Joc Pederson spent the first half of the 2015 season lighting up scoreboards and sparking dreams of a 40-homer season and even a possible rookie of the year campaign. He spent the second half of the season strapping those dreams to TNT and hitting the detonator. Once opposing pitchers figured out how to expose Pederson’s long swing, his production took such a nosedive that he lost his everyday center fielder job to utilityman Enrique Hernandez in August.
Just take a look at his offensive stats by month:[table “” not found /]
Joc was able to redeem some of his value by generating a lot of walks in August and September, but was never able to get back up to pre-July levels of production. He’s going to have to if he wants to keep his starting job for the entire 2016 season.
Yasiel Puig is still a Dodger, and barring a dramatic turn of events, he will be the club’s opening-day right fielder for the third straight year. How he’ll perform is anyone’s guess. He could be 2013 Puig, who was otherworldly. He could be 2014 Puig, who was elite. He could be 2015 Puig, who was overweight, injured, and limited to 77 games. Last year, a flood of accounts ranging from news stories on Yahoo! and Bleacher Report to Molly Knight’s New York Times bestseller The Best Team Money Can Buy shed light on just how much of a clubhouse headache Puig was. As the reports came in, so did numerous trade rumors that ultimately went nowhere. Puig is without a doubt Dave Roberts’ toughest challenge in his first year as Dodgers manager, and 2016 may wind up being the Cuban phenom’s make-or-break year with the club. Not only does Puig have to behave himself, he must stay healthy in order to turn around his production. And he’s not the only one…