Yasiel Puig could be the Dodgers' leadoff hitter this year, manager Don Mattingly indicated this weekend. 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. Crawford, who won four American League base-stealing titles with Tampa Bay, was 15-for-19 stealing bases last year, and he missed one-quarter of the season with injuries that forced him to run cautiously when he was available. Puig, however, still has a lot to learn about base stealing. Although he finished second on the club to Crawford with 11 steals, he was caught a team-high eight times. But for Mattingly, it's hard to ignore Puig's .391 on-base percentage, second on the club only to Ramirez's .402.
Mattingly says Puig may take on leadoff role
MLB.com | Feb 4