Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Joc Pederson (Page 4 of 11)

In case you missed it: Injured pitchers look to regroup

https://www.instagram.com/p/BCdXwharEF1/?taken-by=dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Was it the Dodger Insider jinx for Brett Anderson?

Anderson was scheduled for tests on his lower back today, after tweaking it at the end of live batting practice Tuesday (the day he was profiled here), according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.

At least temporarily, Anderson becomes one of two 28-year-old lefties on the Dodger sidelines. Hyun-Jin Ryu is taking some extra time between bullpen sessions, reports Gurnick.

“There’s definitely no pain,” Ryu said. “A little typical soreness. I’m very happy and satisfied with the timetable.”

Meanwhile, the Dodgers said that right-hander Josh Ravin is expected to return in eight to 12 weeks following Tuesday’s surgery on his broken left radius.

What else can I tell you?

Andre Ethier slides into third safely during today's situational game.

Andre Ethier slides into third safely during today’s situational game.

  • In a prelude to Thursday’s Cactus League opener, the Dodgers played a situational game in which they fielded two teams and played out all kinds of different batting and fielding scenarios. If you’re curious, I streamed some video of the first inning on Periscope.
  • Clayton Kershaw is expected to go two innings in Thursday’s Spring Training debut, unless he has a particularly long first inning, Dave Roberts said.
  • Dodger hitting coach Turner Ward spoke to Gurnick about Joc Pederson — and to Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt about Ward.
  • The balancing act that is Julio Urias’ innings load as he develops into a Major Leaguer is examined by Dylan Hernandez of the Times.
  • Earlier this week, Hernandez spoke to Kershaw, among others, about the state of Yasiel Puig.
  • The Dodgers lead the Major Leagues in players projected to be worth at least one win above replacement this year, according to Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs.

Yasiel Puig’s 96 mph fastball — from right field

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Just how strong is Yasiel Puig’s arm?

This week at MLB.com, MLB Statcast analyst Mike Petriello wrote about the top outfield arms in baseball. His methodology in brief appears at the end of this post. I followed up by asking Statcast for some numbers specific to the Dodgers, and here’s what I got:

  • 96.0 mph — Yasiel Puig
  • 90.8 mph — Joc Pederson
  • 90.5 mph — Scott Van Slyke
  • 88.5 mph — Alex Guerrero
  • 88.2 mph — Kiké Hernandez
  • 87.7 mph — Andre Ethier
  • 79.7 mph — Carl Crawford

Puig was 2.6 mph behind Houston’s Jake Marsinick, the top outfield arm in the Majors. Here’s a 99.4 mph throw that Puig made at Houston in August:

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In case you missed it: Pulling Puig’s teeth

Dave Roberts speaks to the team today during first full-squad meeting of the year.

Dave Roberts speaks to the team today during first full-squad meeting of the year.

By Jon Weisman

On the day TMZ rumored that Yasiel Puig was getting the world’s greatest helicopter, the Dodger outfielder’s chopper concerns were much more down to earth. Like so many of us have, Puig went through the rite of passage of having his wisdom teeth removed Tuesday.

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Puig’s jaw remained swollen today. It’s hoped he’ll return to baseball activity Friday.

Meanwhile, sink your pearly whites into these morsels…

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In case you missed it: Putting the sock back in Joc


By Jon Weisman

The full Dodger squad, minus newly signed Yaisel Sierra, fell into place on what appeared to be a beautiful day a Camelback Ranch. Here’s the latest news and notes …

  • There’s few Spring Training pieces more timely than a systematic look at what went wrong for Joc Pederson in the second half of 2015. Bill Plunkett of the Register talked to Pederson and several people within the Dodger organization for his story.
  • Chase Utley’s hard edge as a competitor doesn’t leave much room for friendships with rivals, but when he’s on your side, there are few better, according to this profile by Andy McCullough of the Times. “I went from being scared to death of him,” A.J. Ellis said, “to loving being his teammate.”

Greg Maddux helping me play sports. Via @jon.soohoo

A post shared by Brett Anderson (@brettanderson46) on

  • New special assistant to president of baseball operations Greg Maddux is spending all of Spring Training at Camelback, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. Before taking that position, Maddux received an inquiry from his former Braves colleague, Dodger president and CEO Stan Kasten, about whether he might want to be part of the Dodger managerial search last fall.
  • Eric Gagne is also at Camelback as a guest instrutor, notes Gurnick.
  • The Dodgers said it earlier this winter, after the trade with the Reds and White Sox that did not bring Todd Frazier to Los Angeles, but today it was reiterated by Dave Roberts that the team plans for Justin Turner to remain at third base and Corey Seager at shortstop in 2016, rather than moving around the diamond. Kiké Hernandez is currently the backup shortstop.
  • Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has a humorous recap of Brandon McCarthy’s throwing session today.
  • MLB is hosting an its annual Honorary Bat Girl Contest, “which will recognize one fan from each MLB club who has been affected by breast cancer and has demonstrated a commitment to battling the disease.” Dodger pitcher Scott Kazmir will be one of the guest judges. Entries are being taken through April 14. Click for more details.
  • How does the Dodger video production team set up shop at Camelback? Very quickly, and with lots of hashtags …

