I know, another article about Yasiel Puig batting lead-off. There’s been a lot of those written lately. Did you know that Puig may bat lead-off? Oh and hey in case you haven’t heard, Puig may be batting lead-off for the 2014 season.
But there is a reason to the Dodger’s madness. Last season the young outfielder posted a .319/.391/.534 slash line with 19 home runs and 42 runs driven in while receiving 432 plate appearances in 104 games. We know that. The 22-year-old right-handed hitter posted a 5 win WAR in 2013, and a .925 OPS. Some people may think that batting him lead-off could be a waste of his power. I initially thought this at first as well. However, there are a couple of reasons to bat him in the top spot in the lineup, and they have nothing to do with his power.
The first reason being that the top three batters in the lineup will always get more at-bats that anyone else. This is the one universal truth of all lineup creation. The top three hitters get more at-bats, therefore they get more chances to come up with runners on base. Pretty simple.
The main reason that the Dodgers want Puig to bat lead-off is because of the numbers. When Puig leads off an inning you know what he is hitting? I’ll tell you. When Puig led off an inning in 2013 he was batting .414 (41 for 99). That’s a slash line of .414/.463/.626 with four home runs. When he bats first in the order his line was .333/.409/.618 (34 for 102) with eight home runs. And when he leads off the game he’s batting .402. His OPS while leading off an inning is 1.089.
There you have it. That’s why the Dodgers want Puig to bat lead-off. The numbers don’t lie. When Puig bats atop the order, and leads off the inning, the odds of him getting a hit, or getting on base are almost astronomically high. Works for me.