Just one year removed from breaking the Los Angeles Dodgers record for most leadoff home runs in a single season, Joc Pederson has again etched his name in franchise lore.
Pederson started Wednesday’s game with a line drive into the right field stands at Petco Park, giving him nine home runs this season out of the leadoff spot that now the most in Dodgers history.
It broke Pederson’s previous record of eight set last year. That season, he surpassed Davey Lopes’ long-standing record of seven leadoff home runs hit in 1979.
Pederson has had a knack for providing power out of the leadoff spot ever since becoming a mainstay in the Dodgers lineup four years ago. As a rookie in 2015, he mashed 16 of his 26 total home runs when atop the batting order.
Appearing in just five games as the Dodgers’ leadoff hitter in 2016, Pederson hit just one home run. He primarily batted sixth that year, where he hit seven home runs across 155 plate appearances.
Again receiving limited opportunities as a leadoff man in 2017, Pederson did not hit a home run at the top of the Dodgers lineup. However, he returned to his usual spot the following year and has thrived ever since.
In 2018, Pederson tallied more than half of his season’s worth of home runs out of the leadoff spot (18 of 26) while slugging .534 across 59 games.
He built off that success during the early portion of the 2019 season posting a .974 on-base plus slugging over his first 29 games. Pederson followed suit with an even better 1.128 OPS in 22 May contests.
It was at the end of the month in which the 27-year-old broke the NL record for most leadoff home runs before the start of June (16).
Pederson entered the All-Star break with 20 home runs on the season and participated in his second career Home Run Derby, falling just short in a semifinals swing-off against Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
While Pederson’s production has fallen off a bit in the second half, he has begun to heat up again in September. Earlier in the month, he tied former Colorado Rockies slugger Larry Walker’s NL record of six consecutive extra-base hits.
Pederson did so using Andre Ethier’s bat, which led to some talk the Dodgers would ask their former outfielder for more from his collection.
Entering play Wednesday against the San Diego Padres, Pederson was batting .244/.336/.521 with 16 doubles, three triples and 69 RBI over 144 games. With 34 homers on the season, he’s now tied with Max Muncy for second on the team.