The Case Against Josh Reddick (batting clean up)

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The Dodgers didn’t lose the game because of that, but let’s be clear about something: Reddick’s failings at the plate made it much more difficult for the team to win.

I’ve mentioned my feelings about Reddick batting clean up on Twitter on several occasions. I’ve also been called on it by Twitter followers. Fair enough. Every fan is entitled to his or her opinion. However, I don’t think social media is the best place to have an extended debate, so I will drop my two Dodger blue cents here.

First off, I want to make it clear that I am not advocating Reddick be removed from the lineup altogether. Let the guy play – I just don’t want his automatic out coming up in one of the most critical positions in the batting order.

The other day a Dodgers blogger/writer/reporter whose opinions I respect and generally agree with, dropped a statement in the ongoing Reddick debate that really surprised me. When asked whether Reddick should be dropped in the batting order, he said batting order is not important to him.

That blew my mind, as I’m of the belief that batting order is absolutely important. Of course, the difference in batting 6th or 7th isn’t going to make or break a team’s chances on a given day. However, you better believe it matters who regularly bats in the top five spots of the order, and an argument can be made for which order those batters come up.

Clean up hitters matter. The man who bats fourth is there for a reason. He is most likely a team’s most consistent power hitter. As the name denotes, it’s his job to drive the ball and knock in base runners, clearing the bases.

Since Reddick’s arrival to the Dodgers in a trade with the Oakland A’s, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has almost exclusively batted him fourth. In eight seasons Reddick has amassed 94 home runs and 126 doubles. That comes out to an average of 11.75 home runs and 15.75 doubles per year. The man has not exactly been knocking the cover off the ball over his career, but Roberts has insisted on keeping Reddick in a power slot.

One Twitter follower suggested Reddick should remain there because he’ll see better pitches in that spot. the idea is that will help Reddick break through. Perhaps. That was one of the arguments for keeping Justin Turner in the third batting slot through the first two months of the season, despite Turner’s atrocious performance in that position.

Even if one grants the notion that batting Turner third eventually helped him to become the powerful batter he is today, the Dodgers had the luxury of it happening early in the season. They had two months to allow Turner to work things out. This isn’t April and May. The Dodgers are engaged in a day-to-day battle with the Giants to secure the NL West, and they don’t have a month of ballgames to twiddle away until Reddick finds his swing.

The Dodgers are winning more than they’re losing – for now. But we are fast approaching the point of the season where every game is precious. The Dodgers play the second place Giants nine times over the final stretch. How important do you think those games will be? How big will one RBI or one lost inning be in each of those games?

As I mentioned in the article I wrote about Turner’s early season struggles (which we here at LADR credit with assisting Turner’s revival):

“We’ve all heard about one player’s bat meaning so much to a team – how one hitter can set the pace for everyone. If that’s true in a positive sense, then it must also be true as an opposite. One player, batting in a prime spot, and constantly failing, can set the tone for a game. He stops momentum, harms the dynamics of an inning, takes the enthusiasm out of the home crowd, and lifts the spirits of the opponent.”

Those words were true then for Turner, and they are just as true now for Josh Reddick.

You don’t have to take my word for it. The other day Bulldog Orel Hershiser talked about this after another non-productive out from Reddick. To paraphrase, Orel said at some point Reddick  will stop being a guy who is just pressing, and his failings will become “a thing”. Not only for him, but for his teammates as well. He said Reddick is approaching that point.

Bulldog as a TV announcer is the ultimate company man. He rarely says anything approaching criticism of the team, or an individual player. He puts a positive spin on almost everything the Dodgers do. To hear him speak so candidly about Reddick’s troubles, and how they may eventually affect his teammates was to me, incredible. Since Hershiser made those remarks, Reddick hasn’t improved one bit.

Josh Reddick went 0 for 4 yesterday, and stranded three RISP in a game the Dodgers lost by one run. The Dodgers cannot afford that non-performance to be repeated in clutch situations over and over down the stretch. Clean up hitters matter.

 

 

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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29 thoughts on “The Case Against Josh Reddick (batting clean up)

  1. I agree with you on Reddick. He should not bat fourth right now. He has hit some hard balls that have been hit right at someone. He has been unlucky. However, I would rather see him unlucky in the 8th spot. When he starts to hit, then move him again wherever he is needed. Good post.

  2. Oscar, you hit the nail on the head there buddy. Reddick is not and should not be classified as a POWER hitter. He is a nice piece, but not in the 4 hole. I guess he is probably pressing a little because this is his walk year. But to me that has always been a lame excuse. The guy should be hitting down in the order. If you want to get him pitches to hit, put your hottest hitter behind him. That means Turner, or Seager. Hell, try him in the leadoff spot so he does not feel the pressure to drive in runs, and give Chase a little break there.

