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.


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From JP Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News:

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.

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About The Author

Justin Russo is a 30-year old sports enthusiast who dabbles in all forms of sports talk. Whether that talk revolves around the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, MLB, or other leagues, he has an opinion. He works as a writer for Warriors World, and was formerly a writer and editor for ClipsNation on the SB Nation network. He also is the Editor-in-chief for But The Game Is On: The Beat.

9 Responses

  1. JonathanWillcox

    awfully hard to change those years and years of muscle memory….

    Reply
  2. Michael Norris

    JonathanWillcox  Not as hard as you think. He is still a kid. It is a case of mind over matter and believing in your approach. Athletes in every sport do it all the time If he was in his 30’s, it might be harder. But he is only in his 2nd year in the big leagues.

    Reply
  3. nodrog60

    Are the dodgers the only team that didn’t know joc had huge holes in his swing. Took the nl 4 or 5 weeks to figure him out. Why didn’t they work with him  3/4 years ago. Are they going to send him back to the minors to learn to hit in the big? We probably lost a year of his talents.

    Reply
  4. Tmaxster

    Well that news made my day. He is very young he can do this. If he decides to be a different type of hitter he can be. He has great natural talent. . I think the horrendous 2nd half finally got him to reconsider. I have read that he was very stubborn before that. We can all understand it. He had that all or nothing approach in the minors and had great success. Probably the worst thing for him was getting to the HR derby. He was drinking his own KoolAid and his head swelled up and he was stubborn.
    Failure has a tendency to slap all of us on the side of the head. Plus the Front Office brought in Trayce Thompson who is almost his clone from the right side. Avery promising prospect with speed, good defensive Outfield skills that also can play Center Field. Competition makes you reevaluate. 
    His Father who only had a cup of coffee in the Majors I am sure counseled his son about how short a career can be.
    So hopefully he has got his head out and is ready to compete for that job. As Roberts has said it is not in stone that he starts in Center. kike took the job away from him at the end of the year,

    Reply
  5. Blue58

    I hope this works, but I would imagine it is difficult to change your entire approach to the game after all these years. There is always the very real possibility that he’s just not good enough to hit major league pitching on a consistent basis.

    Reply
  6. Tmaxster

    Blue58 You and me both. I think he will be OK. He has hit for good average and had a high OBP. So he must have a fair eye for the pitch. He certainly can generate power. As the new hitting instructor said a 350 ft shot over the wall is worth the same as a 430 shot over the wall..All count the same. 
    After the disastrous second half last year I hope he does well but if he started the strikeout stuff again and lunging at the cutters I would take him out.

    Reply

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