Dodgers Outfield: What Role Will Joc Pederson Play in 2019?


The recent jettison by the Dodgers of fan favorites Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp (and the assumption that the front office has no interest in signing Bryce Harper) means that the outfield pictures is a bit more clear.

The starting outfield figures to be Cody Bellinger in center, and Joc Pederson in left, at least against right-handed pitching. Who is going to take over Puig’s spot remains to be seen, although Alex Verdugo is the most likely choice for right field. He played 16 games at that position last year, along with some games in center and left. Still, he has to continue to prove himself through spring training to solidify that position. These players will be spelled by Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez, and maybe? possibly? Andrew Toles.

Pederson is entering his sixth season with the Dodgers since he was a September call-up in 2014. Joc had 25 homers in 2016 and 26 in 2015, his rookie season, when he went to the Home Run Derby and lost to Todd Frazier. In 2017, he spent 20 games in the minors to work on his swing mechanics. His overall numbers that season were abysmal, batting only .212/.331/407/.322 with 11 homers. He did bounce back in the playoffs, and might have been named the World Series MVP had the Dodgers won. 2018 saw his best season to date, when he played in 132 games, slashing .248/.321/.522/.843 with 25 homers and 27 doubles.

Despite the homers, those are not great numbers for an everyday player, especially for one’s best season to date. The Dodgers’s previous hitting coach, Turner Ward, has moved on to the same position with the Cincinnati Reds. He was replaced with Robert Van Scoyoc, along with Brant Brown in the hitting strategist role, and Aaron Bates at assistant hitting coach.

Joc has been tinkering with his swing his whole career. A quick peruse through Twitter brings up any number of articles about how he has revamped his swing through the year. It’s a violent swing, and he tends not to shorten up with two strikes. Van Scoyoc has been credited with helping Taylor and J.D. Martinez better their at bats, and hopefully he and his new team can do the same for Joc.

The Dodgers and Pederson avoided arbitration last week, with Joc agreeing to a one-year, $5 million contract. Steamer projects a 2019 season similar to last year, with a slash line of .250/.348/.495/.359 and 26 home runs. If Pederson, Bellinger and Verdugo can all get their bats right, the Dodgers’ outfield will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019.

19 thoughts on “Dodgers Outfield: What Role Will Joc Pederson Play in 2019?

  1. Considering how he ended the season, he looks to be the leadoff hitter against RHP. He did have 8 leadoff dingers, a Dodger record. Lets see if he comes into camp in shape and ready to go. He has looked a lot slower the last couple of years.

  2. I see Ottavino signed with the yanks 3 years, $25mil, basically the same contract the dodgers gave Kelly. With the money being the same, which pitcher would you guys rather have had, if you could choose either one?

  3. Wow, Andy, you are tough. You called Joc’s OPS of .843 not good for an every day player. His OPS ranked him 17th in all of the NL last year. Better than Rizzo, better than Votto and better than Realmuto! Joc had a great year last year, dramatically cutting down on K’s with tons of power. I think every team in baseball would love to have a bat like Joc’s in the lineup. Granted it would only be against righties.

    1. While that all may be true, I would like to see more consistency from him. He’s pretty streaky. I know it’s not everything, and he’ll never be an above .300 hitter, I would like to see him raise his BA some.

  4. The Yankees bullpen is downright unfair. Chapman, Betances, Britton, Ottavino, Warren and Holder. How in the hell do you compete with that? Meanwhile Andy think adding just Joe Kelley is plenty. News flash Friedman: IT’s NOT!!!!!!!

  5. If you’re so concerned about BA then how can you justify handing Harper 10-300 plus with his BA at .249 last year?

    1. I don’t think he’s anywhere worth 10 years, $350 million or whatever it works out to be I think that the front office could be creative and figure out some way to keep him on a short term hi AAV. I know that’s not what Boras wants. I think that Harper is a great talent, and a new team probably would do him a world of good. Joc has been with the same team the whole time. You don’t know that Harper wouldn’t come to LA, feel completely comfortable, and really start mashing. I understand he may not do anything like that. But I am not for throwing all the money at him

  6. The question – what role will he play? I think the answer is the same role he’s been playing. I’d like to see his OBP improve. Other than that I have given up on what his minor league numbers, .298/.401/.515, over 100 SB, portended and accept what he is. An .800+ OPS is better than average. He’s a platoon guy. I think he’s happy with it.

  7. Joc is Joc. Lots of power and a happy go lucky type approach to everything. The kid is always smiling. Another one of those players who in my mind if they really applied themselves would improve dramatically. Look how he cut down those strikeouts. That was impressive. The problem was as Andy stated, his lack of consistency. When you realize that he had 1 homer through May and then hit 10 in June. He hit 14 the rest of the way and only had 1 really bad month, August BA wise. Here is the kicker about that June spurt. He had only 60 at bats, so he was hitting a homer once every 6 at bats. That was also his best month for extra base hits. He had 15. He was hitting .298 through May with 1 homer. But he pretty much has to sit against lefty’s. He hit only 1 of his HR’s off a lefty. He had the highest BA of his MLB career and hit 25 plus HR’s for the 3rd time in 4 years.

    1. All of which means he will have the same role he had last year.

      I remember stories about guys who could foul off “pitcher’s pitches” then square up what they liked. I think Boggs, and Carew, Ted Williams, Nellie Fox hitters like that. I know Fox used to piss Ryne Duran off … “foul, foul, foul, foul, walk”…. There was also a story that Fox once asked for a box of a dozen balls to hand out to fans and was told “balls cost money” and was refused. So he went out and fouled 17 in the stands in his first at bat. I don’t know if that story is true but I don’t doubt it. I used aFoc model bat for a while (thick handle) til I realized I could reach the fences with a Mantle model and I switched. I have no idea who all can foul off tough strikes now, but I just read something that said Votto and Betts can do it.

      It would be great if Joc could get his OBP back up to .350, where it was his first three years in the league. But launch angle tactics have, in my opinion, likely changed OBP numbers.

      1. Funny you should mention using a Nellie Fox bat. When I was a kid and a bunch of us used to go to the park to play pickup games, my bat of choice was my Nellie Fox model. Loved that thick handle. I realized early on that I was never going to challenge The Babe for home run titles so I just tried to “hit ’em where they ain’t.”

  8. In little league I used a 29 ounce Babe Ruth model. When I got to high school I used a 32 ounce Ernie Banks. Thin handle. I loved that thing. It was like a whip when you brought it through the zone. Improved my bat speed a lot. I tried a McCovey once. Thing weighed a ton. 40 ounces. I could barely swing it. Guess those 3 free agent outfielders they signed are not expected to do much.

  9. What’s up Andy, you write a nice article on Joc and the next thing you know he is rumored to be on the trading block?

    1. I see that. I wrote about them not having a backup catcher and they traded for Martin a half hour later. Let’s see what I can come up with tomorrow

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