Dodgers News: Joc Pederson Named Honorable Mention On ESPN Ranking Of Top-10 Center Fielders
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson was named an honorable mention by ESPN’s Buster Olney in his ranking of the top-10 players at the position. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim center fielder Mike Trout expectedly was rated No. 1.

He’s followed by Jackie Bradley Jr. of the Boston Red Sox, Miami’s Christian Yelich, Arizona’s A.J. Pollock, Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen, newly-acquired Adam Eaton of the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals’ Dexter Fowler, Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier and Ender Inciarte of the Atlanta Braves.

In no particular order, Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain, Baltimore’s Adam Jones, Toronto’s Kevin Pillar, Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera, Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton and Houston’s George Spring joined Pederson as honorable mentions.

Pederson put together a stellar first half in the 2015 season as a rookie, earning a spot in the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game. However, he began to skid into the All-Star break, slumped throughout the second half, and lost his standing as the everyday starter.

Pederson reported to camp last spring with a revamped swing that no longer included a high leg kick. In addition, Pederson said his focus was on utilizing all parts of the field and becoming a more complete hitter.

There were instances when the 24-year-old showed some signs of old habits, but Pederson otherwise enjoyed an encouraging season at the plate under new Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward. Pederson finished the year batting .246/.352/.495 with 26 doubles, 25 home runs, 68 RBI and a 129 OPS+.

His 27.3 strikeout rate was down nearly two percentage points from the previous season, though Pederson’s walk rate was also lower (15.7 percent to 13.2 percent).

Defensively, Pederson improved from a -3.9 UZR to 1.5, and from -3 Defensive Runs Saved to 1. Among qualified Major League center fielders last season, he ranked seventh in UZR and ninth in DRS.