Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Tag: Joc Pederson (Page 1 of 10)

What it means for the Dodgers if they land Manny Machado

Manny Machado’s career statistics (click to enlarge)

Vin Scully and Manny Machado, 2016
(New York Times)

The flame of Manny Machado is lighting the Dodger rumor mill on fire, as noted last week, and today has only fueled the speculation — though as always, you should note that nearly every rumor blows in with its own agenda.

But all the heavy petting still has me wondering about the domino effect of a Machado acquisition on a Dodger lineup that has so many moving parts.

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Joc Pederson and the persistence of impatience

Since his rookie season in 2015, Joc Pederson has cut his strikeout rate in half and then some.
(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Joc Pederson is dead center in the unfriend zone for many Dodger fans, and while it’s not at all hard to see how he got there, it still raises some points for conversation.

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So many Dodger thoughts,
so little time

Dodgers Instagram

When you don’t post daily about the Dodgers, a lot builds up. So here’s a stream of thoughts that have crossed my mind in the final days before Spring Training ends and Opening Day arrives for the Dodgers …

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With or without Matt Kemp, Dodgers stacked in left field

If the Dodgers had nothing more than a platoon of Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson entering the season, I’d be fine with the Dodgers in left field.

In a typical Dodger batting order, left field might basically be the No. 7 spot. If Logan Forsythe bounced back from his 2017 struggles at the plate, the left fielder could bat as low as eighth.

Chris Taylor, CF
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Cody Bellinger, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Austin Barnes/Yasmani Grandal, C
TBD, LF
Logan Forsythe, 2B

You don’t want left field to be a black hole in the lineup — certainly, by the time the postseason race heats up, you don’t want any black holes in the lineup. But entering the season, the Dodgers are in fine shape with Hernández, who in his career has an .883 OPS with 19 homers in 382 at-bats against left-handed pitching, and Pederson, who has OPSed .823 against righties with 54 homers in 953 at-bats (23 homers per 400 at-bats).

Each player has gone through an extended slump in his career, but both recalibrated by last October — in the glare of the postseason, no less. And, both Hernández and Pederson will be 26 years old for most of the season. It might seem like they’ve been around for a while, but they’re just entering prime time.

In particular, Pederson is a buy-low candidate. His contact rate has improved each of the past three years. His on-base percentage was a career-worst .331 in 2017, but his batting average on balls in play (.241) was the unluckiest of his three full seasons in the majors. In his poorest year, Pederson’s OBP was only .023 behind Chris Taylor in Taylor’s best year.

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Brewers make splash, but Dodgers already swimming

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

The signings of Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner still count. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

If this offseason, the Dodgers followed up their National League pennant by signing free agents Rich Hill through 2019, Justin Turner through 2020 and Kenley Jansen through 2021 (not to mention adding a 39-homer-hitting first baseman in the process), everyone would be saying it was a huge haul.

That’s not an argument to stand pat for the sake of standing pat — nor is it to deny that a trade for a certain Miami outfielder had its appeal — but don’t think less of the Dodgers because they got a big part of their homework done a year ago.

And I have to say, I like the mix the Dodgers have for their outfield right now. Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernández, Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo all have considerable upside, with only Taylor arguably playing over his head in 2017.

Pederson, who won’t turn 26 until April, might well have had the same growth experience last summer that Puig had in 2016. Through the end of July, Pederson had a .359 on-base percentage, .481 slugging percentage and .840 OPS with a career-low strikeout rate, statistics that got lost in the shuffle when he hit the August skids. Then he came back and delivered an 1.186 OPS in 26 playoff plate appearances.

As an alternative platoon partner to Hernández, Verdugo had a .389 on-base percentage for Triple-A Oklahoma City, ninth in the Pacific Coast League (despite being its second youngest player), walked more than he struck out and boasts a plus arm. And before he ripped his knee ligament trying to preserve a Julio Urías no-hitter in April, Toles was tied for the Dodger team lead with five homers.

All due credit to Milwaukee, which led the NL Central at the All-Star Break and finished with 86 wins last year. By acquiring Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain in one afternoon, the Brewers have definitely made their 2018 a lot more interesting.

But it’s not nothing that the Dodgers are adding Verdugo and Toles to an outfield that, following Toles’ injury, won 95 games without them. In adjusted OPS last year, the Dodgers finished second in the NL (behind now-depleted Miami) with an offense whose two oldest starters were only 30 and 32. You always look to improve, but they remain in good shape.

Video: Who was the most underrated Dodger in 2016?

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By Jon Weisman

Late in October on Twitter, I asked folks whom they would pick for the most underrated Dodger of 2016.

It was a doubly subjective exercise, integrating not only your own perception of Dodger players but your belief in how others feel as well.

From the dozen or so nominees, I picked out the four with the most mentions and put them in a decidedly unscientific poll, narrowly won by Joe Blanton.

Blanton was a fine choice, but my own vote went to Joc Pederson. In this video (edited and produced for Dodger Insider by Julian Gooden) I explain why. Enjoy …

Comeback ended on mound, but sparked with Joc

joc-pumped

By Jon Weisman

A year ago this week, Joc Pederson was nearly a ghost in the National League Division series, left with little more than his ability to let pitches go by him.

