How Joc Pederson has evolved as a hitter
By Cary Osborne
Think back to Spring Training.
If you saw Joc Pederson during the first couple of weeks at the plate he looked lost.
He was clearly tinkering with his foot work, searching for timing and doing anything he could to become a better hitter.
Now if you compare what he looks like at the plate this year compared to last (see above), the biggest discernable difference is he starts with his hands closer to his body. He still has the same short step, same explosion with his hips and his finish looks similar.
But whatever he has done — whether it be changing his hand location or something more drastic that’s not clearly visible — it’s working.
Joc Pederson 2016 is a better hitter than Joc Pederson 2015.
Back in June, Fangraphs’ August Fagerstrom wrote an article about Pederson’s remarkable difference in his contact rate from 2015.
When the article was published, Pederson’s contact rate was 9.0 percent better in 2016 than 2015. It’s even higher now — a 10.9 percent difference.
Here are some other telling signs about his growth:
(numbers from Baseball Reference and Brooks Baseball)
The comparison isn’t perfect. Pederson is at 314 plate appearances thus far in 2016. He had 585 last year. A lot can happen with two months left in the season, and we are catching Pederson on a hot streak (he’s 11 for 30 with five extra-base hits since July 23). But Pederson appears better equipped to finish stronger in 2016.