When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Dee Gordon in the offseason not only did they lose their leadoff hitter, but also their biggest stolen base threat.
With the loss of Gordon the Dodgers, who ranked second in Major League Baseball last year with 138 stolen bases, now rank second to last with just nine. Gordon alone has 12 stolen bases in 2015 with the Miami Marlins.
Centerfielder Joc Pederson has taken over the leadoff role, at least for the time being. The 23-year-old hit 33 homers and stole 30 bases in Triple-A last year. So far this season his power has transferred over well to the big leagues, as he leads the team with 10 homers, but he has yet to really show his speed on the base paths. Pederson has stolen just two bases, while being caught four times.
According to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is not concerned with the lack of stolen bases for his rookie center fielder:
I think it’s going to be a part of Joc’s game,” Mattingly said. “I don’t think he’s a 40- or 50-steal guy. I think he can be a 20- to 25-steal guy.”
First base coach Davey Lopes also added that if Pederson and the rest of the team could steal bases with a high success rate then that will make them even more dangerous:
If they’re successful 70-something-percent, 80-something-percent,” Lopes said, “that’s a hell of a weapon to have.”
Even though he hasn’t stolen a lot of bases yet, Pederson has demonstrated the ability to walk at a high rate, as his 28 walks rank third in the league. If he continues to walk at such a high rate then the stolen base opportunities will present themselves.
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