Dodgers Lineups: More Thoughts About the Leadoff Spot

(Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

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.

The majority of time hitting first has been divided between Max Muncy and Mookie Betts, with Joc Pederson making an appearance last night in that spot homering on the first pitch he saw.

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 Dodgers fell to the Padres 5-4 in the opening game, as Walker Buehler gave up three solo home runs over five innings pitched, while Brusdar Graterol gave up two runs to take the loss.

The first pitch tonight is set for 6:10 p.m. Los Angeles time.


10 thoughts on “Dodgers Lineups: More Thoughts About the Leadoff Spot

  1. They need to move Seager to the top 4. Corey hit second much of his time the first 2 years he was in the bigs. He hits well in that spot. I do not trust Muncy that up in the order. Yeah, he homers a lot, but his K rate this season is up. He leads the team with 13 K’s. He Taylor and Pollock are the only 3 hitters with 10 or more. Of those 3 only Pollock is hitting with any consistency. Betts back in the lineup will make a huge difference, but until Belli, Turner, and Muncy start hitting with some consistency, there are huge holes in this supposed juggernaut lineup.

  2. Joc leading off again today. All of the lefty’s are in the lineup. Only Turner in the 3 hole is hitting above .200. Muncy is right at .200 and leads the team in K’s with 13. Why is he hitting 2nd when Seager is the better option there? Moronic. Excuse me, but Roberts is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. I agree with getting Rios in the line up, but his best hitters so far this season are in the lower part of the order. Try jumping on a pitcher early for once Dave. It takes the pressure off of the pitching staff!

      1. You are totally wrong. Betts is a very good leadoff hitter and has been his entire career. Muncy right now could not hit water if he fell out of a boat.

  3. Dodgers need to wake up before they get in a bad spot. The Pads are plenty good enough to go on a 60 game hot streak and win the division. That’s only 1/3 of a normal year it happens all the time.

  4. Nice come back win. No one saying anything bad about Pollock lately. He gets 2 big hits in this game, and Cody gets a clutch single in the 6th. May did a nice job keeping them in the game and gets rewarded with his first win. Bullpen shut them down the rest of the way, and Kenley gets a clean inning for the save. Still a game behind the Rockies who beat the Giants again. Bumgarner loses again for the D Backs. Guess it is a good thing AF did not pursue him in free agency.

  5. MLB announced that the rosters will be set at 28 for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Also, the taxi squad on the road will increase from 3 to 5 players. Mike Trout is a beast. First game back after attending the birth of his son, he homered in his first at bat. Albert Pujols hits homer # 659. One back of Willie Mays. JT not hitting, but his defense this season has been outstanding. He passed Zack Wheat as the all time Dodger leader in HBP with his 74th plunking. Guess no one will bash AJ for a while. Leads the team in OPS. And is tied for the team lead in homers with Muncy and Seager. JT and Barnes are the only Dodgers yet to go yard. Barnes probably won’t hit one before I age another year.

  6. Bear you have been a big Pollock supporter and looks like you’re right. He’s healthy and producing. I thought he was toast after his horrific post season but he’s bounced back. He’s a pro and hopefully he can stay healthy. A lot of cold bats right now. Hopefully guys get locked in soon. The pitching is carrying us right now and the young guns are coming through! May is looking more and more like another ace. Gonna be some great pitching duels with the Pads over the next few years!

  7. Roberts needs to stabilize the batting order and stop moving guys around.
    1. Betts
    2. Seager
    3. Turner
    4. Bellinger
    5. Pollock
    6. Muncy ( instead of Joc, because in the past he has been able to hit lefties)
    7. Taylor or Hernandez
    8. Pederson
    9. Smith (Barnes not more than once per week)

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