    1. Michael
      Reddick should have got plenty of pitches to hit, in between Turner and Agone.

      Especially in this last series, the Phillies really don’t have
      great pitching.

      Your right on about Reddick not being a power hitter.

      He would be much better down in the line up, where pitchers, don’t pitch hitters, as toughly.

      I just don’t understand why Roberts would bat Reddick forth anyways.

      Lets all hope that Reddick gets a couple of hits tonight, so maybe Roberts, will finally move him down in the order.

      I don’t know why he would do that, but I don’t know why he is batting him forth either.

      It makes about the same sense.

  3. While I think Reddick is a good player, I agree, move him down in the order.

    There has to be alot of pressure just changing teams and wanting to make an impact with the new team. Look at Jay Bruce and Mets, .188 BA. Roberts should have batted him seventh or eighth while he acclimated himself.

    Oscar Martinez: “The Dodgers play the second place Giants nine times over the final stretch”. Second place Giants has a nice ring to it!!!

    1. Boxout 7
      At least Bruce has hit four HRs, and I believe Bruce even has a better average then Reddick, and Bruce doesn’t have a good batting average.

  4. I’ve seen Reddick play with the A’s a lot. He is injury prone, streaky, and swing and missable. Our scouts suck. Period. Reds are a hot team right now. It will be a tough series. Go Mets.

  5. Stripling had a solid strike to ball ratio last night. But a lot of pitches for the number of innings he threw. A bunch of foul balls? I didn’t see the game.

  6. If the best hitters should hit at the top of the lineup, here is that list post all star break:

    RK Player G AB OBP SLG OPS▼
    1 Turner 27 112 .383 .705 1.089
    2 Grandal 25 84 .406 .619 1.025
    3 Pederson 25 81 .404 .593 .997
    4 Seager 26 117 .382 .556 .938
    5 Kendrick 29 112 .395 .536 .931
    6 Gonzalez 29 111 .367 .514 .880
    10 Puig 9 31 .333 .387 .720
    18 Reddick 14 57 .213 .175 .389

    1. Bum
      It isn’t just the best hitter, for a month.

      You want players that hit consistently well, at the top of the order.

      Or the batting line up would be always changing, because it is a long season, and most hitters, have ebbs and flows

      1. MJ, its not that I disagree with you, its more about how you are using stats to make your case to move Reddick down. He hasn’t done well this last month but you say one month of stats should not be used to make out a lineup.

    1. We have probably scored more runs than anybody else in the league since he was installed in the cleanup spot. We just can’t see the relationship.

  7. Utley
    Kendrick
    Seager
    Turner
    Gonzalez
    Grandal
    Joc
    Reddick

    Or

    Utley
    Reddick
    Seager
    Turner
    Gonzalez
    Grandal
    Joc
    Kendrick

    I like both of those lineups better. I prefer the 1st one but the 2nd would take some pressure of Reddick and fit his skill set. Howie has been thriving in the 8 hole too.

    Vs lefties
    Kendrick
    Puig
    Seager
    Turner
    Gonzalez
    Grandal
    Joc
    Kike

    1. Hawkeye
      I don’t like giving more at bats to Reddick, then Cory or anyone in the top of the order.

      But I like your top line up.

  8. I find it interesting this concept that batting order is not important. I guess it’s the latest wave of modern baseball. I don’t agree with it just find it interesting.

    I asked about Etheir the other day. With Reddick’s woes, if he ever gets healthy it looks like RF would be open for him to reclaim.

  9. Why not ask DR and then let us know what he says. He is still the manager I think, and I’m sure a journalist like yourself has access to him, right.

  10. Oscar
    I agree with you about Reddick.

    Why is Reddick batting forth, when Agone is having a hot streak, and hitting with power?

    Also teams will pitch around Turner, to pitch to Reddick, if they are smart.

    And I think Turner is our most important hitter.

    Why would any team want to pitch to Turner, when they can pitch to Reddick?

    Reddick has not hit in a single run, since he came to the Dodgers.

    And that is hard to do, when your hitting fourth.

    Just last night, the player the Giants got at the trade deadline, hit in three runs, and that isn’t the only runs, that this player, has hit in for the Giants.

  11. Reddick hitting 4th again! Is Dave Roberts really that blind? He had better have a monster night because the wolves are really going to be at the door if he strands a bunch of runners again<

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