Joc Pederson at a turning point in his Dodger career 2018 could be Pederson's final season in a Dodger uniform ... if 2017 already wasn't

When the Dodgers selected Joc Pederson in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California, they did do without a lot of hype or fanfare. It didn’t take long, however, for the 6′-1″ / 220-pound left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder to move up on the Dodgers minor league depth chart, and by the time he hit Triple-A Oklahoma City, he was ranked among the Dodgers – and minor league baseball’s – top outfield prospects with his outstanding combined MiLB slash-line of .298 / .401 / .515 for an alien-like .916 OPS.

But even though @yungjoc650 (as he is known by on Twitter) was selected to the All-Star Game in 2015 (and also competed in the Home Run Derby), and even though he finished sixth in the 2015 National League Rookie of the Year voting, his five seasons in the bigs thus far – including the 18 games in which he played after his September 1 call-up in 2014 – have not gone well … at least with his bat.

In his combined 1,422 plate appearances over 408 major league games, the son of former Dodger Stu Pederson – who played in a grand total of eight MLB games – has a combined four-year MLB slash-line of .222 / .345 / .435 for an OPS of .780, which are probably not the offensive numbers the Dodgers were hoping for out of him. In fact, in his combined 1,187 at-bats, Joc has been struck out 379 times while walking only 203 times. This calculates to Pederson striking out in 26.6 percent of his plate appearances while walking in only 14.28 percent of them.

That being said, Pederson does have 62 career home runs, which figures out to hitting a home run every 22.9 plate appearances. As a basis of comparison, Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager averages one for every 27.2 plate appearances and right fielder Yasiel Puig one for every 27.3 plate appearances. In case you were wondering, Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger averaged one home run every 14.1 plate appearances during his 2017 NL Rookie of the Year season.

When Pederson makes contact, he usually hits the ball a very long way. In fact, many believe that he will be the next Dodger to hit one completely out of Dodger Stadium … if he remains a Dodger, that is.
(Photo credit – Ron Cervenka)

The point here is that, although Pederson has some pop when he hits the ball, he isn’t hitting the ball anywhere near as well as he did in the minors. And while this is most certainly to be expected when facing the best pitchers in the world, his career .222 batting average is absolutely unacceptable for a guy hoping to be an everyday outfielder on a team with a lot of MLB-ready and near MLB-ready outfielders currently on their 40-man roster and in the high minors.

The good news is that Pederson has proven himself to be a very good defensive outfield. In fact, out of 694 total career chances, Joc made only seven errors for an excellent .990 fielding percentage. This ranks right up there with the career numbers of guys named Mike Trout (.993) and Christian Yelich (.992). (Note: Yelich had a .997 FPCT in 2017 … just saying).

Among the Dodgers outfielders currently on the team’s pre-spring training 25-man roster, Puig and Kiké Hernandez have an identical .986 career FPCT and Chris Taylor a career .989 FPCT. As for Matt Kemp, he has a career .983 FPCT which, yet again, raises the burning question ‘What were you thinking?’ when Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi reacquired the now 33-year-old onetime Dodger fan-favorite … other than to dump the enormous contracts of now former Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, of course.

For as weak as his hitting may be, Pederson’s defense is among the very best in the game.
(Photo credit – Jon SooHoo)

So here we are. The Dodgers have an All-Star-caliber defensive outfielder who can barely hit his weight (if he hasn’t gained any, that is) with a stable full of far better hitting outfielders currently in their midst.

Simply put, if the Dodgers do not trade Joc Pederson to acquire a much-needed starting pitcher in the next couple of weeks (say… like… Jake Arrieta) or for a much better all-around outfielder (say… like… that Yelich fellow) … he gone.


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12 Responses to “Joc Pederson at a turning point in his Dodger career 2018 could be Pederson's final season in a Dodger uniform ... if 2017 already wasn't

  1. SoCalBum says:

    Hopefully Joc realizes his future is literally in his own hands. With a Chris Taylor/Justin Turner/Andrew Toles/Corey Seager/Cody Bellinger/et al work ethic and commitment to full utilization of his talents, Pederson can become a perennial all star and make more than $100MM in his career. Or, he can continue on the path we have all watched over the last couple of years and become another prospect who failed to live up to his promise.

