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Dodgers Stock Up, Stock Down: Joc Rakes, Kiké Slumps

This will be a recurring series where we break down the hottest and coldest Dodgers over the previous week, outlining who is trending upwards and downwards.

This week was an interesting one, as the Dodgers offense suddenly became one of the worst in the league. Over the last 7 days, the Dodgers were the seventh-worst offense in Major League Baseball in terms of wRC+, posting a mark of 70. They did also have the third-lowest BABIP over the same span, meaning that positive regression is in store for the Boys in Blue offensively.

On the other side of the ball, the starting rotation has picked it up while the bullpen has continued to falter.

Let’s take a look at what individual players are trending in what direction:

Stock Up

Just to start off, let’s acknowledge that Cody Bellinger being extremely hot and his stock being through the roof is a widely accepted fact.

I want to take a look at three under-the-radar guys who have stuffed the stat sheet.

Joc Pederson, OF

Last 14 Days: .310/.383/.857, 7 HR, 10 RBI, 10.6 BB%, 19.1 K%, 216 wRC+, .231 BABIP, 0.8 WAR

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 15: Joc Pederson #42 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two run homerun for a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds during the bottom of the ninth inning on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium on April 15, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. All players are wearing the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

These are some pretty fantastic stats as of recent but something important to note is the .231 BABIP. That is absurdly low, however not exactly too absurd for Joc with his career .261 BABIP. Still, it means that we quite possibly have not seen the best of Joc Pederson so far this season, which is pretty insane considering his already amazing stat line this season.

2019: .267/.385/.707, 10 HR, 16 RBI, 12.1 BB%, 17.6 K%, 180 wRC+, .200 (!) BABIP, 1.2 WAR

Joc looks like a totally different hitter than what we were used to back in 2015 and 2016. He has grown up and is turning into a professional hitter. He now consistently takes pitches to the opposite field with a mature approach.

Another look at BABIP, Pederson has a crazily low .200 mark which means that on the season, Joc has even been unlucky. According to Baseball Savant, Joc has a 94th percentile hard-hit rate and 89th percentile exit velocity which are obviously elite marks. Mix that in with a much improved .272 xBA (.235 in 2018) and .570 xSLG (.439 in 2018), we could be looking at Joc’s real coming out party.

Corey Seager, SS

Last 14 Days: .304/.373/.478, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7.8 BB%, 17.6 K%, 131 wRC+, 0.5 WAR

2019: .276/.370/.425, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 12 BB%, 20 K%, 116 wRC+, 0.8 WAR

Corey Seager is beginning to return to his old form. He is beginning to smoke the ball once again, with a .350/.409/.450 over his last six games. He still has not had any sort of power breakout yet but it could soon be on the horizon. Still, expectation should be somewhat tempered as he is still coming off two major procedures and his quality of contact has been weaker than his typical self, only displaying a 65th percentile hard-hit rate.

Walker Buehler, SP

Last start: 5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 ER 2 BB, 1 K (one bad slider to Javy Baez)

Prior start: 6 1/3 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 8 K

Last 4 starts: 21 IP, 18 K, 3.86 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 1.17 WHIP

2019: 24 IP, 18 K, 5.25 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 1.17 WHIP

Buehler’s numbers are the victim of a terrible first start where he visibly was not ready to pitch and lacked command. Since then, he has pitched very well with his FIP more in line with his ace-level production from 2019 as opposed to his terrible current ERA of 5.25. His start against a solid offensive club in Cincinnati represented a big step in the right direction for the right-handed ace. Expect more of 2018 than his 2019 suggests going forward.


