At the start of the year I was not Joc’s biggest fan, in fact I didn’t think he should have been starting on Opening Day or even at all for the first few weeks but now my view was completely swung. He has gone from being an automatic out into someone who I trust to hit the long ball and get the job done.
However, there is no way Joc is ready for the lead off spot just yet. There are some things lately that need to be pointed out such as his need to hit homeruns from the first pitch.
There is no doubt that Joc can hit a long ball. In fact his homerun today was an absolute bomb. The only problem was before that Joc was 0-3 with 3 K’s. In the first inning, batting lead off the count was 1-1 and Joc took an almighty off balance swing and missed it. Some will say that is good batting and he was trying to use his power but that isn’t what the lead off spot is about.
OBP is the best measure of who should lead off in my opinion and then the speed and ability to steal comes next. Joc has some speed, his 30 homerun, 30 stolen base year last year in AAA showed that, but as Vin Scully and others have pointed out early on this year, he hasn’t been in the MLB for long enough to know all the pitchers moves and also what they do toward the plate.
If Donnie wants to kick-start his career bat him 5 or 6 and let him go the fences when the time is right. If there is a shift on hit it the other way please Joc and get yourself a base hit to get the average up and get the people drooling over you and your abilities.
All I am worried about now for Joc is that if he does try to clobber everything and not much comes off, because inevitably there will be a slump one day in the future, he will get disheartened and the rest of his game will fall very quickly. If Joc learns early how to hit the breaking stuff of the best in the game, not necessarily for homeruns, but just for base hits and bunts when he has to then he will be, maybe one day, an all star.
If Pederson keeps batting leadoff then so be it as he can definitely use the speed to the advantage, but for the love of God Joc please don’t try to hit every single at bat for a home run. Use you big monster swings when there are two outs and no one on or something, just be smart.
The other thing that Joc has really shown he can do under pressure and when it matters is use the glove and he robs base hits. Although he will never have the range of some gold glove centre fielders Joc does know how to make a catch and make it look good too.
Some of the things he has done haven’t been as good as described but they’ve been good. His reads of balls and ability to get the right bit of the glove onto things are amazing but I haven’t seen him make the amazing, all star play yet but he sure is better than others that the Dodgers have had over the past few years. I’m looking at you Matt Kemp and Scott Van Slyke…
His defense and offence has combined added up to a 1.4 WAR already this year, after 20 odd games this is somewhat outstanding, and has just been visually stunning. The kid is going to be a star he just needs to rein in the power and help this powerhouse team to becoming the 2015 World Series Champions