Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that Mattingly discussed the lineup and indicated the following:
Mattingly said by switching Puig and last year’s leadoff hitter, lefty-swinging Carl Crawford, in the order, it would provide better righty-lefty balance, with right-handed hitter Hanley Ramirez batting third and left-handed hitter Adrian Gonzalez batting fourth.
But it also would be a nod to the reality that the 23-year-old Puig is more dynamic offensively than the 32-year-old Crawford, whose baserunning was hampered by hamstring problems throughout the 2013 season.”
Call it a good idea for a misguided reason.
Without knowing it, this is very Joe Maddon-esque on Mattingly’s part, even if it’s for a reason that relies on old-school wisdom (alternating left and right-handed hitters).
Puig does not have great discipline (at the plate or otherwise). He is raw as a base stealer. But the fact is, he batted .319/.391/.534 last season. A .391 OBP is no joke, and by batting Puig first, you simply get more at-bats for one of your most dangerous hitters.
It will be interesting to see if Mattingly follows through with this thought, but if he does, it stands to make the Dodgers lineup even more daunting than it already is.