Joc Pederson reflects on rookie year struggles: ‘No one’s a superstar every day’

Joc Pederson hit 26 home runs with 54 RBI and a .210/.346/.417 split in his rookie year.
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After a whirlwind rookie season, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson is trying to parlay what he learned in his first year in the majors into success in 2016.

One lesson that he learned the hard way last year that he’ll take with him into this season:

"No one’s a superstar every day," Pederson said, via the Orange County Register.

His debut season was a tale of two halves, frontloaded with success that earned him a trip to his first All-Star game and carried him to a sixth-place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year Award voting.

Through the first three months of the season, from April 6 through June 30, the 23-year-old lefty hit 20 home runs with 38 RBI and a .911 OPS in 78 games.

While he was considered the frontrunner to win NL Rookie of the Year throughout that span, Pederson’s production waned tremendously in the final three months of the season.

From July 1 to Oct. 4, Pederson hit .170 with six home runs, 16 RBI, a .584 OPS, and 76 strikeouts versus 37 hits in 73 games, a sharp drop-off from his first-half success.

"I did my best the whole time. It was a learning process, you know," Pederson reflected. "Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to produce over a whole season and that’s what we’re here for."

While Pederson’s downturn in the latter half of the season was a major disappointment to Dodger fans, it served as a valuable learning experience for him, one that may ultimately define his career.

"Sometimes I look at when young hitters go through that, it could be the best thing that could ever happen for their career," said new Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward. "Any time you go through any kind of adversity, any kind of struggle, what you learn from it is so valuable. What I’ve heard him speaking is valuable. And he would never have gotten to that place without the struggle.

"He’s going to be a pure hitter. He is a pure hitter. But he had to go through some stuff to kind of help him recognize some things he needed to work on."

In total, Pederson hit 26 home runs with 54 RBI and a .210/.346/.417 split in his rookie year.

While those numbers fall nowhere near his mid-season projections, they reflect above-average production from a rookie, nonetheless a 23-year-old.

As he approaches a new season equipped with the lessons he learned last year, Pederson’s focus remains on the present.

"Baseball’s a crazy game," he said. "But last year is old news, you know. I don’t even have any thought about last year. I learned from it. I gathered my information and I’m moving forward. There’s no reason to look back."