Last season, Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder Joc Pederson had a habit of hitting home runs, but also for striking out at an extraordinary rate. The rookie was able to put a charge into a baseball like very few players are able to, but he swung and missed a ton. That’s something he’s hoping to correct.
One of the ways that Pederson is working to correct that high-strikeout rate is by changing his approach and swing. Instead of going for the all-or-nothing method again, he’s opted to go with a more compact swing that is likelier to put the ball in play than it is to miss it entirely.
When Pederson reported for batting practice during the Dodgers’ first full-squad workout Thursday, the thud of his front foot was gone. In its place: a modest, measured step forward. The path of his bat to the baseball was more compact. It’s the swing of a man who is trying to cut down on strikeouts and isn’t worried about hitting the ball out of the park every time he bats.
Reducing the leg kick as a timing mechanism could throw some guys off, but if Pederson is able to fully hone this new way, it could lead to massive results for him. Especially if that leads to a more line drive approach and ability to hit the ball to all fields.
If you don’t believe in the early approach, let Pederson explain it:
“I’ve been working hard this offseason to work on becoming a better hitter, hitting more line drives and using the whole field,” Pederson said. “I think I’m gifted that the power will be there. I’m just trying to hit balls on the barrel.”
So, there you have it. The talented young outfielder is looking to improve upon a rookie campaign that was really a tale of two halves. If the early season Pederson is who is here all year, then the Dodgers will gladly take it. Hopefully the new approach and swing lead to fantastic results. The team’ll need it.