The Joc Pederson Show

Evidently, there are worse things than not being able to hit LH pitching.  Many of us on this blog were growing weary of Joc’s two steps back after his one step forward. Well, last night, Joc hit his 22nd and 23rd HR, as the Dodgers leadoff hitter and is currently OPS’ing .843. So that we don’t forget, here is how most baseball people rank OPS:

Above Average0.800
Below Average0.670

Currently, this is the OPS leader board for the Dodgers:

  1. Freese – 1.244 (only 18 AB’s)
  2. Muncy – .965
  3. Turner – .954
  4. Pederson – .843
  5. Puig – .833
  6. Bellinger – .816
  7. Machado – .810
  8. Kemp – .801
  9. Grandal – .767
  10. Taylor – .766
  11. Hernandez – .766

Joc is poised to put up career numbers in HomeRuns this year,  and in 415 plate appearances, he has only struck out 74 times. He is walking less as well.It appears that he is looking for a pitch to hit, instead of looking to take a walk like he did earlier in his career (Chris Taylor take note!). In his first year, he walked 15.7% of the time. In his second year, it was 13.2% and this year it is just 8.9%.  Conversely, his strikeouts have dropped over that same time from 29% to 27 % to 17.8% this year.  He only has 55 plate appearances against LHP and he still can’t hit them (.173 BA/.200 OB%/.508 OPS), but since there are a lot more RHP, he has shown that LF belongs to him against righties.  For those who wonder why Matt Kemp isn’t playing against RHP, see above.  You have no argument!

Joc has exceeded my expectations and I am happy to eat crow and say I was wrong.  Bums is serving it up well done as we speak!

Rants & Raves

  • The Dodgers could sure do worse than have Kike Hernandez as the starting 2B. He actually has more AB’s against RHP than LHP.  
  • Ryu was exceptional last night in a very big game.  No doubt he belongs in the rotation.
  • Is this just an adjustment for Alex Wood or is he genuinely upset at going to the pen?  Or is he hurt?  Alex is a good guy, but this will be interesting…
  • Doc wasted no time in getting Axford, Garcia and Cingrani back into action.
  • A gem by Kershaw tonight might just kill the Rox.  The D-Bags are on life support as the cream rises to the top.
  • The Dodgers hitters now lead the league by 16 in runs scored and have given up the fewest runs by 15. Maybe this is where the run differential evens out.
  • That Dave Roberts sure is a smart guy!

Photo Credit; The Sporting News/Getty Images

This article has 80 Comments

  1. I thought Axford looked good against Arrenado. He gave up a lucky bloop hit, but you could see Arrenado was not on any of those pitches. I hope to see Axford again soon. If Cingrani proves healthy and effective the next 12 days, would he make the postseason roster of a Roscup?

    Also, I wrote this to end the last thread, but I’l repost it: I hope not, but there is a possibility that tonight could be Kershaw’s last start as a Dodger at Dodger Stadium.

  2. No doubt Joc has made progress this season. Like Puig, wipe out his start to the season and he’s had a nice year. While he’s not an ideal leadoff hitter, he has 6 leadoff dingers this year. I believe Lopes had 7 one year. Will Joc’s best season be enough to hold off Verdugo next year though?
    It was nice to see a real batting order without a rally killer in the batting order batting 5th. Puig is 4 for his last 12 off of Freeland. Ride the hot hand for once. Cingrani would be a nice weapon if healthy. If they had him at full strength, I don’t think I would have switched Wood and Stripling.
    Ryu has always been a big game pitcher. He didn’t let Arenado ever get up in a position to beat him in a big spot. I would offer him the QO. Like a few guys in the team, I think he loves being a Dodger so he might accept it but if not he will get a nice contract offer from someone after this season.

    1. QO will be right at $18MM this year. Do you really want to give a pitcher who has not been healthy a full season since 2014 $18MM for one year? He will be the 2nd highest AAV pitcher on the roster next to Kershaw (who will be back – IMO).
      2014 – 152 IP
      2015 – 0 IP
      2016 – 4.2 IP
      2017 – 126.2 IP
      2018 – 70.1 IP
      When he pitches he has been effective this year, but he does not pitch enough to warrant an $18MM contract. If the Dodgers give him a QO, the liklihood of Ryu accepting are very high. In addition, JT’s, Kenley’s and Hill’s contracts increase to higher payouts in the next 1-3 years. Seager is arbitration eligible in 2019, and Bellinger in 2020.
      I know you like Machado, wouldn’t you think that a better use of that $18MM will be for Machado? Most projections show Machado at or above $300MM for 8-10 years with 2 opt out clauses. Dan Lozano is his agent and he is not Scott Boras with outlandish proposals. If he believes Machado will get $300MM, he will. IMO, if they give Ryu a QO, they will not be in on the Machado auction. Granted I am not the advocate of Machado as you and others are, but IMO there is no way FAZ will do a both Ryu QO and sign Machado. I do not think they will do either.