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Several sizzled in September for Dodgers

Dodgers at Giants, 1:05 p.m.
Kershaw CCLXIII: Kershawcadia
Howie Kendrick, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
Corey Seager, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Chase Utley, 2B
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Though the 2016 regular season isn’t officially over, the month of September is, a month in which several Dodger bats delivered.

Joc Pederson led the National League in slugging percentage (.702) last month and finished second in OPS (1.154) and fourth in on-base percentage (.452). Pederson led the Dodgers with seven homers and 15 walks.

Over to Pederson’s left — in right field — were two strong hitters. Josh Reddick rallied from a dismal August to tie for the NL lead in batting average (.400), alongside a .435 OBP and .569 slugging percentage. Reddick was due, to say the least — his batting average on balls in play went from .194 in August to .429 in September.

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Dodgers lock in 25-homer quartet in loss to Padres

Andrew Toles congratulates Joc Pederson on his 25th homer of the year. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Andrew Toles congratulates Joc Pederson on his 25th homer of the year. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

Jose De León got overwhelmed by the Hunter Renfroe Express, but Ross Stripling continued to look like a postseason pitcher, even though Stripling was charged with the Dodgers’ 6-5 loss to San Diego.

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A Hill of beans in this crazy world

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Dodgers at Marlins, 10:10 a.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Corey Seager, SS
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Andre Ethier, LF
Howie Kendrick, 3B
Kenta Maeda, P

By Jon Weisman

I guess my wife and I picked the wrong day to take the family to Disneyland.

Exactly 51 years and one day after Sandy Koufax threw the last perfect game by a Dodger pitcher, Rich Hill nearly did the same (in a 5-0 Dodger victory). And in the process, he became the first Dodger pitcher since Hiroki Kuroda in 2008 to throw seven perfect innings — and the first ever to do so without facing another batter.

The controversy arose from the latter fact. In the overnight chatter since Hill was removed, many have had a chance to weigh in, and so with the Dodgers’ next game already about to start, I’m just going to highlight a few points …

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Homer-happy Dodgers make it rain against Greinke

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Adrián González, Corey Seager and Yasmani Grandal hit three of the Dodgers’ five homers. (Photos: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Image-1-2By Jon Weisman

In distance, they measured 2,025 feet. On the Richter scale, they might as well have been a 10.

Zack Greinke, the darling of Dodger Stadium for three seasons, was punished in his former home like a Rock’Em Sock’Em Robot.

Five home runs off Greinke — a career-high, including four in the fifth inning — shook Chavez Ravine and sent the Dodgers to a 10-2 victory over Arizona tonight.

With San Francisco shut out in Colorado today, Los Angeles leads the National League West by a season-high four games.

The Dodgers’ five leaders in home runs each took Greinke deep — Adrián González (17) with a man on base in the fourth inning, followed by Joc Pederson (20), Corey Seager (24, with two aboard), Justin Turner (25) and feature creature Yasmani Grandal (24).

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Dodger offense on record pace since All-Star Break

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Dodgers at Phillies, 4:05 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Justin Turner, 3B
Josh Reddick, RF
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Howie Kendrick, LF
Ross Stripling, P

By Jon Weisman

The Dodger offense has been sensational over the past several weeks, and part of the reason for this post, believe it or not, is to remind people (OK, me) that they can’t stay this hot forever.

Right now, the Dodgers have an .814 OPS since the All-Star Break, which is 30 points higher than the Los Angeles record for second-half OPS of .784 by the 2008 Dodgers. In franchise history, only the 1953 Dodgers have had a higher OPS after the All-Star Game.

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González provides sock, Dodgers’ lead hops

Adrian Gonzalez connects for a three-run home run in the fourth inning. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

Adrian Gonzalez connects for a three-run home run in the fourth inning. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

By Jon Weisman

Just like Tuesday, the Dodgers erased a 1-0 midgame deficit tonight with one swing of the bat.

It’s a fine formula.

Tonight’s hero was Adrián González, who — doing his best Howie Kendrick — hit a lead-changing homer in the fourth inning, and then — doing his best Chase Utley — hit his second homer of the night in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 7-2 victory over Philadelphia.

Los Angeles now leads the National League West by 1 1/2 games, their biggest margin since April 26. The Dodgers have gained 9 1/2 games on the Giants in 52 days.

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Dodgers weather McCarthy’s troubles in 8-4 win

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By Jon Weisman

There are more questions about Brandon McCarthy, but at least the Dodgers had multiple answers for their two-game losing streak.

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Dodgers activate Pederson, send Ryu back to DL

Los Angeles Dodgers against the Washington Nationals

Dodgers at Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
Chase Utley, 2B
Howie Kendrick, LF
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrián González, 1B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, CF
Chris Taylor, SS
Scott Kazmir, P

By Jon Weisman

Joc Pederson has been activated from the 15-day disabled list, but the Dodgers are placing pitchers Hyun-Jin Ryu and Casey Fien on the 15-day disabled list, each with elbow tendonitis.

Luis Avilan is returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Fien’s roster spot.

Ryu was scheduled to start for the Dodgers at Washington on Wednesday. He allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings July 7, in his first start since 2014.

The Dodgers haven’t announced a replacement starter for Wednesday. Bud Norris is scheduled to start on regular rest for Thursday’s day game. Clayton Kershaw doesn’t have an announced return date yet.

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