Amed Rosario helping Dodgers bolster their ‘platoon advantage’ vs. left-handers

Amed Rosario smiles after hitting a double during the fourth inning of his Dodgers debut Friday.
Amed Rosario smiles after hitting a double during the fourth inning of his Dodgers debut Friday in a 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Dodger Stadium.
(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)
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The Dodgers lineup looked drastically different for Friday night’s 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in Chavez Ravine than it did just four days ago.

At shortstop was Amed Rosario, who was acquired from the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday. In center field was Kiké Hernández, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. At second base was Miguel Rojas, who made all 64 of his previous starts for the Dodgers this season at shortstop.

Armed with two more platoon options than he began the week with, manager Dave Roberts plans to employ his new right-handed bats liberally over the final two months of the season, starting with Friday night’s alignment against Reds left-hander Brandon Williamson.


Amid continuing talks with the Cardinals about Nolan Arenado, the Dodgers could potentially be interested in acquiring Justin Verlander from the Mets.

July 28, 2023

“I feel confident in saying that we have five guys in the lineup who are platoon-neutral,” Roberts said, referring to Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, J.D. Martinez and Max Muncy. “So then you’re looking at, essentially, seven or eight other guys that, on a given night, we feel we can match up in a platoon advantage.”

The Dodgers entered Friday night with a .229 average and .770 on-base-plus-slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers, the former figure the third-worst in baseball and the latter the ninth-best. They ranked 10th with a .254 average and third with a .797 OPS against right-handers.

The right-handed-hitting Rosario, 27, could help. The seven-year veteran hit .265 with three homers, 40 RBIs and a below-league-average .675 OPS in 94 games for the Guardians this season but hit .303 with an .822 OPS against left-handers.

Rosario opened the fourth inning Friday night with a double to left-center field off Williamson and scored on a Rojas RBI single. He also hit a two-out RBI single off right-hander Ian Gibaut to cap a three-run seventh inning in his Dodgers debut.

“He’s been good against right-handed pitching, but he’s been a killer against lefties,” Roberts said, “and that’s something that we want to capture.”

The speedy Rosario may be a better offensive option against right-handers than the light-hitting Rojas (.221, .547 OPS), but Rojas is the superior defender of the two.

Amed Rosario singles during the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Rojas entered Friday with nine defensive runs saved, according to Fangraphs, ranking third behind Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco (15) and the Chicago Cubs’ Dansby Swanson (10).

Rosario, who committed 11 errors in 774 innings with the Guardians, ranks last among 21 qualifying shortstops with -15 defensive runs saved and -15 outs above average, prompting Cleveland manager Terry Francona to use rookie shortstop Gabriel Arias as a defensive replacement in later innings.

Rosario bobbled TJ Friedl’s fifth-inning grounder but was able to throw to first in time for the out Friday. He made a nice play on Joey Votto’s 103.5-mph grounder in the eighth, sliding on his left knee for a backhand grab and making a long throw to first for the out.

“I haven’t seen much of him this year,” Roberts said. “Last year, I heard it was pretty solid at short. This year, he’s taken a step back. I don’t know the answer [as to why].”

Roberts said he started Rosario at shortstop Friday because it’s the position he has played the most and it would “ease his transition to a new club.” But he said the plan is for Rosario to play some center field and to “get acclimated” at second base, with Rojas and Chris Taylor getting the majority of starts at shortstop.


The Dodgers reacquire reliever Joe Kelly and add starter Lance Lynn from the White Sox as the team fortifies its pitching staff ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline.

July 28, 2023

Rosario has never played second base — or third base — in the big leagues and has made only 14 starts in center field and six in left field.

“He’s a tremendous athlete,” Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes said. “He did grade out really well [defensively] last year, so it’s a bet on his true talent, our coaching staff getting with him.

“He’s been incredibly open to saying, ‘Hey, I’m willing to come in and help you guys any way possible.’ So seeing how he fits in on the infield, some in the outfield, just gives us options that we like.”

Hernández will bounce around the diamond like he did in his first stint with the Dodgers, and so will Taylor and Rosario. The majority of the trio’s starts will come against left-handers.

“I think we’re getting deeper — that’s the most important part,” Rojas said. “When you’ve been playing shortstop for the last couple of years, it’s really hard to move to another position, but it’s something I have to do.

“I think I have more experience than Amed now, playing second base. Maybe Kiké can play second as well. But tonight he’s playing center. So it’s going to be a dynamic rotation. I feel like the playing time is always going to be there if you continue to do good.”


The left-handed-hitting James Outman, Jason Heyward and David Peralta will start in the outfield against right-handers, with Betts moving from right field to second base or shortstop.

The Dodgers acquired Kiké Hernández and Amed Rosario ahead of the MLB trade deadline, and St. Louis Cardinals standout Nolan Arenado is on their radar.

July 27, 2023

Roberts will be able to turn over his lineup in several spots when a left-handed starter is replaced by a right-hander, and vice versa. Peralta and Outman came off the bench Friday night and sparked a three-run rally with a ground-rule double and a walk.

The odd man out could be Outman, who is batting .303 with a .761 OPS against left-handers and .233 with a .774 OPS against right-handers and rebounded from two rough months to hit .323 with a .940 OPS, three homers and nine RBIs in his first 19 games in July.

“As we sit here today, James Outman, who has had a great second half, is not playing against a left-hander,” Roberts said before the game. “So it’s just understanding and appreciating that I use the whole roster, and you have to be ready when called upon.

“For Kiké and Amed to be here and not playing against a lefty doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for me right now.”

Staff writer Jack Harris contributed to this report.