August was a cruel month for Los Angeles Dodgers rookie center fielder. He had just 74 plate appearances over 22 games (18 starts) and batted .120/.384/.260 with six total hits, four RBIs, 21 strikeouts and 21 walks, plus a .312 wOBA and 100 wRC+.
Though, there remained reason for optimism moving forward as Pederson’s 28.4 walk percentage in August was his highest in any calendar month this season, and his 28.4 strikeout rate was down from July’s 32.3 percent.
Pederson’s prolonged slump nonetheless resulted in him frequently being benched in favor of Kiké Hernandez in center field. However, with Hernandez recently straining his hamstring, it’s placed Pederson back in the lineup, even on Tuesday night with San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound.
Part of Pederson’s work to see better results has been altering his batting stance with a more subdued leg kick and holding the bat across his left (back) shoulder as opposed to parallel with his body. Although the 23-year-old rookie flied out in his first two at-bats, he made solid contact with exit velocities of 92 and 93 mph.
Then in the seventh inning, Pederson laid off multiple sliders from Bumgarner and crushed a fastball for a line-drive solo home run over the center field fence with a 106-mph exit velocity. Pederson’s homer proved to be the difference in the Dodgers’ 2-1 win.