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2016 Dodgers review: Joc Pederson

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Center fielder has 25+ home runs in each of his two full seasons.

St Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Joc Pederson had a very good sophomore campaign in 2016 and established himself as an important part of the Dodgers’ lineup.

What went right

Pederson essentially overhauled his swing after slumping badly over the final four months of his rookie season, and the result was an increase in contact percentage, from 66.6% in 2015 to 75.1% in 2016, per PITCHf/x.

Pederson increased his contact percentage both inside the strike zone (76.4% to 82.2%) and outside the zone (50.4% to 62.5%).

The resulting increase in contact did not result in a loss in power, as Pederson hit 25 home runs and 26 doubles in 137 games. His isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) increased from .207 to .249.

Pederson, who hit 26 home runs in 2015, joined Duke Snider as the only two Dodgers with a pair of 25-homer seasons through age 24. Pederson has a chance in 2017 to become the first Dodger ever with three such seasons through age 25.

But perhaps even more impressive was how consistent Pederson’s production was throughout the season, never dipping below a .748 OPS in any single month, and posting an above-average wRC+ in all six months of the season.

Pederson rated above average defensively by Total Zone Rating (+6 runs), Ultimate Zone Rating (+1.5) and Defensive Runs Saved (+1).

What went wrong

Pederson missed 15 games on the disabled list with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, an injury suffered while Pederson made arguably his best defensive play of the season, crashing into the center field wall to make a catch and keep the tying run off base in the eighth inning on June 28 in Milwaukee the Dodgers won 6-5.

Against left-handed hitters, Pederson hit just .140/.267/.360, 7-for-50 with three home runs, two doubles and nine walks. But he also didn’t get much opportunity against southpaws, making just nine starts against left-handers in 2016 after 23 such starts as a rookie.

Pederson was just 4-for-21 (.190) with three walks during the postseason, though he did steal two bases. He started all 11 games, and had more hits (3-for-14) against lefties than righties (1-for-7).

2016 particulars

Age: 24

Stats: .246/.342/.495, 25 HR, 25 doubles, 68 RBI, 63 walks, 3.4 rWAR, 3.6 fWAR

Salary: $520,000

Game of the year

Sept. 10 in Miami is mostly remembered for Rich Hill leaving early before getting a chance to finish off his perfect game, but the offensive side of the Dodgers’ 5-0 win over the Marlins on that Saturday night was largely fueled by Pederson, who was 3-for-3 with two home runs and a walk. It was one of three multi-homer games for Pederson in 2016.

Roster status

Pederson has two years, 28 days of major league service time, and three option years remaining.