Dodgers: Joc Pederson’s Journey Back to the Home Run Derby
2016–2017: He Gets Knocked Down, Gets Back Up, and Gets Knocked Down Yet Again
Joc started the 2016 season off fairly well, especially in comparison to his 2015 season’s end. He hit .266 with 3 home runs to begin his season, and unlike 2016, he would actually have two months in which he hit for a higher average than his March/April average.
But the road to his decent season was not a straight one, but actually, one that improved with time. After hitting .236 with 13 home runs in the first half, Pederson’s scorching September (.286 with 7 home runs) lifted his second-half numbers to total 12 home runs with a .260 average.
At the end of 2016, he finished the season with 25 home runs and a .246 average in 137 games (he battled injury in July), a marked improvement from his 2015 second-half.
Joc Pop’s first half of 2017 did not go quite as well as his 2016 campaign though. Across 35 games Pederson hit only 2 home runs in what was becoming a more concrete role for the former All-Star: platoon bat.
But June Gloom brought redemption for the struggling Pederson in 2017, as he hit .304 with 6 home runs in 18 June games before hitting .264 with 3 homers in July. But coming out of the All-Star break he struggled yet again, even more so than he did early on in the season hitting .156 with 2 home runs in 28 games after the break.
On August 19, 2017, he was sent down. The former so-called savior of the franchise, the beloved home run hitting Pederson was sent down, a la the demotion of Yasiel Puig, but not for personality flaws, but for performance issues.
Upon returning, Joc hit poorly still, lacking power and not earning the consistent playing time he needed to really regain his stroke in September. He was left off the NLDS roster. But he was added to the NLCS roster against the Cubs, going 1-5 with a double across 3 games played in that series.
And somehow that was enough to make the World Series roster, thanks mostly to ineffectiveness and injury in other parts of the lineup.