Don’t Give Up on Joc Pederson Just Yet

Joc Pederson

The Dodgers finished up their Cactus League slate by losing to the White Sox by a 7-3 score in their final game in Arizona. They’ll come home tonight to begin the Freeway series against the Angels before opening the regular season on Thursday afternoon against the Giants at Dodger Stadium. In the meantime the left field position is still technically undecided. Matt Kemp is the front runner to get the opening day nod, and the final two reserve outfield spots are in competition between three players. Those three players are Andrew Toles, Joc Pederson, and Trayce Thompson.

Of course as noted by everyone on the planet every 10 minutes on the internet, (including yours truly), Thompson is out of options. While Thompson is out of options and the Dodgers risk losing him if he’s not on the active roster and with Toles having a solid spring, Pederson has fallen to the bottom of the depth chart.

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It goes without saying that Pederson has done himself no favors. He’s had a dreadful spring. The 25-year old came into today’s game against the White Sox carrying a .170/.250/.298 (8 for 47) with one home run and just four extra-base hits. The word is that the Dodgers are even trying to teach him how to play a little first base. That thought is mind blowing, but let’s stick to one thing at a time here.

Yes Pederson has been terrible. He looks lost at the plate, but let’s not give up on the guy. He’s been a good prospect and a talented young player since he made his MLB debut in blue back in 2014. As a matter of fact, Joc’s contact rate (something that was seen as his primary problem) has improved every year. His K% has decreased from 29.1% in 2015, to 21.1% in 2017. Yes Joc took a step backwards last season after his year was derailed because of injuries. He appeared in only 102 games and tallied only 323 trips to the plate in 2017. However don’t forget about his three home runs in the World Series.

Let’s just not pretend that Joc is something other than what he is. Pederson’s game (Granted a lot of players these days have the same skill set, but it’s still a valuable skill set) is power, walks and defense. As a matter of fact before his injury riddled 2017 season, Joc was an above average center fielder that was able to cover a lot of ground. His range was impressive and his defensive ratings painted the picture of a respectable defender. His total zone fielding runs above average was a +5 rating in 2015, and a +6 in 2016. He made spectacular plays like the one below.

Centerfield is a tough position. Maybe Joc’s days of center field are behind him. It’s funny to say that about a 25-year old, but for arguments sake we’ll play devil’s advocate here and do it. Even if Joc is slated to share left field with Kemp, or serve as a fourth outfielder, he can still be a useful player.

He did belt 25 home runs and 26 home runs from 2015-2016 respectively. Steamer is projecting a .243/.355/.474 line with 19 home runs, 53 runs batted in, a .230 isolated power mark and a wRC+ of 120. I think there is still hope for Joc to be a productive player. So let’s not throw in the towel on him. Don’t give up on Joc just yet.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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48 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up on Joc Pederson Just Yet

  1. 13 pitchers and 8 starters (including Kemp) leave room for a 4 man bench. Kike, Barnes, and Utley make three. So one of the three (Toles, Joc, Thompson) makes it four. Now we have to add one extra to take Turner’s place. Would two of those three make the squad? If Kike goes to 2B then I guess you would need two OF. With the option of moving Taylor back to 2B if needed. I think it will be Toles and Thompson with Joc back to AAA. We shall see.

    1. You are forgetting Farmer. He could slip in there very easily since he plays multiple positions. Position players so far by my book……Taylor, Seager, Forsythe, Bellinger, Barnes, Grandal,, Puig, Kemp, Hernandez, and Utley. Leaves 2 bench spots open. My choice would be Toles and Farmer. But the team might go with 2 outfielders…..Thompson and Pederson. Hoping Thompson gets off to a decent start so they could trade him and get something in return rather than just waiving him at the end of spring.

  2. Joc has been given plenty of rope. To hang himself with. He has not improved in his approach nor does he come into camp lean and mean.

    A few things bother me about major league players. Slow coming back from injury is one. Not being in shape the best shape of your life is another. Joc is the latter. Like I said in my exit review of him months ago, the keys for him are (and has been for the past two years) whether he comes into camp leaner and whether he shows that he’s no longer tinkering with his swing and approach (I.e. did he spend the off season working on his swing so that he’s basically set when ST camp begins rather than using camp to figure things out). He’s failed in both. He’s no longer deserving of a 25 man spot at this point.

