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Bullish or Bearish: Joc Pederson

By Matthew Kirkeby - 4 years ago in MLB News

Joc Pederson

Joc Pederson

Another Dodger prospect with more hype than output, Joc Pederson tore through the minors looking like a potential 30/30 guy with plus power and speed.  His rookie year in 2014 started with a bang; after 56 games, he was hitting .262 with 17 homeruns.  As if his fast start led him straight into a brick wall, he did very little over the rest of the season, finishing with a .210 average and a less impressive 26 homeruns on the year.  He hit 25 homeruns in 2016, improving his isolated power from .206 to a strong .249, but was platooned all year and finished with an uninspiring .246 average.  At .211 in 150 plate appearances Pederson has done nothing to make DFS owners look his way so far in 2016.  However, batting average is a surface stat subject to luck and if we don’t filter that luck out, it’s impossible to know the truth behind a player’s performance and predict his rest of season output.

Pederson is showing improvement

Pederson has an excellent eye at the plate, posting elite walk rates over each of the last two years (15.7% and 13.2%) and while his 10.7% looks like a step back, it is still well above average and suggests he is trying to do more with his bat to produce at a higher level.  To support that claim, we can look to his outside swing % (percent of pitches outside the zone at which he swings).  While this has always been an area of strength, it is down by 2% in 2017 to an impressive 25.3%.

Looking for more signs of improvement, his swinging strike rate has decreased from 14.0% (very bad) in 2015, to 10.0% in 2017 (very reasonable).  This corroborates his improved Strikeout rate of 24%, which is below average, but again, reasonable for a hitter with his kind of power.  He has also reduced his soft contact rate from 20.4% in 2015 to a measly 15.1%.  Couple that a 20.4% line drive rate and it’s easy to see that he is hitting the ball very hard.

Joc Pederson

It could be time to play him

His BABIP of .258 suggests some room to improve that average, especially for a lefthander with Joc’s speed.  While one may worry about him only having 4 homeruns, keep in mind that power is very streaky, and it can take a full season of plate appearances for those numbers to stabilize.  In reality, we should not be putting any weight into that.  Going one step further, after a few weeks on the DL, he has been back for 6 games and two of those homeruns came in the last three games, so he may be coming on.

He hit leadoff on Sunday which is something that would greatly improve his output so watch batting order.  Further he has a career .358 wOBA against right-handed pitchers, so you definitely want to play him against righties because your chances of scoring big with Pederson in your lineup are greatly improved this way.  At $3,100 going into Monday, the price looks right.

I am BULLISH on Joc Pederson. 

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