Joc Pederson had quite a whirlwind season for the Dodgers in 2017. After being demoted to the minors, he fought his way back and made a significant post-season impact.
Joc Pederson ended his 2017 season on a high note in the World Series, but he almost became an afterthought due to a mediocre regular season. The Dodgers had high hopes for Joc this season due to the improvements he made in 2016. Last year after an up and down rookie season, Joc improved his OPS by almost 100 points and saw his average and on-base percentage rise.
After those improvements were made in 2016, the Dodgers expected Joc to take another step forward this year, but that was certainly not the case. This year, Pederson never seemed to find his groove, and it seemed as though he was continually changing his batting stance. Whether it was crouching down more in his batting stance, rocking his bat less, or minimizing his front foot leg kick, Joc seemed to keep tinkering his stances, and it led to a miserable season.
Overal for the 2017 regular season campaign, Joc hit .212 with a .738 OPS while blasting eleven home runs in 273 at-bats. After the Dodgers acquired Curtis Granderson in August, the Dodgers demoted Joc to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Joc continued to struggle in the minors and it appeared his status with the Dodgers was rapidly fading. Not only was Joc’s offense slumping but according to the defensive runs saved stat, Joc had a -12 DRS rating. It became clear that Joc could no longer get to balls he did as a rookie in center field for whatever reason.
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To be honest, I am not sure why the Dodgers put Joc Pederson on the post-season roster, but it was a good thing the Dodgers did. After Granderson continued to slump, the Dodgers made the call to put Joc on the NLCS and World Series roster. In the World Series Joc was one of the Dodgers most productive players. He hit .333 with three home runs and five runs batted in, in the World Series. Whatever the reason was, Joc shined on the game’s biggest stage.
There is a good chance that Pederson’s World Series performance earned him another shot on the 2018 roster. If Joc had gone away quietly this season, then it would not have surprised me if the Dodgers started him in Triple-A next year. Given the Dodgers outfield depth with highly regarded prospect Alex Verdugo, and the return of Andrew Toles, Joc might have been lost in the mix had he not had a big World Series. For now, anyways, he saved his Dodger career and is going to compete for the starting left field job in spring training. Barring a big trade or free agent signing, Joc should be considered the favorite to start in left field next season against right-handed starting pitchers.
My favorite part of Joc’s season was his World Series performance. When Joc first came up, he was my favorite player, so I enjoyed seeing him rise to the occasion in the World Series. Whether it was playing with nothing to lose or just the fact that the adrenaline of playing in the World Series amped him up, it was clear that Joc was a different player in the World Series. Not only was his performance stellar, but seeing Joc once again play with a lot of emotion and joy was a pleasant sight to see.
Although Joc had a very good World Series performance, his grade for the season as a whole is a D. With his defense continuing to get worse, and his offense struggling throughout the majority of the regular season, it was not a good season at all for Joc. The only thing keeping his season from being a total failure was his strong World Series showing. The Dodgers need to hope that Joc has a bounceback year like Yasiel Puig did this season after he was demoted to the minors last year. 2018 will likely be the last shot Joc will get to earn a starting spot with the outfield prospects the Dodgers have coming through the farm system.