Joc Pederson Hits Hard

Los Angeles Dodgers’ rookie center fielder Joc Pederson hit home runs in each game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies. That last sentence, while entirely true, is a massive undersell for what actually happened. Watch the two homers:

Different organizations measure home run distance differently, so it’s tough to tell how far the balls actually went. MLB’s StatCast has the first homer at 472 feet and the second one at 477, good for tenth and fifth, respectively, on the 2015 leaderboards. ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, on the other hand, lists them at 467 and 480, respectively, good for sixth and first (!) on their list.

(At least some of the difference seems to be between actual distance and projected distance. The longest home run on StatCast’s list was a Nelson Cruz bomb against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, listed at 483 feet. ESPN’s tool lists the “true distance” of Cruz’s homer at 447 feet.) What every measurement agrees on is that Pederson’s homers were monstrous. They also extended Pederson’s lead in a pretty impressive category (note that this is from the day before these two homers):

Giancarlo Stanton is the gold standard for long home runs, and rightfully so. He has the most homers of 450 feet or farther this season. But guess who is right behind him?

Oh yeah, one more thing. Pederson is a leadoff-hitting center fielder who plays excellent defense and whose .383 on-base percentage is about as low as it has been all season. And he’s 23.

There are holes in Joc Pederson’s game. He strikes out a lot, and he hasn’t yet shown the base-stealing ability he had in the minor leagues. But he gets on base, he plays great defense, and he hits prodigious home runs. That’s probably more than you could reasonably hope for from a 23-year-old rookie, but he’s doing it. And at 215 plate appearances, we’re no longer dealing with a tiny sample size. There will be slumps and bumps along the way, but we’re seeing the real Joc Pederson in action.

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