      1. One year of Ryu at $18 million. Yes, I would risk it. If he had arm problems this year, I would feel differently. I’d dump Kemp for whatever you could get to save some money. If Ryu finishes the season strong, I imagine his agent won’t accept the QO though. If it’s Machado or Ryu, I’m certainly taking Machado. However with the re-setting of the luxury tax and not a ton committed for next year salary wise, I think I would risk it. If he leaves the Dodgers could use the draft pick. One other thing to consider, Kemp and Hill come off the books after 2019. JT comes off the books the following year so considering there isn’t a lot of long-term commitment I don’t think offering Ryu should stand in the way of signing a big ticket free-agent. I would be more concerned if he is blocking the development of young player they want in the rotation.

        1. In Ryu’s case, it might be better to compete for him in the open market. It might cost them three years, but the annual salary might be closer to $10M. I can’t remember how the QO works if Ryu doesen’t accept the offer but isn’t there something about a team’s payroll or won/loss record that might limit what the Dodgers would receive from another team that signed Ryu?
          Since Seager uses Boras there is less chance that he will sign with the Dodgers when he is a free agent and less likely that he will do what Trout or Longoria did with an extension. It would be nice if the Dodger infield of the future included Seager,Bellinger and Lux with Turner maybe elsewhere after his contract expires.
          Machado could fit in the infield before Turner’s contract expires if Bellinger moved to CF and Muncy became the DH and certainly would fit afterwards. Several ifs there.
          The contest in the starting outfield next year will be between Joc, Verdugo, Puig, Taylor, and Toles. If Puig doesn’t get a contract extension, he could be traded.

  3. Tonight Kershaw can give the Dodgers a 1.5 game lead and set it up for Buehler to deliver a series sweep and a 2.5 game lead. Let’s see what happens.

  4. We should be prepared to witness Kershaw shift into a whole new gear and show he’s still the best pitcher on the planet. No stress and perfect weather at HIS house. Somewhere around 12-13 or more strikeouts on tonight’s menu. My $ is on 15 strikeouts!

  5. I’m hoping for a hot end of the season for both Joc and Puig, which will increase their trade value… Against hope I’m thinking Kersh leaves L.A. for the big Monopoly $$$…
    That equates to we need a front line SP to put together with Walker… And of course a few other goodies…
    Patience…We need not be in a tremendous hurry, because ST always has it’s injuries that teams have to deal with…

    1. only focussed on the now. the later will take care of itself. get into the playoffs, defeat a weak NL field, and play our absolute best in the WS. maybe even steal a game we shouldn’t win. if we do that, we can go full rebuild next season for all i care. this is largely the same team that almost did it all last season. let’s roll the dice again.

  6. Don’t get me wrong Dionysis, I’m all in!!!
    Furthermore, I’m feeling like McFadden and Whitehead and
    “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”!!!

  7. lest we forget, joc’s fist bump with a fan last night was great
    as for puig, i felt last year if puig would’ve been a force in the playoffs we would be unstoppable. well, he gets another chance in about two weeks . . .
    lefthanded mashers muncy/bellinger/joc & righthanders turner/machado/puig. if we get a hot chris taylor added to the mix we could back to close to full strength.
    the bullpen [bridge AND back-end] remains a major concern but maybe we have better starting pitching this year and score more runs. if we match up with the A’s, they’ll win the relief battle 🙂

  8. i’m assuming that nobody above max muncy on the HR leader board has fewer plate appearances than his 446.
    of those who are above him, the vast majority are in the american league so they don’t count.
    muncy has 33 homers this year, which just seems strange typing. sure bellinger had an equally astonishing 39 last year but he was at least on the radar a few years before.
    the NL names who are above muncy are a veritable who’s-who of MVP-level players in the league. the amazing matt carpenter has 35; [machado has 35 too but many of those came in the AL so we’ll skip him]; bryce harper has 34; nolan arenado also has 34; and tied with muncy at 33 are trevor story & paul goldschmidt.
    in other words, muncy is having an elite power season. not good and not great. elite, as in best in the majors. top ten power production. home run derby shit. find this guy a regular position stuff.
    with so many compelling plotlines this strange season, muncy easily ranks #1 on the list. tuning in to watch him in his first postseason might be october’s best programming. chris taylor almost came from nowhere [ok, seattle] to the promised land in 2017. this year we’ll strap a saddle on muncy and see how far he can take us.

