It is no secret that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been proponents of platoons the last handful of years, mainly because their depth has allowed them to do so.
One player who fell victim to strategy in the second half of both the 2017 and 2018 seasons was right fielder Yasiel Puig, although despite being right-handed, his reverse splits had him on the bench against left-handed pitchers.
Puig is no longer with the Dodgers after being traded to the Cincinnati Reds last December along with Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer.
In the final year of his contract, Puig is expected to get an opportunity to play every day for the Reds this season, which he is looking forward to, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I’m supposed to play every day,” Puig said. “All my teammates know, my coaches know, and everybody knows when I play every day, and I have more opportunities, I can do what I do, and what I’m supposed to do. Like I do in the playoffs and the World Series.
“But I’m not the manager. I don’t make the decisions. I can’t do nothing about that.”
It is understandable that Puig wants to play against both right- and left-handed pitching, and he is correct that he homered off southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez in Game 4 of the World Series this past year.
But the Dodgers’ decision to platoon Puig the last two years was also valid considering the stats he put up in the regular season.
In 2017, Puig had a .909 on-base plus slugging percentage in 425 plate appearances against righties compared to .592 in 145 plate appearances against lefties. He followed that up in 2018 by posting a .921 OPS (291 plate appearances) against righties and .628 OPS (153 plate appearances) against lefties, which are some pretty drastic splits.
With the addition of A.J. Pollock and return of Corey Seager, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently said the plan is to platoon less in 2019, although that can obviously change if a player posts drastic splits like Puig in the first half of the season.