    1. “Let’s not give up on him yet”.

      Too late. I traded him for IM space and signed Ohtani. Before that I traded him for Dozier. I also had him in a trade for Archer.

      I like Farmer and Toles. Therefore I predict Pederson and Thompson.

  3. I don’t think this FO is going to allow themselves to give up Thompson for little or next to nothing. Their mantra has been depth and versatility. Thompson – if kept – provides the first. Pederson provides the second, versatility – if they try to adapt him to 1B as has been written about/experimented with.

    I see Thompson on the roster to start the season. No clue if the 2nd person will be Toles, Pederson or Farmer. My guess is Toles.

    1. The only reason they thought about Joc playing first, was because he is left handed, and he may have practiced a little to play first, but he isn’t a first baseman, any more, then Thompson is.

  4. Shake it up good, AAA Joc, AAA Grandal, Keep Thompson, Keep Farmer, Keep Toles. Hey, I can dream can’t I? Based on performance both this spring and thru out last season, you can’t deny my dream.

  5. Scott

    Joc was given centerfield after that terrible first year he had with the bat, and what did he do, he came to spring training at least twenty pounds heavier, the next spring training.

    And the OPS he had at the end of the season, was based on what he did in the last couple months, of the season, it wasn’t like he consistently hit beyond 100 at bats.

    And the next year he came to spring training, he was forty pounds heavier from his first year, and he doesn’t have great speed for a centerfielder.

    And that is why his defense went down!

    Joc has been given three years to prove himself, but he comes to spring training, with no swing, and looking like he doesn’t know how to hit, every year.

    And he still has not hit consistently after three years, so the fact he comes into spring training every year with no real swing, says a lot!

    It doesn’t look like he has done any real work on his swing or his hitting, in the last three off seasons.

    And sorry HRs are not everything.

    I rather have a player that has a little pop, that can put the ball in play, and help the team have a productive offense, that has the appropriate approach, when runners are in scoring position.

    all or nothing hitters, just plug up, any offense a team might have.

    Joc swing and miss numbers might have went down, but everyone of his other numbers, have went down, because he can’t hit the other way, to avoid the shift.

    I feel more for a player like Toles, who had to work hard just to be healthy, for spring training.

    And Toles looks like he is much more prepared then Joc, even though Toles had even more to work on, in the off season, and before that.

    And Toles has hit with every chance he has been given, so I feel for Toles, because it is obvious he looks like the hitter, amongst these two guys.

    And remember, Toles hasn’t seen live pitching, for quite a while, unlike the other two guys.

    But I still think it would be better for Toles to go down to AAA, and get consistent at bats, so he can see more live pitching.

    I am just glad we have Kemp here, to take Joc’s place, because Kemp won’t stop hitting, like Joc has, for two of the last three seasons.

  6. I always liked Joc and MJ and I have had a running argument over the years about that. But he has not improved, he still pulls off the ball and try’s to hit the ball to the next county. His fielding suffered from the weight gain and he has had an awful spring no matter what Dave Roberts says about his approach. So why the hell do they want to keep him on the roster when he is basically an outfielder and nothing else, has options left, and they have at least 4 other players besides Joc who have or can play first? I think it is wishful thinking that suddenly a light bulb will shine above his head and he will get it. Send him down, if he improves all that much better, if not, trade him.

  7. I would agree with this article if only for the fact that our outfield is pretty much set without Joc. We also have Verdugo coming up this year so what’ the point of keeping him? Right now he would just be taking a roster spot from someone else (Farmer?). Joc needs to refigure his game. Perhaps a new location might do the trick.

    1. Verdugo will not see the light of day until at least September unless there is an injury or trade. He still needs to refine his game.

        1. Very true. But one thing this team is loaded with is outfielders. DJ Peters was very impressive. They have quite a few at low and high A ball who really can scorch a ball. I do not think they have to worry about the outfield for some time.

  8. Let’s do give up on Joc. MJ has it exactly right. Every opportunity Joc has had, he has blown. It is like he lacks focus or heart. It is time for the Dodgers to move on. I do not think they can trade him as he has a terrible track record in the majors. They could move Kemp easier than Joc. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

    1. Sounds like everyone but Scott is done with Joc. Send him to AAA with orders to lose weight and gain contact skills.

        1. MJ, he is only 26. He’s yet to lose the pounds he’s put up the last two years and I also don’t think he’s by any means slim. I had expected him to come in like Puig last year.

