The Dodgers season is still young but the team is starting to learn more about where each of their players stand this season. Joc Pederson had a slow start to the season but is once again showing his worth.
It wasn’t that long ago that Dodger fans were clamoring for Joc Pederson to be sent to AAA and Andrew Toles to come up. While Joc certainly had a slow start to the season, it’s important to remember that the season is still young and that each player’s sample size for this season was extremely small.
Fast forward to Saturday’s doubleheader day against the Giants, and it’s clear that Joc Pederson still belongs on the big league roster. Even with a 0-2 game in the nightcap of the doubleheader, Joc Pederson finished both games 4-7 thanks to a 4-5 game in the early portion of the doubleheader.
Joc did not strike out once in both games and that is something that has sparked Joc’s turnaround. In the last seven games, Pederson is hitting .412 with a ridiculous .545 OBP and only three strikeouts. When you expand that to the last fifteen games, Joc has a .353 batting average with a .488 OBP. As the stats sit Saturday night, Joc Pederson has a .273 average with a .394 on-base percentage and an OPS above .800.
It appears that Joc Pederson is starting to heat up and that is a very good thing for the Dodgers slumping offense. Joc is capable of playing left field or center field for the Dodgers and if Joc is in center, the Dodgers could shift Chris Taylor to second base if they do not get steady production from their second basemen.
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Without Matt Kemp in left field, the Dodgers defense is also upgraded by Joc playing in left field. Joc has way more mobility in left field than Kemp and has shown flashes of brilliance on his diving catches. While Joc may be an average to below average center fielder, left field is a different story. It is a known fact that the Dodgers’ front office loves versatility and Joc Pederson provides them with plenty of that.
This season is a make or break year for Joc Pederson’s Dodger career. The Dodgers are excellent at developing outfielders and they have plenty of minor leaguers just chomping at the bit to get a shot. In Triple-A the Dodgers have Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo. Double-A Tulsa has DJ Peters and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga has former first-round pick Jeren Kendall.
If Joc Pederson wants to be a part of the Dodgers’ long-term plan, he needs to have a strong season and stave off the competition that is trying to take his spot. Joc proved in the World Series that he is capable of delivering in the biggest moments, and that is a trait that cannot be taught. Despite April being just about over, there are still five more months left in the season and it will be fun to see how Joc Pederson progresses as the season nears its end.