Dodgers Love L.A.: And here come the pretzels

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By Jon Weisman

Day 4 of the Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour (presented by Bank of America) was comfortably comestible, with Dodgers Kiké Hernandez, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson and Justin Turner giving away Dodger dogs and pretzels in downtown Los Angeles.

https://twitter.com/Dodgers/status/692803696271314946

Pretzel man Justin Turner, by the way, was just labeled the fifth-best third baseman in MLB right now, by MLB Network.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BBGgu66LEKT/

Los Angeles Dodgers Love LA Tour at Wetzels Pretzels at Union Station

While there, Pederson spoke to MLB.com about Dave Roberts and the upcoming season.

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For more images from the day, visit LA Photo Blog.

Earlier in the day, Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization (and, oh yeah, Dodger legend) Fernando Valenzuela was on a White House conference call to discuss the launch of the White House Regional Convenings on New Americans, aimed at assisting local immigrant and refugee efforts.

“It’s a great honor for me to be here, to be a citizen and a Presidential Ambassador,” said Valenzuela. “In this role, I want to share with the United States and the city of Los Angeles the many rights that come with being a citizen. I’m excited to get to vote in my first presidential election. It’s important for the Los Angeles community to know how important it is to vote.”

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The Dodgers Love L.A. Tour heads to City Hall this morning, to see if Vin Scully Avenue becomes officially official.

Dodgers offseason update from Andrew Friedman

Tommy Lasorda, one of the people not interviewing for the Dodger managerial opening, with Andrew Friedman. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Tommy Lasorda, who is not interviewing for the Dodger managerial opening, speaks with Andrew Friedman in August. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

OK, so the Dodgers have no new manager or head trainer yet, no new free-agent signings or trades to announce, nothing locked down for the coaching staff.

But with the MLB General Managers meetings underway today through Thursday, Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman spoke to reporters to provide an offseason update. Here’s a sample of what was said …

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Awards season begins with nods for Greinke, Gonzalez

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Zack Greinke was named a 2015 National League All-Star by The Sporting News and a finalist for the Gold Glove Award by Rawlings.

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is the Dodgers’ other Gold Glove finalist, competing against San Francisco’s Brandon Belt and Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt. Gonzalez is a four-time Gold Glove winner, including 2014.

Greinke, who led the Major Leagues in adjusted ERA and WHIP, also finished fourth in the balloting for Sporting News MLB Player of the Year, behind Toronto’s Josh Donaldson, Washington’s Bryce Harper and Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, who had 43 votes to Greinke’s 40.

Joc Pederson tied Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber for fourth in the vote for Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year, after the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, San Francisco’s Matt Duffy and Pittsburgh’s Jung Ho Kang.

Andre Ethier was fifth in the Sporting News balloting for NL Comeback Player of the Year, won by Mets pitcher Matt Harvey.

Arrieta and Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole are the other NL pitcher finalists for the Gold Glove, which Greinke previously won last year.

Gold Glove selection and voting criteria can be found here.

Eight storylines for 2016 you can ponder now

Ryu Pederson

By Jon Weisman

It’s no secret that this will be another offseason of change for the Dodgers.

Already, manager Don Mattingly and vice president of medical services Stan Conte have departed. Five days after the World Series ends — sometime before November 10 — free agency begins. And you never know what the trade market will bring or take away.

The winter months will address several issues facing the Dodgers. But whatever happens will still leave several questions that won’t be answered until we’re well into the 2016 season.

Among them, these:

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NLDS Game 5 lineups: Dodgers emphasize defense with Hernandez, Pederson, Grandal

Dodgers
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Andre Ethier, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Kiké Hernandez, LF
Joc Pederson, CF
Zack Greinke, P
Mets
Curtis Granderson, RF
David Wright, 3B
Daniel Murphy, 2B
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Lucas Duda, 1B
Travis d’Arnaud, C
Michael Conforto, LF
Wilmer Flores, SS
Jacob deGrom, P
Juan Ocampo and Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson (Juan Ocampo and Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Rather than choose between Kiké Hernandez and Joc Pederson for the outfield, the Dodgers have gone with both.

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Joc Pederson looks to extend Coors Field homer streak

Joc Pederson watches his three-run home run off Christian Friedrich of the Rockies on June 1. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Joc Pederson watches his three-run home run off Christian Friedrich of the Rockies on June 1. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Dodgers at Rockies, 5:10 p.m.
Chase Utley, 3B
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Andre Ethier, RF
Carl Crawford, LF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

This probably won’t shock you, but the Dodgers’ .949 OPS at Coors Field this year is their highest at any ballpark.