          1. YF

            He has lost some weight, but not all of the weight he has put on, since his first year.

            That is why I said he was a little slimmer.

  9. A bunch of players getting sent down and also released by other clubs….Phils locked up their best prospect for 6 years….seems to me FAZ could learn from that and lock up Corey and Cody before they are so expensive that the team lets them walk. Remember Seager is now entering his 3rd year and is still basically getting a rookie’s salary. D-Backs look like they are giving up on Tomas sending him to Reno.

  10. Exhibit A of a slow healer is Kashmir, who’s been giving excuse after excuse. I do respect professional athletes but sometimes fans are right.

    Kashmir just got released by the Braves for arm fatigue. This time Kazmir says he didn’t know that he was due to pitch the next day and mistakenly threw a 90+ plus bullpen session the day before, resulting in his fastball mph being under 88. Give me a break.

  11. For whatever the reason, Joc has decided not to do what Dodger folks have advised him to do. Personally, I think he must be hardheaded. Who would give up a major league career to just get fat and never try and improve. He might be a good kid but I guess you can’t tell him anything?

  12. I don’t even know why Roberts said this will be a competition in leftfield.

    Because Toles was doing really well, but then Roberts didn’t start him for five straight games.

    And during that time, Toles only had four or five at bats.

    And Joc got most of those starts.

    It was like Roberts was trying to jump start Joc, and eliminate all of Joc’s competition, by not starting Toles and Thompson, in those five are six games.

    And once again, Joc is starting tonight.

  13. Heyman’s latest power rankings has the Dodgers at 5. Behind Houston, Yankees, nats and one other.

    But he also had the following to mention that I include mostly for the great Badger:
    The story of the spring was Matt Kemp’s emergence as a key Dodgers piece (after his trade value was proven to be nil, as expected), and this would be quite a comeback considering all that happened with him in Atlanta.

    1. Bluto that sounds more like an article that you purposely want to talk about, because it mentions what you thought was Matt Kemp’s value, not Badger.

        1. I asked Bluto his definition of value and got a vague answer as I recall. I think he has only been talking about trade value and is ignoring the value Kemp has to our team. I think he has offensive worth and if he makes the starting lineup it will prove that FAZ agrees with those of us who believe he indeed has value.

    1. Actually on seeing the replay, there was no chance to make that catch. Joc was off balance because he ran into the wall. Running hard!

      Spring training for me too 🙂

        1. Badger
          I told you before. If you were the GM the Dodgers would be a lot better off. We might have 3 more GOOD starters.

    1. Mr Norris
      Just watching tonight’s game and saw Grandal with Wally Moon’s number and got to feeling really ill.

      1. Same feeling I get Package seeing Kike wearing Hodges #14. Hodges belongs in the hall. He was the best Dodger first baseman EVER! His numbers are equal to HOFer Tony Perez of the Reds. Gil was the best 1B of his era in the NL.

  14. Let’s take a poll. Who’s a believer in Puig and Taylor having better years this year than last year, in terms of WAR?

    I think both make the all star game this year!

    1. I think Puig is going to top 30 dingers. I think Taylor might see a slight drop in power, but his average and defense will go up some. It is beginning to look like Toles is going to start the year at AAA with Verdugo so he can get regular playing time and Joc is going to make the team over Thompson since he will be the only LH hitting outfielder.

      1. Contributors, yes. All Stars? Not likely. Blackmon and Harper are much better bets, and looking around the league there are many good outfielders. It’s true that the voting base in Los Angeles is several times the size of others, but based on performance I can see Yelich, Pham, Cain, Inciarte, and maybe Santana all outperforming our guys. Could be close of course, but our stars are more likely to be Kershaw, Jansen, Seager and Bellinger. The AL has the depth of right field stars now with Stanton switching leagues, so if Puig starts hot he has a shot. Personally I don’t believe Taylor will match last year’s numbers. Projection sites don’t believe so either.

  15. Pederson and Farmer will get the last 2 roster spots…..my prediction. They will send Toles to OKC, and Thompson will be put on waivers unless a miracle trade happens. Pitching staff is set.

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