Much has been made this offseason about how much Joc Pederson has done to revamp his swing in an effort to help put his disastrous second half of 2015 behind him. The Los Angeles Dodgers certainly hope the new approach at the plate works, but there are still some who aren’t sold on him doing so.
Some scouts and evaluators do believe that Pederson’s struggles at the plate really aren’t fixable, and that his spring, where he hit .288 but struck out 40 percent of the time, was more or less a mirage of things to come. No one knows if that’s the case, but the scouts certainly think Pederson won’t be able to turn it around.
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“Those hot-zones things that they were putting on ESPN’s ‘Baseball Tonight’ when he was hitting all those home runs? The other pitchers had those, too,” one National League evaluator said. “And they stopped throwing it there, and he got himself out a little more often.”
It’s not shocking that if you stop throwing the baseball in a hitter’s best zones, he’s going to start to struggle. It happens to everyone. Mike Trout had trouble adjusting to pitches up and in for the longest time, but now he’s worked on it and has proven he can hit those. Pederson, believe it or not, can do the same thing.
Pederson still has one of the best eyes in baseball, and the comparisons to Adam Dunn seem like they might start to ring true. Even if that’s what Joc turns into for his career, it’s hard to see anyone having a real problem with that. Still, scouts aren’t sold on Pederson. But maybe that’s okay. Scouts have been wrong before.
Maybe he’ll figure it out, or maybe he’ll die trying. Either way, 2016 stands to reason as a make or break season for the young center fielder. If the Dodgers are to compete for anything of note this season, they’ll need the good Pederson to show up. If the bad one rears its head, it could be a long year.
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