and tied for second place in the National League West. Throughout those 11 games, there have been multiple players who’ve hit first in the batting order.
After Monday’s game, manager Dave Roberts said it’s a possibility that Pederson will see more time in that spot against right-handed pitching. Earlier this season, Roberts said most of the leadoff position would be divided by Betts and Muncy.
With Betts still dealing with a finger injury keeping his status day to day, Pederson can likely see more time at the number one spot until Betts fully recovers.
During the 2019 season with the Red Sox, Betts saw most of his at-bats from the leadoff spot, 413 of 597 to be exact. In the number one spot, his batting average was .283 and he had an OBP of .347. Betts also walked 64 times and scored 94 runs. He has a career batting average of .303 while hitting leadoff as it is the spot where he’s seen the most at-bats.
Muncy has struggled like many hitters to start the season as he’s only batting .200, but has hit three homers. Against the Padres on Monday night, he was hitless in four at-bats. Batting first this season, Muncy has only registered three hits in 20 at-bats. In comparison, Betts is 7-for-21 batting first this season.
Muncy last season only saw one plate appearance in the leadoff spot, with most of his at-bats came batting second. He had a.250 batting average in the two-hole while also knocking in 33. The other spot he saw a lot of at-bats was fifth where he averaged .242 and drove in 24.
Pederson last season was the Dodgers primary leadoff hitter, garnering 441 plate appearances in that spot. His batting average was .250 and he had an OBP of.342, while also tallying 33 homers in that position. He also scored 76 runs and walked 43 times. While this year he’s seen most of his at-bats seventh in the order, his only time being leadoff was Monday night going 1-for-4 with a homer.
With Muncy struggling in the leadoff spot, it will more than likely he goes to second in the batting order. He can drive in more runners from that spot, and we’ve seen him make a couple of loud outs that sometimes can move runners over.
It would be expected that once Betts recovers, he will most likely return to the main leadoff spot, which was the idea coming into the season, being that he is also the biggest base-stealing threat on the Dodgers. With Pederson seeing time in the leadoff position against right handers, Betts could move back to second in the order and Muncy perhaps to fifth.
Roberts alluded that Pederson probably will bat leadoff more this series against the Padres. Betts’s availability is still uncertain, so we can expect Pederson in that spot.
Dennis discussed a similar leadoff comparison between Betts and Muncy at the beginning of the year.
The Dodgers will look to even the series tonight when they face right-hander Dinelson Lamet. Los Angeles will send 22-year-old Dustin May to the mound for his third start this season. So far, May has given up two runs in 7.2 innings making starts against the Astros and the Giants.
The first pitch tonight is set for 6:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.