    • Bumsrap says:

      Joc is doing to me what Loney did to me. I loved both and the latter never did as well as I wanted him to do. I guess we will get our first clue about the 2018 Joc when we see if he reports to spring training lighter.

      Joc’s body type reminds me of Duke Snider, neither have a chiseled body like Mays had. I think if he gets back to his 2016 weight it will help him. I also think that his concussion has a lingering affect on him both offensively and defensively.

      I grew up with Snider, Mays, and Mantle in center field and would love to have that kind of power in center field again for the Dodgers. That guy would be Joc if he has longer hot streaks and shorter cold streaks.

  2. lindav says:

    All of the above is true. I’ve watched him as a person at ST since he became a Dodger and he totally ignores the fans – it’s like we are lepers and wouldn’t stop to give us the time of day. Not my favorite person.

    • SoCalBum says:

      Not my experience. Wife and I were on back fields last ST watching the prospects working out on 3 diamonds, an infield practice area, and bunting drill area. Joc came by and spoke with several of us and signed a couple of autographs. Joc was accommodating to all of the fans who were polite and not pushy.

  3. SoCalBum says:

    by the way, I don’t see Dodgers signing any of this year’s free agents who received qualifying offers as it would result in losing its 2nd and 5th highest draft picks in the June draft and losing $1MM from its upcoming international budget pool

  4. baseball1439 says:

    Pederson is a big disappointment to me, most likely this is his last chance with the Dodgers.I hope he can show in spring training that he can be the player the Dodgers once thought he could be, but I’m not counting on that happening.

  5. oldbrooklynfan says:

    As far as I can see, if Pederson doesn’t perform a lot better this year than we have seen so far, his games as a Dodger are definitely numbered. I can’t see how he can go on with all the talent there is in baseball today.

  6. Boxout7 says:

    I also want 25 yr old Pederson to figure it out in 2018. I hope he makes us glad we didn’t trade for Yelich.

    Is this his last chance with the Dodgers? I don’t think so, with youth and POTENTIAL at a small cost ($2.6M), he is a very valuable asset. He has tantalized enough to keep the Dodgers “hoping” all the way thru 2020, his last year of team control, unless he brings back something very good in the meantime.

    It truly is a balancing act for the front-office, Pederson, today, has three years of cheap team control left, his trade value may never be higher than right now. I am sure his name was mentioned to the Marlins when Dodgers talked about Yelich, Pederson and “something” could be just what the Marlins are looking for after that big playoff performance or a hot 2018 spring training.

    • Ron Cervenka says:

      I think F&Z have been more than patient and accommodating for @yungjoc650. I also believe that because of the outfield depth they have behind him, that “…has three years of cheap team control left…” thing has pretty much run out of gas, as has their patience with him to fully develop as an everyday outfielder.

      As you noted, Mattingly is very partial when it comes to current and former Dodgers. A Mattingly-Pederson reunion is most certainly not beyond the realm of possibility … if you get my drift.

      • SoCalBum says:

        Pederson to Marlins makes sense, of course my preference is for Dodgers to include him in a package for Yelich. But right now, I would not object to a Pederson for Derek Dietrich trade as I believe Toles, Verdugo, Diaz, Kendall, and Peters have better upside.

        • Boxout7 says:

          Can’t argue with what both of you guys say. Dodgers have been “patient and accommodating” and the organization has good options in the outfield besides Pederson. Although, I do think Dietrich is selling too low. As fans, Pederson has been very frustrating, with many ready to cast him aside now.

          My only point is, even after all our frustration, Pederson is still potentially a HUGE trade piece. I think Dodgers value Pederson very much the same as the Cubs value Kyle Schwarber. He is young, cheap with all the “power” potential in the world. That is VERY valuable and won’t change until after the 2020 season. So I don’t believe we have seen the last of Pederson in a Dodger uniform unless we are pleasantly surprised on what he brings back to the Dodgers in a trade prior to 2020.

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