With the month of May nearly complete and June on the horizon, it is evident that the Los Angeles Dodgers boast one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball.
Entering Thursday’s four-game finale with the New York Mets, the Dodgers top the Majors with 15.1 offensive WAR (FanGraphs) on the year. The club also ranks second in RBI (297), third in wRC+ (117) and seventh in home runs (88).
The Dodgers’ relentless attack on opposing pitching has allowed them to jump out to a National League-best 37-19 record in the early going. While Cody Bellinger has garnered the most attention with his historic offensive contributions, Los Angeles’ success extends beyond him.
After a slow start to his 2019 campaign, Justin Turner has caught fire as of late and recently saw his batting average raise to .300. Alex Verdugo is additionally thriving and should be considered an early favorite for 2019 NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Another underrated piece to the Dodgers’ offensive puzzle has been Joc Pederson, who continues providing power out of the leadoff spot. He helped kickstart the club’s improbable comeback against Mets closer Edwin Diaz on Wednesday, leading off the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo home run.
The blast was Pederson’s 16th home run of the season and sixth in the month of May. More impressively, each of his homers to date have come out of the leadoff spot.
According to STATS LLC, Pederson’s 16 homers from hitting leadoff are the most in NL history prior to the start of June:
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 30, 2019
Pederson’s success when batting leadoff dates back to his rookie season in 2015, when he slugged 16 of his 26 home runs out of the No. 1 spot. Moreover, the 27-year-old helped set a Dodgers record last season when he hit eight home runs to lead off a game.
While leadoff hitters are typically not known for mashing home runs, Pederson still fits the mold well. He is currently sporting a career-best .372 on-base percentage and has drawn 20 walks this season.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently emphasized that Pederson is a big part of the club’s plans of finally getting over the hump and winning the World Series this season.
In 50 games thus far, Pederson is hitting a superb .268/.372/.647 (164 OPS+) with four doubles, three triples, 16 home runs and 30 RBI over 180 plate appearances.