Joc Pederson is a platoon player and he almost always has been a platoon player. He has a -3 wRC+ against lefties in 2019 — yes, that is a negative sign in front of that 3 — and a 56 wRC+ against southpaws for his career. There is no justification for starting him against them. He has proven to be abysmal against that handedness of pitching.
Recently when asked by Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group about his swing possibly being affected by last week’s Home Run Derby, Pederson commented around the platoon situation.
It is what it is. When somebody asked if the Home Run Derby affects your swing, I said ‘I think not playing for seven days probably affects your swing more.’
This comes after an amazing display by Joc Pederson in the Home Run Derby that included a semifinals triple-overtime battle with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., a battle Joc eventually lost.
Asked #Dodgers Joc Pederson how fast he recovered from HR Derby. Said he was fine the next day. Spent three days on Cape Cod, didn't pick up a bat again until rejoining the team in Boston Friday
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) July 13, 2019
Upon return from the All-Star Break, Pederson was benched for the entire series with the Boston Red Sox as a result of the Red Sox tossing out three left-handed starters, one of them the elite Chris Sale.
Pederson received three plate appearances in the entire Boston series as a reserve in which he went 0-for-2 with a walk. Due to this layoff, the organization flew in a minor league pitcher to throw BP to Joc before Sunday’s finale.
Joc supposedly having an issue with the break in playing time more than the Home Run Derby is pretty interesting considering the understanding of his role on the team. Some of the older players on the team like Justin Turner and David Freese would most likely jump on the opportunity to get a full week off for their All-Star Break.
Hopefully this does not create any issues with Joc Pederson, because he should already be used to it. If he is not, he needs to get used to it quickly. With the offensive firepower the Dodgers possess, Pederson quite possibly could be traded or lose playing time over the next few months also due to poor performance. Over the last month, Pederson holds a .244 batting average and an 86 wRC+, 14 percent below league average.
With the trade deadline looming and the Dodgers reported interest in dealing him this past off-season, Pederson could find himself as a headliner in a deal for a reliever in short order should he not become used to the fact that he is just a platoon player. He is an elite platoon player, but one that has a distinct role that he needs to play to ensure he helps the team win.