  9. Muncy??? If MT’s NL change to the DH doesn’t happen, where does he play or is he on the bench as a PH, Platoon or ???

    1. he’s now our 1B and bellinger is our CF. i resisted it for a while [largely due to be enamored of belli’s defense] but it’s reality. i personally think he could play LF next year. i’d like to see it.

  10. When Joc first came up, and for a long time after that, I was a big supporter. But watching him struggle year after year, and fail to make the necessary adjustments, I had to accept the fact that I was probably wrong in my evaluation of him. Quite simply, when Joc uses the entire field, he’s very dangerous. And that’s what he’s doing now. Question is, can he sustain his adjustments? If he does, then I find a place for him AND Verdugo in next years lineup, or use one of them in a deal that brings difference making talent to the Dodgers.

    As for hitting lefthanders, if Joc continues to make adjustments, why couldn’t he learn to hit them given more opportunities to see them?

    I’ve been thinking about whether the Dodgers should offer the QO to Grandal. Not sure what he’s worth on the open market, but I’m also not sure I’d want to pay him $18 million if he accepted the offer. I’ll leave that one to FAZ, since I’m sure that they have a better handle on it than I do. No way I’d make that offer to Ryu. He’s good when he pitches, but not $18 million good, nor reliable enough given his past injury history.

    Machado I’d like to see the Dodgers sign, unless they can find a suitable alternative. Seager may be able to return effectively to short, but that’s not a sure thing. And even if it was, Machado is a better defensive shortstop, and I believe he will ultimately hit in LA like he did in Baltimore.

    1. for a variety of reason, i feel signing machado is an extreme longshot.

      1. he’s definitely testing the FA waters, so that means we’re simply 1/30. no loyalty at play here.
      2. we already have a franchise SS in seager. machado probably wants to be THE MAN.
      3. i hear he’s an east coast guy and might be better suited for that time zone
      4. he’s sure to sign a close-to-market-setting deal and there are just enough doubts about him to make that gamble too risky for what would be an exception to our game plan
      5. harper is better 🙂

      but boy do i like him in blue and hope he raises his price tag through the roof with a record-setting postseason.

      1. Machado may ultimately wind up with the Yankees or Phillies but for now he seems to be enjoying being a Dodger. Just my uninformed opinion from watching him with his teammates. I think the Dodgers need a RH bat more than a lefty.

  11. Joc really had a good night, but he is a very streaky hitter!

    His OPS went up 23 points in just that game last night.

    But Joc didn’t do much from July 26, until September 11, which is 42 days.

    And in that big gap of time, Joc only had 15 hits in 95 at bats, which is a 157 average.

    And his OPS dropped over a hundred points during this time, and before last night, his OPS was 818.

    Joc had a May this year, much like his August, so there are big gaps in times, when Joc doesn’t produce much.

    And that is my issue with him.

    I prefer more consistent production, from a player.

    Joc’s production is much like this team’s run differential.

    Because Joc is so streaky, he will have four or five, really good games, in his good months.

    Although at the beginning of June this year, he did have two really good weeks.

    But those numbers can be deceiving, just like our team run differential.

    Because his production is so extremely good in these short stretches of time, his numbers will go way up, like his OPS last night.

    And it takes a while, for his numbers to descend, in these large gap of times, when he doesn’t produce.

    And that is just like this team this year!

    Because this team will have games like they had last night, where almost everyone in the line up hits well, and the game is a blowout.

    But those extra runs the team is putting on, in these blow outs, are deceiving, because after a team gets in front, like the Dodgers did last night.

    The other team’s manager, doesn’t pitch his best pitchers, to mop up a game like this, so those extra hits and runs, don’t mean as much, because most of the time, the game is over already.

    And these games are the reason the Dodgers run differential looks so good, and better, then their record reflects.

    Because they will have stretches of times, where they are lucky to score even one run.

    I just prefer more consistency.

    1. maybe i’m biased but i like it when joc HITS THE BALL HARD. it usually goes places that are difficult to reach. and i really love the all-fields approach.

    2. Part of that streakiness has to do with not playing against lefties. That’s his fault. He tends to cool off after sitting 4 out of 5 days due to travel days combined with a string of lefties.
      His strikeouts are under control and given his average exit velocity and percent of time he barrels balls (ranks 51 in MLB for players with 300+ PA) it looks like he is unlucky with babip.
      He comes through in big games.

