The Dodgers boast one of the best defenses in baseball, ranking in the top 5 the last four seasons in a row. A huge part of this has been the inclusion of analytics in their gameday preparations, but it takes more than just numbers to be this good. It takes talent, and the Dodgers have had plenty of that over the years.
With all of their defensively capable players on the field, former Dodger Joc Pederson was not one of them. He was known for his powerful bat and incredible clutch factor in the postseason, but his glove was never a huge part of his game, particularly over the final few seasons of his tenure with LA.
Now that Pederson is a member of the Chicago Cubs, he’s opened up about his time with the blue crew, and he has some things to say. In one of his recent interviews from Cubs camp, Joc spoke about the analytical approach that Los Angeles is famous for and how he felt it held him back.
I just felt a little bit restricted [by the analytics]. I think before… I was more free going off more feel rather than analytics. I understand the analytics, and I understand that they work. It’s [not a negative] comment toward them because they’ve been successful, but I think I just am better off with a little bit more feel and being more athletic out there rather than standing in certain spots where they hit the ball the majority of the time.
Ironically enough, the Dodgers and Cubs tied for fourth-best last season with 28 defensive runs saved each. For the outfield specifically, however, it was no contest as the Dodgers led the way with 13 DRS to Chicago’s -3.
Joc Pederson had -6 defensive runs saved across his 7 seasons in Los Angeles, so his claims that the analytic method didn’t fit his style may have some truth to it. It does seem as if he feels more comfortable with the Cubs, so it will be interesting to see if a change in styles will help the former Dodger find some success on the defensive side of the ball.
Regardless of his defensive liabilities, Joc was a fan favorite during his time with the Dodgers and they will surely continue to root for his success in Chicago, as long as those games aren’t against LA that is.