LOS ANGELES -- Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier were the two relative regulars in the Dodgers outfield in 2015, and on Monday received some recognition from their peers. Pederson finished fourth in Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year voting, and Ethier finished fifth in Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year.
Pederson started 137 games in the outfield in 2015 and Ethier started 106 games. Only one other Dodger (Yasiel Puig, with 71) started more than 44 games in the outfield this season.
Pederson hit .210/.346/.417, a 112 OPS+ with 26 home runs in 2015, the most home runs by a Dodgers rookie since Mike Piazza (35) in 1993.
It was in many ways a tale of two seasons for Pederson, who made the National League All-Star team behind a strong first half, hitting .244/.384/.527 with 20 home runs and 55 walks in 78 games through June 30. The rest of the season, filled with slumps and swing changes, saw Pederson hit .170/.300/.284 with six home runs and 37 walks in 73 games.
Pederson received three votes for Sporting News Rookie of the Year, tying with Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs for fourth place. Bryant received 127 votes to run away with the award, 105 more votes than second-place finisher Matt Duffy of the Giants. Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang finished fourth with five votes.
The criteria for Comeback Player of the Year is usually open to interpretation, with some players returning from injury and some from poor performance. For Ethier, it was both.
After hitting a career-worst .249/.322/.370 with four home runs in 380 plate appearances in 2014, and starting just 10 of the final 60 games of the season, Ethier entered 2015 as the odd man out of sorts in the outfield, though he came to spring training making known his intent to earn more playing time.
The Dodgers utilized Ethier just about perfectly in 2015, with 89.2 percent of his plate appearances coming against right-handed pitchers, against whom he hit .306/.383/.517 with a .385 wOBA and tied for seventh in the NL with a 150 wRC+ against righties.
For comparison, from 2006-2013 Ethier saw 71.98 percent of his PA against right-handed batters, never above the 81.41 percent during his rookie campaign of 2006. In 2014, 86.58 percent of Ethier's PA came against right-handers, before becoming even more specialized in 2015.
Ethier made one start against a left-handed starter all season, and that came on the last day of the regular season in a bullpen game for San Diego. Ethier hit .200/.229/.244 in 48 plate appearances against southpaws in 2015, and has hit .234/.292/.344 against them in his career, not posting an OPS against left-handers above .629 in a season since 2008.
With his performance improved and with injuries to Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford, Ethier ended up playing in 142 games, hitting .294/.366/.486 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles and seven triples in 445 plate appearances in 2015.
"He's just swinging the bat really well. He's totally healthy at this point, and it's probably been a while since that happened. He came in with a mission in spring training, saying he wanted to play everyday. It put pressure on him to go out and do it, and he's really backed it up with his play," manager Don Mattingly said during the season. "This is the best he's looked in a few years."