More at Dodgers Nation


Stock Down

As Bellinger is hot, we know Chris Taylor is as cold as ice, so there is no reason to dig deeper. Instead we focus on:

Austin Barnes, C

Last 14 Days: .094/.237/.094, 13.2 BB%, 23.7 K%, 8 wRC+, -0.2 WAR

Yikes. After what was a fairly hot start to the season for Barnes, his season has now hit rock bottom. He has been benched on occasion for Rocky Gale which is actually warranted. Still, Barnes provides solid defense behind the plate even if he cannot provide solid offense at it. The walk rate looks good, yes, but it is more likely a mirage than not. Barnes consistently bats eighth in the lineup and the walk rate is largely a product of the pitcher batting behind him. Next to an 11th percentile hard-hit rate, his stats make sense. We might have 2018 Austin Barnes back and possibly here to stay.

One thing to consider for Barnes is that he has started all but 3 games since Russell Martin hit the DL. Out Tim Rogers made the arguement that top prospect Will Smith should be called up over the lite hitting Rocky Gale, and that article looks even better 12 days later.

Barnes needs help. And so do we all.

Kiké Hernandez, 2B

Last 14 Days: .139/.205/.306, 7.7 BB%, 33.3 K%, 28 wRC+, -0.2 WAR

OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 07: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on August 7, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Another yikes. Hernandez got off to a blazing start this season and has been pretty bad over the last two weeks of the season. A big reason for that? He still really cannot hit against RHP. His average against right-handed pitching on the season is hovering around .200. And, of course, the Dodgers have been facing a lot of RHPs of late (outside of Chicago).

The hope is that he could get back to what he was because the true talent remains there, but that lofty strikeout rate has to drop before said talent can be put on display. Kiké’s 55th-percentile xwOBA is still not terrible and his quality of contact is average, so expect somewhere in between where he is at now and where he was to start the year. That is still a 4-win player and an everyday regular.

Kenta Maeda, SP

Last start: 4 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR

It might be time for #BullpenKenta already. Considering his contract structure and the way Ross Stripling looked excluding the frightening velocity dip, Maeda is trending in that direction. His peripheral stats are still fantastic, allowing an elite 96th-percentile exit velocity to opposing hitters so far this season. If that does not signify positive regression, I do not know what else would.

Final thoughts

What do you think? Who did we hit on, and who was a swing and a miss?

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-nation-poll-results-starting-pitching-solidifies-bullpen-remains-weak/2019/04/24/” type=”big” color=”red”] Dodgers Nation Poll Results: Starting Pitching Solidifies, Bullpen Remains Weak[/button]

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Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics and Broadcast Journalism dual major at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

5 Comments

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  1. As I see it the reason the Dodgers are 25-11 and not 20-6 can be described in two words: Pollock and Kelly

  2. SMH…. a week ago all praises for Dave Roberts… he is a loser… just look at last three years..what more proof is needed…he can’t get the job done..wake up Dodger Nation!!!!!

  3. I like this auther–I usually always agree with him–Here its is for me–Joc-Verdugo Cody & Pollock play in the of–Cody @1B Muncy & Pollock platoon–Joc & Verdugo & Cody play everyday–Muncy can also play some 2b & 3B to give Turner a break–Kike can play 2B and some SS to give Seager a break–Remember he had a very big operation–Seager does need time off–Freese plays some Taylor only plays when needed off the bench–I would give Taylor until the all star break and if he isnt better send him down and bring up DJ Peters–Cody would then be almost a full time 1B–DJ POLLOCK JOC & VERDUGO OF 24/7—Also I think the DH will be in the NL in 2020—As for the staff–see how HILL does–Then Kershaw-Buehlor-Ryu-Hill-Strippling—Urias to spot start—Jansen-Maeda-Kelly-Baez-Alexnader-Urias-Floro-Yimi/Caleb—Yimi could hit the DL—–Now I still see pitchers hitting the DL–If its a starter bring up May if its in the bullpen use Yimi—-Also this year I would still look at Gavin Lux & Will Smith–Barnes or Martin has gotta hit or one has to go—Unless an injury happens Lux in Septemeber along with Gonsolin and Yadier Alverez–This is what ive seen so far–27 games into the season

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