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The case for Joc Pederson, National League All-Star

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Joc Pederson is on pace for 48 home runs and 105 walks this season.
Joc Pederson is on pace for 48 home runs and 105 walks this season.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

When the National League All-Star voting update is released on Tuesday, Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson will not be close to the top three outfielders on the NL ballot. After dropping from sixth to 10th in voting in last week's update, that would be unlikely.

But this isn't about Pederson starting on July 14 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. He does, however, deserve a spot on the team.

Pederson is hitting .258/.383/.577, ranking third in the National League in home runs (17), fifth in OPS (.960), fifth in OPS+ (165), fifth in wOBA (.406), fifth in wRC+ (163), and third in walks (37).

He is on pace for 48 home runs and 105 walks, which seems absurd even before considering that Pederson is still a rookie.

Only two Dodgers ever have hit 40 home runs and walked 100 times in the same season — Duke Snider (42, 104) in 1955, and Gary Sheffield (43, 101) in 2000. Both made the All-Star team.

If we loosen the requirements to 30 home runs and 100 walks, there are only seven such Dodgers seasons, with Sheffield still the last one in 2000. All seven made the All-Star team, and one (Dolph Camilli in 1941) won MVP.

The Dodgers' 30-90 club runs only 12 deep, with Shawn Green (42, 93), in 2002 the last member. Of the 12, only Sheffield in 2001 wasn't an All-Star.

There have only been five different Dodgers to put up a .500 slugging percentage in a season while playing at least 80 games in center field — Johnny Frederick (twice), Len Koenecke, Pete Reiser, Duke Snider (six times) and Matt Kemp (twice). Of the 10 such seasons in the All-Star Game era (1933-present), only Koenecke (1934) and Snider (1957) didn't play in the midsummer classic.

What I'm saying is Pederson is putting up a very unique season in Dodgers history, and happens to be a rookie while doing so. To date he has been among the very best players in the National League, and thus deserves to be an All-Star.

Should Pederson happen to find his way to Cincinnati, he would become just the sixth Dodgers rookie to be named an All-Star, joining Don Newcombe (1949), Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Steve Sax (1982), Mike Piazza (1993) and Hideo Nomo (1995). Select company, indeed.

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