Dodgers: Joc Pederson reunion comes at awkward time for both parties

Adam Weinrib
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 25: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 25: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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The world-beating Los Angeles Dodgers instead find themselves in the midst of a losing jag, having dropped 10 of 13 games prior to a Sunday drubbing of a Brewers hurler making his MLB debut.

Joc Pederson? He’s in Chicago with the Cubs now, where LA begins a three-game set on Tuesday afternoon, one day later than scheduled due to impending storms.

Coincidentally, that’s exactly what both Pederson and the Dodgers have battled back against during the left fielder’s first-ever season away from the club that raised him.

Pederson was activated from an IL stint just in time to meet his old team in the trenches, and his eight spring training homers have…not exactly translated to regular-season competition.

Needless to say, this is not how either party wanted to encounter each other for the first time in 2021.

The Dodgers have dropped numerous outfielders and numerous games, but Pederson knows that even if they’d kept him, he wouldn’t have been much help either.

The Dodgers and Joc Pederson are reuniting at an awkward time.

It’s always uncomfortable running into an ex, and unfortunately, both the Dodgers and Pederson are catching each other at their lowest.

Will Los Angeles rebound from losing Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry long-term, as well as Chris Taylor and Mookie Betts for short stretches? Quite likely. Despite the current prognosis, the outfield is not the team’s weakness, and they were still justified in letting Kiké Hernández and Pederson pursue other unemployment.

Will Pederson rebound at the friendly confines, though? Eh…it’s not so cut-and-dried.

Through just 51 at-bats, the smallest of small sample sizes, he unfortunately sports an expected batting average (XBA) of .170, in the lowest 2% of all major leaguers, as well as a .304 XSLG, in the bottom 8%.

Generally known as a launch angle embracer, that number is actually up from 2020 (13.2 vs 12.5), but that’s one of very few encouraging signs in the profile. His barrel percentage has dropped from 10.3% to 6.3%, and his average exit velocity is down over four MPH.

Whether Pederson’s profile bounces back after an injury-shortened first month feels irrelevant right now, though. Uncomfortably, he’s encountered a Dodgers team that’s hurting, but likely doesn’t have the confidence to proclaim himself a difference-maker. Not the mindset either party wanted to enter this showdown in.

Hopefully he gets a crack at his ex-teammates in the nightcap.

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