By comparison, the Dodgers have a .747 OPS at Dodger Stadium.

It will be interesting to see how Joc Pederson (1.417 OPS at Coors Field) does this weekend. You might recall that the center fielder homered in all four games the Dodgers played in Denver from June 1-3. Since then, Pederson has eight homers in 282 at-bats.

No other Dodger has homered more than once in the Dodgers’ first six games at Coors, but the team has a .402 on-base percentage and .548 slugging percentage there in 2015, with 24 extra-base hits and 31 walks.

Pedersons cap ‘Live Like a Champ’ motto with hat sales for a good cause

Champ Hats by New Era Press Conference

By Claire Miller

Joc Pederson goes by the mantra: “Live like a champ.” The phrase, coined by older brother Tyger and inspired by oldest brother Champ (who has Down syndrome) means live life to the fullest and don’t take anything for granted. No matter what you’re going through, pick your head up and live like a champ.

To help spread the Pederson family philosophy, Joc Pederson teamed up with New Era to design an exclusive Dodger hat featuring the family motto, with 31% of the sales benefiting Best Buddies, the charity of Pederson’s choice dedicated to supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“(Our family) wouldn’t be who we are without Champ,” Joc said. “He kind of brings us all together. This is just somewhat a small thing that is going to bring us closer, and Best Buddies is a great cause.”

Senior vice president of corporate partnerships Michael Young hopes this will be the beginning of a trend. Depending on the success of the sales, the “Live Like a Champ” hat could pave the way for more exclusive hats helping other worthy causes.

The “Live Like a Champ hat” is now on sale exclusively at Dodger Stadium in the Right Field Plaza New Era store on game days, while supplies last.

Seager’s blast lifts Dodgers to rookie homer record

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By Jon Weisman

Corey Seager’s fourth-inning home run tonight was the 47th by a Dodger rookie this year, setting a franchise record.

Dodger rookies who have homered this year include Joc Pederson (25), Alex Guerrero (11), Kiké Hernandez (6), Scott Schebler (3) and Seager (2).

The previous record was shared by the 1960 Dodgers — Frank Howard (23), Tommy Davis (11), Norm Sherry (8), Willie Davis (2), Bob Aspromonte (1), Doug Camilli (1) — and the 1958 Dodgers — John Roseboro (14), Dick Gray (9), Joe Pignatano (9), Don Demeter (5), Norm Larker (4), Ron Fairly (2), Frank Howard (1), Bob Lillis (1), Stan Williams (1).

Seager’s homer gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead, one they extended to 6-1 in the seventh. That was mighty fine for Zack Greinke, who retired 11 batters in a row after allowing a fourth-inning homer to Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. Greinke himself sacrificed, singled and doubled (and scored) in three plate appearances tonight, raising his batting average to .234.

Update: Greinke left the game after allowing a single and walk to start the eighth. With one out, Starling Marte singled home a run off Chris Hatcher, raising Greinke’s ERA from 1.60 to 1.65. But Hatcher got a huge out by getting Andrew McCutchen to foul out, and when Aramis Ramirez grounded out, the Dodgers retained a 6-2 lead.

Update 2: Kenley Jansen closed out the victory with a four-batter save, lowering the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch the National League West to nine. In San Francisco, Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs (one earned) in eight innings and left trailing, 2-0. The Giants had one inning left to rally.

Update 3: San Francisco lost, reducing the Dodgers’ magic number to eight with 16 games to play.

‘Weird’ lineup features youngest Dodger cleanup hitter in more than 50 years

Colorado Rockies vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Rockies at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Austin Barnes, 2B
Chase Utley, 1B
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Chris Heisey, RF
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Even by the Dodgers’ ever-fluctuating standards, this is not the usual starting lineup.

Don Mattingly himself called it “weird,” and said he knew it would be that way by the time he left Dodger Stadium and the 16-inning marathon behind in the wee hours of the night. Among others, Mattingly was looking to rest Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner, who each played the entire game. And the Dodgers are still battling several injuries, including players not on the disabled list such as Scott Van Slyke and Jose Peraza.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s lineup, one through nine:

