Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson shatters the typical leadoff hitter profile

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error That’s not ideal.Mattingly acknowledges this, but he has no plans to move the rookie sensation down in the order for now.“We put (Pederson) in the leadoff spot because that seems like where he’s best for our club and where he fits with getting on base — trying to get guys on base for Adrian (Gonzalez) and the guys coming up behind him,” Mattingly said.“If that changes, I don’t know. We could go number two, number three, number four. It depends how Joc develops, really. Is he going to be a guy that’s about power, or is he going to develop where he’s hitting for a higher average, putting the ball in play more?”Therein lies the difference between Pederson and Puig – and most players, for that matter. Pederson has as many home runs (nine) as singles. Sixty-four percent of his at-bats have ended in either a walk, strikeout or home run – the so-called “three true outcomes” of a plate appearance because they don’t depend on the ability of the opposing defense.The few players who historically fit that profile have big and powerful swings like Pederson. It’s not the kind of short, compact swing that lends itself to contact. Or, usually, batting first in the National League.“He’s also a guy with over .400 on-base (percentage), so he kind of fits both categories in that sense,” Mattingly said. “The whole key with your lineup is really you want to get your guys who are your most dangerous, you want to get the most at-bats. Somehow you want to arrange them one through five and get them the most at-bats.”AlsoMattingly said the Dodgers are likely to keep four starting pitchers, eight relievers, and 13 position players for their three-game weekend series against the Colorado Rockies. … Chris Heisey was officially recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City prior to Thursday’s game, switching places with pitcher Joe Wieland, who was optioned. … Wieland took the loss in his 2015 debut Wednesday in Milwaukee.center_img MILWAUKEE >> In his first major league game in 2013, Yasiel Puig batted leadoff for the Dodgers. Before long, though, he had swung his way out of the spot – first to the cleanup hole, then number two. The ball was flying off his bat and manager Don Mattingly wanted Puig batting with runners on base as often as possible.Joc Pederson is a different hitter than Puig, but he’s quickly become an unusual choice for the Dodgers’ leadoff slot in 2015 for many of the same reasons.Only three players had more home runs than Pederson when play began Thursday. All were veteran sluggers playing in the American League: Nelson Cruz, Hanley Ramirez and Mark Teixeira.Mattingly always bats his pitcher ninth, and Dodger pitchers have a .165 on-base percentage that ranks 14th in the National League. So, whenever a pitcher bats in front of Pederson – that is, a good share of his at-bats – he will not reach base 83.5 percent of the time. In the first at-bat of the game, the bases are empty 100 percent of the time.last_img

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