Dave Roberts Undecided On Dodgers Lineup Order With Shohei Ohtani

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers added a generational talent in Shohei Ohtani by signing him to a 10-year, $700 million contract that extends through the 2033 season.

Ohtani’s record contract value is accompanied by a number of clauses and deferred money that provide the team with stability and the means to continue churning out competitive rosters. The addition of Ohtani forms a trio of elite MVP talent, joining Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

Betts and Freeman were locked into the top two spots of the Dodgers lineup nearly every game in 2023, but the addition of Ohtani may end up changing that order. However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is not sure how that will shape out yet.

“Funny story, the other day we were all in the training room with the players, and Freddie and Shohei were there with some other guys and Freddie dropped the bomb on me,” Roberts said at Ohtani’s press conference. “He said ‘Who’s hitting second and who’s hitting third?’ So I think we’re just going to all get together, but those are two great options.”

Ohtani received a second career MVP Award for his 2023 performance, posting arguably his best offensive season.

The superstar slugged 44 home runs to go along with batting .304/.412/.654, and because of the stability in the Dodgers lineup, he’ll have a shot to build on career-best numbers. Ohtani hit over .300 for the first time in his six-ear career, leading the American League in homers.

Dave Roberts has options with Dodgers lineup

A plus for Roberts and the Dodgers is how much success Ohtani can have at various parts of the lineup. Although he’s been tabbed as a high-RBI producer, he’s also shown a solid ability to hit out of the leadoff spot.

In limited samples, Ohtani posted a 1.378 on-base plus slugging percentage with five extra-base hits in 20 at-bats when hitting first. However, the bulk of Ohtani’s damage came from the two-hole, where he carried a 1.207 OPS with 26 home runs, 49 RBI.

In Freeman’s career, he’s tallied, 4,318 at-bats from the three spot. Because of his high on-base ability, he holds a .906 OPS in 5009 plate appearances with 202 home runs, 701 RBI, and 598 walks.

Regardless of how the Dodgers lineup shapes out, Roberts has three elite options at the top of his order and can’t go wrong with however he places them.

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