Mookie Betts Expected to Bat Leadoff for Dodgers After Trade, Says Dave Roberts

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2020

Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts reacts during spring training baseball Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Entering his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mookie Betts is expected to remain in a familiar position in the batting order. 

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters Friday he and Betts are in agreement that the 2018 American League MVP will be the team's primary leadoff hitter. 

Roberts did note there could be some games Betts hits second when the Dodgers are facing "certain" right-handed pitchers, with a lefty hitter occupying the leadoff spot. 

Betts spent the vast majority of his time with the Boston Red Sox hitting leadoff. He did occasionally move around, but he was always near the top of the order and hasn't hit lower than fourth since his rookie season in 2014. 

One reason for the Dodgers to use Betts as their table-setter is his ability to get on base and make contact. The 27-year-old has never struck out more than 101 times in a season over the past six years and has a .413 on-base percentage since the start of 2018. 

Even though depth is a strength of the Dodgers roster, their leadoff hitters ranked 18th in MLB with a .331 on-base percentage last season. 

Betts' presence at the top of the order will afford Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger, who were most often used as the No. 2 and 3 hitters last season, more opportunities to drive in runs. 

The Dodgers didn't struggle to score last season, leading the National League with 886 runs. Betts' arrival simply makes one of the best offenses in MLB even better heading into 2020. 

Betts is also an excellent power hitter, in addition to his skills at getting on base. He owns a .301/.374/.519 career slash line and has hit at least 24 homers in each of the past four seasons. 

  

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