Dodgers Playoff Roster: Debating the Best Outfield Combinations

For as high of a ceiling the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense has, it also has an extremely low floor. I’m not necessarily talking about the last handful of games that matter little at the end of the regular season as much as I’m thinking about the consistency over the entire year.

The scary thing is that four players have consistently carried the club over the course of the year. Justin Turner, who has had a remarkable turnaround during the second half, makes five. Anyone else, sans Gavin Lux, is a crapshoot when they come to the plate, with the majority of the question marks being outfielders.

If we think about a good average for OPS, the major league standard comes in right around .750. Five Dodgers have an OPS over .800 — (Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, Trayce Thompson, Will Smith and Trea Turner) — with JTurner at .797 and Lux right near the average mark at .756. Freddie Freeman’s .925 OPS is second in the entire National League, by the way.

After Lux, there’s a lot of daylight, with the next qualifying batter being Max Muncy at .725.

As far as the outfield crew goes not named Betts or Thompson, Joey Gallo has an OPS of .690 for the year, Chris Taylor is at .677 and Cody Bellinger’s at .649.

While some managers like to stick with a consistent lineup during the postseason, Dave Roberts this year might choose to base his daily batting orders on matchups or the opposing pitcher’s handedness. If we’re talking strictly about defense, a combination of Betts, Bellinger and Gallo with Thompson floating is tough to beat. However, it’s sometimes tough to win playoff games with just great gloves.

Taylor could possibly be one of the team’s streakiest hitters, but he’s almost always come up big in the playoffs, as made evident by his .476 average (10-for-21) with three homers and three doubles in last year’s NLCS.

Bellinger seems to be heating up a bit at the end of the regular season, but it’s impossible to predict how he’ll perform when the playoffs roll around.

Over his last 26 games, Gallo has gone 9-for-70 (a .129 average), and probably wouldn’t even be on the roster if it wasn’t for a few big-game hits and his stellar glove. To boot, Thompson is in a similar slump of his own, hitting just .169 (11-for-65) over his last 21 games after having a sizzling start in his return to the team.

I guess the point of this whole mess is that choosing an optimal offensive lineup can sometimes be a crapshoot outside of the Big 4 of Mookie, Freeman, TTurner and Smith. Should that group of four collectively go cold by the time the playoffs roll around, the Dodgers might have a tougher time than many people imagined.

Having outfielders like Bellinger and Taylor step up big in the playoffs — like they’ve done in the past — could be critical to the team’s success.

13 thoughts on “Dodgers Playoff Roster: Debating the Best Outfield Combinations

  1. Gallo, Trayce, CT3, Belli – sometimes known as the Black Hole in the batting order. This is why I don’t understand why Vargas wasn’t given consistent playing time since his call up. His results might have been just as bad as the other four, but maybe not, and then he could have been a viable alternative for some regular left field time in the playoffs.

    1. I do not think Vargas is close to any of those guys offensively. And Thompson has hit decently, but still stinks against lefty’s. Gallo, Bellinger and Betts are all gold glove caliber outfielders. Hands down that is the best outfield defensively. Cody’s bat has woken up some the last couple of games. Gallo is a true black hole, and Taylor is injured. Vargas might make the roster by default.

    2. Well once again my post season expectations are very low. What’s new eh? Maybe I’ll be wrong for a change. Non of the contending teams are going into the post season, with 3 starters hitting at or below the mendoza line. And now our starting pitching depth may be questioned..And kersh is still the worst pitcher in post season history. Fire away guys but that’s pretty much how it is. I’ve been wrong before but…no wait. Lol.

  2. I am thrilled at the season the Dodgers have had. I will be ecstatic if they win the WS! Do I believe they will? No…as Gordon states too many swing and miss guys. And my belief that Robert’s managing starts u at -1.. against a club as talented.

    1. Absolutely Tmaxster. It was an amazing season to watch. The pitching, most of the hitters, and the bullpen. Close to a perfect season. But not a world series team. And I didn’t even want to talk about roberts.

      1. I’ve had it with you doubters.

        We’re going to win the World Series, period! I know that because Doc announced we would before the season started. Facts are facts.

        We all know that the front offices and managers are given the results of the season the night before the season starts, so they can start planning their vacations at the proper time.

        I can’t believe how uninformed you people are.

      2. Darn Jeff. I forgot all that. Thanks for reminding me. If Robert’s said that it must be true. I mean he’s been right before. Right

  3. I believe the Dodgers have the talent and the team to win. I think most fans worry too much about what the other team has and not what their team has accomplished all year. Their stats against the NL teams in the playoffs to this point. SD. 14-5. NY 3-4 Phil 3-4 Atl 4-2 St L 4-2 and just in case they sneak in, unlikely, they are 4-3 against the Brewers. Add it all up and the Dodgers are 32-20 if you were to add Milwaukee to the mix. That being said, A, the best team does not always win, it is usually the hot hand. B. even if it is a cliche, the playoffs are a total crapshoot. Gallo is lightning in a bottle, maybe he will, maybe he won’t. Bellinger is swinging much better the last few days and might have another good playoff run in him. I am less sure about Lux and Taylor, who are both suffering with neck problems. The top 6 in the lineup are pretty much very good. If the top does their job, anything the bottom contributes is gravy.

    1. Pretty much agree with your points. A few hot hands can come through in the clutch and be a deciding factor. Another thing that plays into the later parts of the playoffs is the starting pitchers. During the regular season, a team uses a 5 man rotation. Later in the playoffs, its best 3 starters being used. Compare the stats ratios of the best 3 of any team with the rest of their starters used during the season. That’s what is worrysome about the Padres. Their best 3 are better than those of some teams with better records. And 2 of them have something to prove when they face the Dodgers.

    2. Michael you always try to confuse us with facts. But we had these very same comments 10 years ago and 5 years ago and last year. And here we are. 0 for 9. Not counting the pretend season. I’m getting tired. And stand on my record??? If a couple of our mendoza hitters can get hot we’ll win. But what are the chances?

  4. The Dodgers haven’t played a meaningful game against a top club in what feels like weeks now. They are currently on cruise control against a bad team. Can they turn it back on when they need to? Who knows. But we won’t find out for another week.

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