Outfielder Joc Pederson has come to epitomize the modern ballplayer; he’ll swing for the fences, and when not swinging right, more often than not, the ball finds itself in the catcher’s mitt.
The veteran outfielder owns a career .230 batting average over parts of 7 seasons, though we’ve come to see how batting average isn’t always the best barometer of offensive performance.
Despite an average that resides in the neighborhood of Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn, Pederson has been a valuable contributor at the big league level and for a loaded Los Angeles Dodgers team. For his career, Pederson owns a 116 OPS+ - 16-percent above league average - as well as an .806 OPS.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Pederson struggled, hitting just .190 over 43 games, but managed to do build on a strong showing in the 2019 postseason, where he slugged .600 in the Dodgers’ early exit versus the eventual World Champion Washington Nationals. In a 2020 that saw the Dodgers win their first title since 1988, Pederson was among their biggest spark plugs. In 37 plate appearances, Pederson starred, slashing .382/.432/.559, punctuated by a home run off of Tyler Glasnow in Game 5 of the World Series.
For his postseason career - now at 64 games - Pederson owns a slash line of .272/.359/.503, including 9 home runs. In the 2020 postseason, Pederson posted a cWPA (Championship Win Probability Added) of 11.85-percent, second to eventual series MVP, shortstop Corey Seager.
With Pederson now a free agent, his recent postseason success and overall solid track record thus far will make him a wanted commodity on the free agent market.
Team’s such as the Chicago Cubs, who just recently non-tendered their left fielder, Kyle Schwarber, could look to replace that lost power in their outfield.
As is the case for the Miami Marlins, not only would Pederson do just that, but he, along with Corey Dickerson, could make for a formidable platoon in left field.
The case for the platoon is such; both know how to handle right-handed pitching.
For Dickerson, the former All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner owns a .289/.333/.524/.858 slash line over 2401 plate appearances against righties. When it comes to lefties though, Dickerson’s OPS dips to .713.
Pederson owns a career .501 slugging percentage in 2132 plate appearances against righties against just a .310 mark against lefties. Despite a rough 2020, Pederson is just one year removed from a 2019 which saw him hit 36 home runs - all of which came against right-handed pitching - and finish with a career-best 127 OPS+. For a team who finished a combined OPS+ of 92 (15th, MLB), this makes Pederson far-more enticing.
Defensively, Pederson provides versatility in the outfield, appearing at all three positions there over the course of his career. Pederson also had a 20 game cameo at first base in 2019, but was moved back to the outfield following 6 errors and -5 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved).
However, with the bevy of young outfielders the team has, with the likes of Lewis Brinson, Harold Ramirez, Monte Harrison, Magneuris Sierra, and Jesus Sanchez all vying for playing time, don’t put it past new GM Kim Ng to search for options in-house.