Dodgers News: Don Mattingly Remains Confident In Joc Pederson
Dodgers News: Don Mattingly Remains Confident In Joc Pederson
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie center fielder Joc Pederson took Major League Baseball by storm in the first half of 2015, hitting 20 home runs and putting on a show in the Home Run Derby, coming in second to Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds.

Playing great defense in center field and getting on base via walks were also strengths of Pederson’s, along with hitting home runs. However, the 23 year old has hit a bit of a rough patch in the second half.

While Pederson’s defense still remains superb, he has hit just three home runs in the second half and went through a lengthy period where he struggled to draw walks. His batting average on the season has dropped to .214, causing manager Don Mattingly to make some changes.

With Kiké Hernandez making a name for himself, Pederson has found himself on the bench more times than not recently. Hernandez is now viewed as the club’s starting center fielder.

Despite the change and Pederson’s slump, Mattingly hasn’t given up on him, according to ESPN’s Mark Saxon:

We have no problem with Joc. It’s not like he’s been a prospect that comes up and just doesn’t care,” Mattingly said. “He’s totally actually the other direction, probably cares too much, probably letting it bother him too much. I have no doubt that Joc’s going to end up being a great player. But at this moment, we feel like Enrique is a better alternative.”

Although coaches continue to work with Pederson, Mattingly isn’t sure if improvement will come this season:

I don’t necessarily know if it’s now or it will take until the offseason when he can really make true changes,” Mattingly said. “But you can’t just say, ‘Hey, we’ll wait until next year.’ I think you try to go to work. He’s been trying to do it, so hopefully they’ll fall into place for him.”

Pederson has one month to figure things out if he wants to help his team and make an impact in the postseason. He currently owns a .413 on-base percentage in month of August and remains the team-leader in walks drawn.