After getting his feet wet with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a September call up in 2014, Joc Pederson won the starting center-field job in Spring Training and assumed a much larger role with the club in 2015.
Pederson flashed the defense ability he’d been touted as having, plus a discipline eye at the plate along with some power.
However, the rookie phenom began to slow as the All-Star break approached, and continued trending south in the second half of the season. Pederson altered his batting stance late in the season, but didn’t necessarily reap any benefits.
According to Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman believes the poor results led to Pederson developing bad habits that he will correct in the offseason:
“I just think mechanically, slowly over time, he got into some bad habits. Nobody wanted to correct that as badly as he did. It’s just a really difficult thing to do this season. He’s really focused on it this winter and will work incredibly hard to get back to where he was.”
Friedman added Pederson returning to form shouldn’t be too difficult and expressed confidence in him being able to hit left-handed pitching:
“You’re not asking them to change and become someone that they’re not. It’s much easier when you’re trying to figure out a way to get someone back to where they were, as opposed to something completely new to him. … I think when Joc’s right, he can hit left-hand pitching. It’s the benefit of having versatility.”
The head of the Dodgers’ front office also referred to Pederson as one of the clubs wild cards heading into 2016.
Last season Pederson hit .216/.295/.397, with six home runs and three doubles against left-handers. It was similar to the success he had against same-side pitching in 2014 with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
That year, Pederson batted .299/.422/.598 with 14 home runs, 32 RBIs and 33 walks against southpaws. As for his overall second-half struggles last season, the 23-year-old center fielder reviewed film and is aware of the need to develop more consistency at the plate.