While Cody Bellinger has garnered plenty of deserved attention, the Los Angeles Dodgers have received contributions form throughout their lineup this season. Among those making an impact are Max Muncy, Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo.
Despite sporting somewhat of a low batting average for much of the year — it’s now at .272 — Pederson has excelled in other categories, particularly the power department. His .667 slugging percentage, 1.040 on-base plus slugging and 169 OPS+ all represent career-highs.
Moreover, only three MLB players have out-homered Pederson. He has already slugged 18 home runs on the year, trailing Bellinger’s 20 for the Dodgers’ lead.
Perhaps most impressively, Pederson has been able to produce these kind of numbers in a limited role. He receives the majority of his playing time against right-handed pitching while rarely starting when an opposing southpaw is on the mound.
Pederson recently received a string of starts, which he said was a significant factor to finding his swing, via SportsNet LA:
“It’s huge. Rhythm, flow, I think plays a huge role into being consistent, being effortless, not overthinking. It’s really good when you can get in there, get in the game flow and all that stuff. To just ride out pitches, I think it makes you more comfortable.”
Of Pederson’s 53 games played this season, 39 have come in a starting role. The other 14 account for his pinch-hit appearances and late-game substitutions.
As the 27-year-old hints, he has found much more success when taking a patient approach at the plate. Against right-handed pitching, Pederson has drawn nearly the same amount of walks (21) as strikeouts (29) in 169 plate appearances.
When facing the opposite split, Pederson is additionally hitting a stellar .284/.396/.730 with three doubles, three triples, all 18 of his home runs on the year, and 32 RBI. His homers have come in bunches this season, including four in his past seven games (five starts).
Receiving only 21 plate appearances against a left-hander thus far, Pederson is batting a weak .190/.190/.238 with three singles, a double and one RBI.
Despite not being an everyday player, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts recently emphasized that Pederson is a key piece to the club’s 2019 outlook of getting over the hump and winning the World Series.