Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two seasons Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig have been connected for a less-than-flattering reason. Both young and rising players who at times can rub their opposition the wrong way, Harper and Puig have appeared on consecutive lists as the most overrated player in the Majors.

Harper, 22 and the No. 1 overall pick from the 2010 draft, is in his fourth season with the Nationals. Puig, 24, signed as an amateur free agent out of Cuba, is in his third season with the Dodgers. While Puig has long commanded the spotlight in the Dodgers’ outfield, he’s received new competition this season in the form of Joc Pederson.

The rookie center fielder has quickly made his presence felt with one dazzling catch after another and his nine home runs that are tied for the team lead and good for second in the National League.

Pederson’s play has also caught Harper’s attention, who sent the elder (by six months) Pederson some words of encouragement via text message, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News:

This season Harper is batting .284/.426/.627 with 10 home runs, five doubles, 25 RBIs and an MLB-best 26 walks in 129 plate appearances heading into play Saturday. Pederson is hitting .264/.425/.632 with the aforementioned nine home runs, 19 RBIs and 24 walks, which ranks third in the Majors, over 114 plate appearances.

The pair of young outfielders also have a nearly identical number of strikeouts with Pederson having gone down 38 times and Harper 37. While Harper’s three-home run game was impressive, Pederson too has shined, clubbing seven home runs in the last 10 games and excelling as the team’s leadoff hitter.

The Dodgers, who recently moved ahead of the Nationals as the favorite to win the 2015 World Series, won’t face Washington until July 17 when they begin a three-game set in the nation’s capital.

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About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

10 Responses

  1. Tim Glaser

    20 walks leads the majors, but 23 walks is 3rd best?

    Reply
    • Ryan Whittington

      I was just thinking the same thing. “MLB best 20 walks” is incorrect

      Reply
      • Tim Glaser

        what? 20 walks over 125 plate appearances is better than 23 over 111?

      • Tim Glaser

        *nods* also, statistics in baseball don’t really work that way, no one says 6 HR over 10 AB is leading MLB over someone who hit 12 over 110 AB. So even if it was the case that that Harper has a higher percentage of walks in his plate appearances, you wouldn’t have said it was MLB leading.

  2. Rudy Ruiz

    John chin what are talking about I read the article makes no sense but that’s east coast bias at its finest, the stats clearly say Pederson has more walks in less at bats!

    Reply
    • john shin

      If you’re referring to me, I clearly said I misread it. Also, I have no idea where you got east coast bias from, I grew up in LA and am currently in SD.

      Reply
  3. Matthew Moreno

    That was a typo. Bryce Harper leads the Majors with 26 walks, not 20.

    Reply
  4. Blue

    Can’t wait until they play in July. We are taking our kids to their first mlb game and we’ve got seats directly behind the Dodgers bullpen.

    Reply

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