Player Analysis: Joc Pederson

For the first article of this new player analysis column, I decided to breakdown Joc Pederson. I chose him because when I visited Baseball Savant’s website he was listed as the top trending player with an increase of 1445%. I checked to see if I had missed something in the news about Pederson but I didn’t find anything worth noting so the spike in popularity is a mystery. Regardless, Pederson is a well-known player and one who seems like a good candidate to analyze.

Background

Joc Pederson is currently 27 years old and was an 11th round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2010 out of high school. 2020 will be his 7th year at the major league level. He ranks as an above-average player at the major league level with a lot of power and with his young age he could still have a major upside. He will be a free agent after this season so we may get to see how a new environment impacts Pederson. We almost saw him in an Angels uniform this season until the trade fell through. So, this is a crucial season for Pederson if he hopes to cash in this offseason.

What He Brings to the Table

Pederson has a good bat but a bellow average glove. In the past 4 years, he has finished with a negative defensive WAR. However, almost every season he finishes with a high offensive WAR.

Data via FanGraphs

These numbers lead me to believe that he is more likely to end up in the American League after this season. He seems like a better fit as a DH at some point in his near future if not in 2021.

Pederson’s bat is improving which is his most valuable attribute. The past two seasons his batting average has only changed by one point but he has increased his OBP by 18 points. He also crushed 36 home runs last year and 25 the year before that. Pederson brings a lot of power to the table and is getting better at getting on base making him very valuable at the plate.

How He Can Improve

As I have already mentioned the thing that Pederson needs to improve upon the most is his defense. Although, at the end of the day it’s going to be his bat that depends on how much he gets paid this offseason.

At the plate he is a fastball hitter. He hits fastballs better than any other pitch.

There is no variation between seasons either. He consistently has struggled with breaking balls and offspeed pitches in comparison to his ability to hit fastballs. It’s more than just swinging and missing too. He doesn’t hit them hard even when he does make contact with them.

So, hitting offspeed and breaking ball pitches is something that he can improve upon. Unfortunately, his struggle with breaking balls doesn’t come from chasing them. He actually has better discipline at the plate when it comes to the pitches he struggles with.

This chart indicates to me that Joc knows that he is a fastball hitter, well obviously most hitters are. When he sees a fastball he is more likely to swing at it because he knows that he has a better chance of hitting the ball.

So for Joc to improve he just has to find a way to improve his ability to hit pitches other than fastballs. This improvement will come with time which shows me his potential to be really good.

Conclusion

Joc Pederson is an outfielder with a lot of power but lacks the ability to be a solid defender. He is improving as an all-around hitter which makes him an even bigger weapon at the plate. This season will be huge for him as if he produces like last season he will have the ability to sign a lucrative contract in the offseason. With his bat he will rank among some of the best power hitters in the game in the coming years and if he continues to get better as predicted his prime will be something to watch.