      1. it’s anecdotal, but he plays the game with joy. maybe it’s because he’s Champ’s brother that i like him so much but he has a natural positivity and spirit that i think meshes well with the rest of the team. we all know what he did in the world series but it’s his sustained periods of deep focus at the plate that make me like him. he’s not the best defender, he’s kind of a lumpy baserunner, but i think his baseball I.Q. is high. i think he understands the moment and is able to be a role player on a team full of superstars. he’s our todd hollandsworth but slightly better. and with massive pop. if he’s a 4th outfielder, he’s one of the best in the game.

      2. Joc was out longer before the World Series last year, then he has been out for any platoon, he is just streaky!

        1. The truth is somewhere between you and Bum. Joc is a streaky hitter and probably shouldn’t be hitting lead off, but that’s what they’re going with for better or worse. I think Joc got very hot and then the Dodgers had to face a bunch of lefties and suddenly he wasn’t playing much which helped cooled him off.

  12. standings update. we are in a close one. flat-footed tie with STL for WC2. 1/2 game ahead of COL but not in the loss column so that’s basically tied. and 1/2 game behind [in the loss column] to ATL for home field advantage. we are still 5.5 games behind CHC for the overall home field [and 6 in the loss column] so i’m not waiting on that. besides, i expect MIL/COL to knock out the cubbies in the NLDS. winning tonight with our best on the mound sets up everything the rest of the way.

  13. Trevor Story is facing potential UCL damage to his right elbow. He may have hurt it when he made that diving stop and throw on JT’s ground ball in the first yesterday. If he’s gone for the year, Colorado may also be gone for the year.

    1. Bobby

      I bet the Cards are kicking themselves, for going for the power with Ozuna, instead of the athleticism, of Yelich.

      1. Yelich really broke out this year, like many on this board predicted during all the trade rumor time after last season ended. A 27 year old doing this? Milwaukee made out big time

  14. I think it may be over for the Rockies.

    Because Story went out last night, and Arenado is hurting, and that is their two best players .
    In fact, Arenado’s issues sound a lot like what Corey had to deal with, last year.

    I don’t know that it is that serious, but Arenado said it only bothers him when he throws, but it is also is affecting his hitting, much like Corey.

    The Cards might just be that second wild card.

  15. Back to the Freese, Kemp, Taylor, Dozier, Kike, Barnes lineup. Puig is 4 or 12 against this guy and they play Kike who is hitting .239 against lefties and is 3 for 13 against Freeland. This is how guys cool off. Let’s hope CK has his A game.

    1. Hawkeye

      Take look at Muncy’s numbers especially his splits.

      Because other then in July, Joc has had more at bats then Muncy lately, who is also platooned.

      And this is Muncy’s first year playing in the majors consistently.

      If anything, of the players on this team, Joc should be more use to platooning then anyone, except Kike.

      And I think Roberts is better about leaving his players in a game, even when a leftie or righty, comes in the game.

      I think it is harder for Puig and Cody, who have been mostly been everyday players.

      1. Vasseigh said Puig has had the best attitude on the team about it which must be valid because DV plays favorites and Puig isn’t one of his in my opinion.

  16. I know the lineup fits in with what they’ve been doing all year long… but it’s still a bit of a head scratcher to not have Puig and Bellinger in there tonight.

  17. Maybe a little too premature on the loss of Trevor Story. The Rockies are “cautiously optimistic” that he will return this season. He certainly will not be in the lineup the next two nights when we face the Rockies. He gets test results tomorrow.
    In a podcast with Tim Brown (Yahoo Sports) and Andrew Friedman with respect to Clayton Kershaw. “Obviously we have a good relationship with Casey Close (Kershaw’s agent). I think it’s something that from both sides’ perspective, we hope/expect to work together for a long time and win a lot of championships together.”

    1. AC

      That is good to hear, because after he went out, it seemed so bleak for the Rockies.

      Because Arenado is not himself either.

      And the Rockies don’t have to many starters to depend on.

      Because that was the third bad start in a row, that Gray has had.

      1. Elbow inflammation. No ligament damage. He will be out a few days. Hopefully AFTER their DBack series this weekend. The Rockies will have 4 with Philly, and 3 with the Nats to finish the regular season.
        I am glad for him. He’s a good player and fun to watch.

  18. Last time they faced Freeland the same all RH approach did not work, Cody and Puig both played only after he had been removed. Kersh will be in vintage form but the bats need to give him something to work with. They need to get the pitch count up on Freeland and get into the Rockies BP. Freese and Taylor might step up to help JT and Manny tonight, expect liberal switching later in the game.

