Dodgers ridiculous rookie Joc Pederson homers for the fifth straight game

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Wednesday night Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson homered for the fifth consecutive game, adding to what has been an incredible start for the 23-year-old rookie.

Five straight games with a home run ties the Dodgers’ franchise record, which Pederson now shares with Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Shawn Green, and Roy Campanella.

And not only does Pederson have 17 homers in 53 games, his home runs have traveled an average of 428 feet to lead all of baseball. He’s crushing pitches.

In addition to the spectacular power Pederson has also shown incredible patience at the plate, drawing 35 walks in 53 games. He’s hitting a modest .267, but all the power and patience combine to give him a lofty .393 on-base percentage and .606 slugging percentage.

Here’s a list of the highest OPS totals by a 23-year-old center fielder in MLB history:

Willie Mays       1954     1.078
Mickey Mantle     1955     1.042
Ken Griffey Jr.   1993     1.025
Al Simmons        1925     1.018
Ty Cobb           1910     1.008
JOC PEDERSON      2015      .999

Pederson has only played one-third of a season, but even with that caveat being on a list like that where the five guys ahead of him are all Hall of Famers (or soon to be Hall of Famers) is remarkable.

He’s currently out-hitting the other 23-year-old center fielder for a California team, reigning MVP Mike Trout, who has a measly* .932 OPS for the Angels this season.

* Note: .932 is a really, really good OPS.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.