  • Austin Barnes, 2B: Taking it from the top, this is the 25-year-old catcher’s first MLB game batting leadoff or at second base. In the minors, Barnes has played 150 games at second base, though none since 2014. He is the first Dodger to play catcher, third base and second since Trent Hubbard in 1998-99, and the first to do it in the same season since Derrel Thomas in 1980. Barnes’ RBI single Tuesday lifted his on-base percentage as a Dodger to .375 in 25 plate appearances.
  • Chase Utley, 1B: In 13 seasons, the 36-year-old Utley has 31 career games (24 starts) at first base, most recently August 10 for the Phillies at Arizona. In 220 1/3 innings, he has been charged with one error.
  • Justin Ruggiano, LF: Ruggiano has become a familiar face in left field, and has a .393 OBP/.846 slugging percentage in 28 plate appearances as a Dodger, even after following his leadoff double Tuesday with six consecutive outs. But this is only his 11th career start as a No. 3 hitter, and first since April 9, 2014 for the Cubs against Pittsburgh.
  • Corey Seager, SS: Seager is batting cleanup in his 13th Major League game. Other Dodgers, most recently Yasiel Puig, Scott Van Slyke and even John Lindsey, have batted cleanup sooner, but the Dodgers haven’t had a starting cleanup hitter younger than Seager (21 years, 142 days) since Derrell Griffith (20 years, 294 days) in 1964. Before Griffith, there wasn’t a younger starting Dodger cleanup hitter since Duke Snider in 1947. With Jimmy Rollins still unable to play defense for several days, Seager will continue to see action.
  • A.J. Ellis, C: Ellis’ start in the No. 5 slot Tuesday was his first in nearly two years. He hasn’t started back-to-back days as a No. 5 hitter since May 14-15, 2013.
  • Alex Guerrero, 3B: Guerrero, who has a single, double and walk in seven plate appearances this month, is starting at third base for the 14th time this year and first time since August 8 at Pittsburgh.
  • Chris Heisey, RF: Ruggiano, Seager and Heisey (who had RBI in the seventh and 11th innings Monday) were the only three Dodgers to play all 16 innings. None was in the organization three weeks ago.
  • Joc Pederson, CF: Pederson, who had reached base in nine consecutive starts before going 0 for 2 Monday, has played 87 percent of the Dodgers’ innings in center field this year. Only Gonzalez (90 percent) has a higher percentage of the team’s innings at one position in 2015.
  • Alex Wood, P: In Wood’s Major League debut on May 30, 2013, he batted third, entering the game in Justin Upton’s slot in a ninth-inning double switch.

In case you missed it: Adrian Gonzalez the sportsman

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By Jon Weisman

During the day Monday, Adrian Gonzalez was named the Dodgers’ nominee for the 2015 Roberto Clemente Award, which honors “a player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.”

Lately, Gonzalez has needed to display a great deal of sportsmanship alongside athleticism to come away foul balls. First there was the one in Chicago involving a Wrigley Field fan holding a baby. Then came Monday night’s fifth-inning foul ball, which Gonzalez caught despite a Boston-capped fan nearly tearing Gonzalez’s glove off.

Gonzalez not only came away triumphant on that play, he made a nifty defensive stab to record the final out of the Dodgers’ 4-1 victory over the Rockies.

Clayton Kershaw won the award in 2012, and Jimmy Rollins shared the honor with Paul Konerko in 2014.

Here are some other bits and bunts …

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  • Chef Dave Pearson, who passed away Saturday, received a tribute Monday before the National Anthem.
  • According to Stats LLC (via the Dodgers’ public relations department), the Dodgers’ 35-10 (.778) record in home games decided by three or fewer runs is currently the second-best in MLB history, behind only the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (35-9, .795).
  • Called upon to save Monday’s game with Kenley Jansen requiring a day off, Chris Hatcher did the trick, lowering his ERA to 1.35 since coming off the disabled list August 15. In 13 1/3 innings, he has struck out 16 and allowed 13 baserunners.
  • Yasmani Grandal ended his 0-for-36 (with eight walks) slump Monday with two hits, which themselves followed a sacrifice fly.
  • Fan voting has begun for the Esurance MLB Awards. Dodger nominees include Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw for Best Major Leaguer and Best Starting Pitcher (Kershaw won both in 2014), and Joc Pederson for Best Rookie. Many more categories will follow between now and when voting ends November 13. (Five different groups of voters — fans, members of the baseball media, club front-office personnel, former MLB players and Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members — each count for 20 percent of the total.) T
  • The Institute for Baseball Studies is presenting, “The Dodgers Come to Los Angeles: Politics and Pennants in Paradise,” featuring Andy McCue and Wes Parker, at 7:00 p.m. September 27 at Villalobos Hall on the campus of Whittier College.
  • Justin Turner, nominated for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award last week, is now a finalist, representing the National League West. Kershaw won last year.
  • I’ve seen some hard foul balls in my time, but I’m amazed this one Monday didn’t do some real damage to someone.

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Joc Pederson’s solid September

Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Diego Padres

Dodgers at Diamondbacks, 1:10 p.m.
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Jose Peraza, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Scott Van Slyke, RF
Corey Seager, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Joc Pederson, CF
Zack Greinke, P

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.

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