Dodgers manager Don Mattingly announced that new shortstop Jimmy Rollins will be the team’s leadoff hitter, explaining: “We don’t truly have anyone else who fits in that role.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but whatever.
Rollins fits the old stereotype of a leadoff hitter because he’s a middle infielder with plus speed, but the problem is that he doesn’t actually get on base much.
Last season Rollins had a .323 on-base percentage and that was actually higher than his OBPs in 2012 and 2013. With that said, offense across baseball is down so much that NL leadoff men as a whole barely topped Rollins with a .327 OBP last season and Mattingly is right that the Dodgers lack an obvious leadoff candidate with great on-base skills unless they opt against using Yasiel Puig in the middle of the lineup.