Joc Pederson was honored with his first All-Star selection on Monday, joining a few of his Dodger teammates. Right now he's third in the National League in walks (56), fifth in home runs (20), and 10th in slugging % (.502).
He also has a chance to be a starter if Matt Holliday can't comeback from a quad injury.
Things are going very well for him, no doubt.
But now comes a dose of reality: Pederson has struggled more and more as each month passes by.
Here are the numbers to prove it, as we look at his average and slugging % by the month:
April: .298 AVG, .596 SLG
May: .236 AVG, .519 SLG
June: .222 AVG, .495 SLG
July (5 games): .059 AVG, .111 SLG
No matter who the player is, those aren't pretty numbers that continue to dip more and more each month.
Look, I'm a big fan of Pederson. It's hard not to like a guy who can patrol center and make amazing catches with such ease. He sure as heck is a big upgrade from watching Matt Kemp struggle there at the beginning of last season, giving away one run after another.
This isn't about his defense at all. In 164 total chances this year, he only has two errors, good for a .988 fielding %. He's quickly turned himself into one of the best defensive outfielders in the game.
I'm focusing solely on his numbers at the plate, where he's regressed a little more and more as the season has gone on. He puts all of his eggs in one basket, as he's all about the power. Well, over his last 13 games, he's hit two doubles and one homer. Everyone goes through slumps, but he only has six hits total over the span, so it's not like he has a Plan B to go to.
One area that he's been consistent in is unfortunately strikeouts. Over that same 13-game span, he's struck out a whopping 17 times. In fact, he's currently leading the National League in strikeouts at 99, placing him fourth in all of baseball. I know power guys will experience their fair share of K's, but it's getting harder to ignore when it seems like every game lately he's walking back to the dugout instead of around the bases after a big hit.
By the way, here's his strikeouts by the month: 22, 37, 35, 5. That's a lot of swings, and a lot of misses.
I'm not trying to rain on Pederson's parade, as based on his overall play, he deserves to be in the Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati. Along with guys like Kris Bryant and Carlos Correa, he's one of the most exciting young players in the game.
But I am saying that there's still plenty of room for improvement, and it starts with the little things like cutting down on his swing with two strikes, and not being so "homer happy" in any circumstance. As the Dodgers go through the ebb and flow of scoring runs, he's a huge part of that hitting leadoff most games.
Some adjustments at the plate can go a long way. He just needs to embrace that.