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Jimmy Rollins will bat leadoff for Dodgers this season

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hasn't yet determined his full regular starting lineup, but said on Tuesday the lone secure spot is shortstop Jimmy Rollins batting leadoff.

"That's the one guy we are pretty sure about, Jimmy is that leadoff guy. We don't truly have anyone else who fits in that role," Mattingly said. "Jimmy has hit a lot of one, a lot of two, and I've seen him hit three, but on our club we look at Jimmy as that guy at the top."

Rollins, 36, has batted leadoff in 71.5 percent of his career starts, though the last two seasons in Philadelphia has seen him make more starts batting second (162) that first (82).

"There is a different approach, the way you approach the game. It's not like my batting style will change, but maybe what I'm trying to do will change a little bit," Rollins said. "It feels like the game starts later for you. I'm accustomed to being a leadoff hitter where you feel like you're thrown in the fire, and I like that feeling of going out there and leading the way. To be back there as of now, you feel like you're that fire starter again, like you'll be that spark plug to get things going."

Rollins will bat first for the Dodgers in their spring opener on Wednesday against the White Sox, with left fielder Carl Crawford hitting second.

The Dodgers acquired Rollins in December for minor league pitchers Tom Windle and Zach Eflin, after the shortstop spent 15 years in Philadelphia. Rollins stole 28 bases in 34 attempts last season, matching his average over the last four seasons.

"He gives a guy from both sides, he gives us a guy with speed. He profiles up there," Mattingly said. "He's the guy you can pretty much play every day, and he's a consistent guy up top."

Rollins hit .243/.323/.394 in 2014 with the Phillies, a 101 OPS+. It was his best on-base percentage in three years, above the National League on-base percentage (.312) and better than the non-pitcher NL on-base percentage (.320), but below the OBP for the leadoff spot (.326) in 2014.

"[Hitting leadoff] definitely fits my personality," Rollins said. "I don't mind that pressure of needing to set the table. That spot, I just like it. I don't know why."

The projections for Rollins' on-base percentage in 2015 range from .302 (PECOTA) to .305 (ZiPS and Steamer) to .311 (Bill James).

Mattingly said he would have discussions about the rest of the lineup later during spring training.

"We truly have not sat down. I really do want to hear from Farhan [Zaidi] and how he looks at it, how Andrew [Friedman] looks at it, what their thinking is. We just haven't gotten to it," Mattingly said. "There are so many things we are doing, [the lineup] not one of the areas we are concerned about."