  19. Yelich has very good numbers, and he has very even splits, against both lefties and righties.

    He is hitting in the 300s against both, and all of his other numbers, OBP, OPS and slugging, are all really good too.

    He has hit 30 HRs this year too.

    He must love hitting in Milwaukee, after hitting in that big park, in Miami.

    I don’t think Ozuna has hit the many, although I know he is hitting in a tougher park.

  20. Even if you take out the ridiculous 1.176 OPS he put up in June and assume that was a fluke before pitchers adjusted. Muncy has basically been a legit .900 OPS hitter.

  21. Last time I was in SF, I saw Charlie Blackmon, homeless in the BART station defecating on the sidewalk. I swear it was him… looked just like him.

  22. I”m going to assume that barring injury to 2-3 guys, Brian Dozier won’t be on the playoff roster (in any round). And if that’s the case, why even play him now? Kike can play 2b vs a leftie, and Puig can give us better D in right and a better bat than Dozier!

    1. Playing Dozier now is a real head scratcher. I’m sure Black was happy to see Puig out and Dozier in.
      Clayton isn’t sharp. Two base running blunders by the Dodgers and a big error by JT has given the Rockies confidence tonight.

  23. Good game by Kershaw one earned. I don’t know how he is doing it with a 86-7 mile per hour fastball. Come on Dodgers we need this one.

  24. There it is! Good for CT3! Great job by the pen. Smoke and mirrors against a slumping team by Clayton.

  25. Like I always say, Chris Taylor, greatest player in the game. 🙂

    We needed that. Before the series started I would have been satisfied with 2 out of 3. No longer.

  26. Another great win. Hope you and your son enjoyed it Pete.

    CK managed to find a way, but I don’t see anyone paying him a Kings Ransom for a long term deal.

    Now for Walker to put the hammer down.

  27. Rockies stopped hitting when they boarded the plane for SF. I like their chances tomorrow with Buehler taking on Anderson for the sweep. Kershaw showed guts and gumption battling their Ace. CT3’s HR was launched!

    1. I saw him in the dugout with a grey sleeveless sweatshirt on over his jersey. With the September callups the dugout may be a bit crowded.

  28. I’m too old for this stuff and of course I didn’t leave until the fat lady sang as I’ve always preached to my kids… Thank God I had my son as a driver…
    Watford my man from across the pond, thanks for thinking of us…
    I’m not big on the ‘team chemistry’ mantra but for right now we are playing as a team and EVERYONE is doing their job…
    Ain’t no stopping us now!!!

  29. There are similarities between deGrom and Gonsolin.

    Long before Jacob deGrom became a Cy Young contender, he was an unheralded ninth-round draft choice for the Mets in 2010 who wasn’t even used as a starting pitcher until near the end of his final year at Stetson University. Tony
    Gonsolin | Rank: 14 (Preseason: 24)
    Copied from top 30 prospects snippets.
    Team: Tulsa Drillers (AA) ETA: 2019
    Position: RHP Age: 24 DOB: 05/14/1994
    Bats: R Throws: R Height: 6’ 2″ Weight: 180 lb.
    Drafted: 2016, 9th (281) – LAD
    Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Splitter: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
    A two-way standout at St. Mary’s, Gonsolin led the Gaels in hitting (.308) as a sophomore, steals (12) and saves (seven) as a junior and saves again (six) as a senior. The Dodgers liked his tools as an outfielder but preferred him on the mound, putting him there full-time after signing him for $2,500 as a ninth-rounder in 2016. Concentrating on pitching paid off as his stuff took a dramatic leap in his first full year as a pro.
    Gonsolin opened 2017 with an 89-92 mph fastball, boosted it to 90-94 in May, started working in the mid-90s in August and touched 100 mph by season’s end. Los Angeles moved him from the bullpen to the rotation in 2018, and he has operated at 93-97 mph and maintained his velocity deep into his starts. His secondary pitches also have gained power and he now has an upper-80s splitter that bottoms out at the plate, a low-80s curveball that can be a hammer at times and a mid-80s slider.
    The athleticism that served Gonsolin well as a position player also helps him find the strike zone on a regular basis. Los Angeles originally planned on developing him as a multi-inning reliever this year but couldn’t ignore the fact that he has all the ingredients to become a mid-rotation starter. He has contended for the Minor League strikeout lead and advanced to Double-A in July.

  30. I cannot believe Kershaw will opted out. He is not the same pitcher we have known. He pitched a good game, but it was on guts and determination. He can be good for the next 4-5 years, but not dominant.

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