Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2022 season with high expectations, backed by a lineup filled with seven All-Stars – including three players with an MVP Award to their name – along with a former No. 1 overall prospect and arguably the best catcher in baseball.
Already with so much talent throughout the roster, the Dodgers traded another former All-Star in AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox without missing his production at all.
Through a little over a month into the regular season, the lineup has performed well, but they are still waiting on players who were expected to be key contributors to start producing like they are able to. Max Muncy, Trea Turner, Cody Bellinger and Will Smith have all underperformed expectations, while Justin Turner and Mookie Betts just recently started producing after slumps to begin their season.
Early in the season, the bottom of the Dodgers’ order was responsible for a lot of their production thanks to the hot start by Gavin Lux. But manager Dave Roberts said he views all nine batters in the lineup as capable top-of-the-order caliber hitters when asked if he thinks the talent at the top has helped take pressure off the bottom-of-the-order guys.
“I hope so. But the guys at the top of the order, they’re there for a reason,” Roberts said. “But honestly, our guys all throughout the lineup could be top-end guys in any lineup. I think we have the deepest lineup in baseball.
“And it’s just nice to see that Gavin is taking really good at-bats. I think Cody is starting to come to life now. C.T. is kind of hanging in there, Will Smith I think is swinging better than his line score. Muncy is on the come a little bit too.
“So yeah, when you get those guys at the top, I think right now offensively in this week span, this is as good as we’ve swung the bats I think as a whole.”
Even despite all those early-season slumps, the Dodgers have scored more runs than any other team in baseball at 203, seven more than the second-place team despite 101 fewer plate appearances.
As a team they are batting .245/.331/.412 with a .330 wOBA and 116 wRC+, which ranks fourth in MLB. Although their slugging numbers are down, which may be a result of the dead baseball and humidor, the Dodgers have been able to score a lot thanks to their league-leading on-base percentage and their ability to put up a crooked number in any inning.
Betts enjoys hitting in front of Freeman in Dodgers lineup
Another big part of the reason why the Dodgers lineup has still performed well is because of the consistent play of Freddie Freeman.
The 2020 National League MVP joined the team this past offseason and through 37 games he is batting .312/.409/.493 with a 157 wRC+.
Betts, who leads baseball with 36 runs scored, has appreciated having Freeman in the lineup and hitting in-front of the five-time All-Star.
“It’s just fun having Freddie around in general,” Betts said of playing with Freeman. “He’s a professional, goes about his day professionally obviously, and just having him behind me is huge.
“I want to score a lot of runs, and if I was going to have somebody behind me to help me score runs, it would be him.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!