By Jon Weisman
Mostly lost amid the Corey Seager hoopla is that his wizened teammate, 23-year-old Joc Pederson, is finishing his season strong.
Pederson has a .436 on-base percentage and .531 slugging percentage in September, good for a .967 OPS — his best in a calendar month since April. Over the past week, he is 7 for 14 with a homer, double and walk, while striking out four times.
Plate discipline? Since August 1, Pederson has walked 28 times and struck out 29, compared with 62 walks/125 strikeouts from April through July (including four walks and 31 strikeouts in July alone). Of his seven walks this month, one has been with two out and the pitcher on deck.
For those concerned about Pederson’s batting average, it’s at .313 in September. Already, he has 10 hits this month, four more than he had in all of August, when he batted .120.
Pederson is having better luck on balls in play, with a .364 BABIP in September (by far his highest since April) compared with a .143 BABIP in August. Split the difference between those BABIPs and make it .254 for both months, and Pederson’s batting average would have been .180 in August and .250 in September.
The center fielder is in the starting lineup today against Arizona left-hander Patrick Corbin, his first start against a southpaw since facing San Francisco’s Madison Bumgarner on September 1, when Pederson hit two hard flyouts and then homered.