Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Joc Pederson? More like Joc Dingerson imo.
No, yeah, i’ll show myself out after some numbers about the Dodgers rookie CFer who is proving everybody who slightly doubted him wrong. He, of course, hit his 6th home run of the season, and while all the scouts and analysts figured he’d hit for power, but he’s on a 42 home run pace, and the last two guys who did that (Curtis Granderson and Josh Hamilton both in 2012) weren’t nearly the defender Pederson is.
So Pederson is off to a hot start, and he’s started in 21 out of the 23 games the Dodgers have played in, at CF, this alone is significant because if he stays healthy [knock on wood], he will join Johnny Frederick, Don Demeter, Willie Davis, Jim Hickman, Carl Furillo, and Rudy Law as the only Dodger rookies since 1914 to start at least 70% of the games in CF while also compiling 300+ Plate Appearances. If you want to make that more exclusive, if Pederson hits 600 PA’s while playing > 70% of games in CF (he should barring injury), he’d be alone with Frederick who did that all the way back in 1929!
Seeing a rookie in center field for a long period of time is somewhat unprecedented for this team, seeing a regular rookie CFer hit home runs is more rare, considering that Pederson is already tied with Hickman for 5th on the rookie home run leaderboard with 6 home runs as a rookie. If he blasts 24 home runs, he’ll be tied with Frederick for the most in Dodger history, I’m bullish on his chances, probably because of this:
Of course, the question with Pederson is how often he puts the ball in play, ZIPS projects him to ultimately strike out 173 times, which would absolutely shatter Don Demeter’s franchise “record” of 87 in his rookie season. It’s obviously not far to compare strikeout rates across eras, but a K% of 30.2% will only work if you’re walking and hitting a lot of home runs. So far Joc is doing that, but in any sense, hitting the excrement out of the ball is the best possible thing to do at the plate, and doing that over a long period of time screams success.
Pointing to one stat as a measurement of player’s season is definitely lazy, but WAR makes a pretty compelling overall argument about an individual player’s season, and Pederson has been worth 1.4 this season because of his stellar offense (1.1 oWAR) and above average defense (0.4 dWAR). The number to look out for is 3.8, again posted by Johnny Frederick in the 1929 season, if he beats that, he’d be the most valuable rookie CFer in Dodger history, and while it’s impossible to say that Pederson is as good as his .292/.447/.646 indicates, he doesn’t have to be.
If he’s ONLY the best regular rookie Dodger CFer in team history (which actually seems like a reasonable bar to hit), the Dodgers have a legitimate cornerstone type player on the roster, 23 year old good CFers with power and high on base potential are very hard to come by.
Boy, overreaction to 86 plate appearances is fun.
[finally shows self out]