As the Dodgers look to clinch a seventh straight NL West title, Joc Pederson is making a strong case at the plate to start in the postseason.
As exciting it would be for the Dodgers to clinch at home this weekend against the San Francisco Giants, the players have a different worry in mind. With so many hot bats at the moment, there is a competitive nature lingering in the clubhouse as to who will be making starts this postseason, and Pederson is not taking any chances.
JocPop has had a rollercoaster of a season, from hot streaks to slumps and from playing first base to being moved back to the outfield. The 28-year-old is vying for his start in the postseason.
On the year, Pederson is hitting only .245 but has made up for it with his power as he has 32 home runs and a WAR of 2.7. Throughout the season he has had several ups and downs. He came in hot to start off the year hitting .292 and an OPS of 1.142 in the first eight games and then began to go into a slump.
He would continue to go on these hot streaks, but would then start to fizzle out, often costing him spots in the starting lineup.
In order to try and get Pederson into the everyday lineup, manager Dave Roberts decided to give him a chance at first base. Pederson proved that he was ready to commit and wanted to help the team in any way, although it was not as successful as many would have hoped.
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Things began to quiet down for him here and there, that is until recently. Just in this recent series versus the Colorado Rockies, he went 6 for 7 with four home runs. He also had a stretch where he hit five home runs in five at-bats.
Not only is he making great strides as a hitter again, but he is showcasing his incredible ability in the outfield as a defensive player.
Although Pederson is making a clear case as to why he should be a starter, it definitely brings up the question of rookie Alex Verdugo.
Verdugo has been incredibly hot this season, he is hitting .294 and has an OPS of .817. Unfortunately, Verdugo was placed on the IL with an oblique strain.
He was expected to return soon, but during his rehab with the Ogden Raptors Verdugo faced setbacks with a back strain and now his timeline is uncertain. It seems Pederson decided to take this as an opportunity to showcase himself as he still has other competition with several utility players that are coming in hot such as Matt Beaty.
With Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock being likely locks in the outfield come October, Pederson is going to find himself in a battle for playing time along with Verdugo. Regardless of the outcome of the starting lineup in the postseason, we can only hope Pederson continues to ride this wave and helps the Dodgers secure countless wins, 11 to be exact, for the upcoming playoffs.