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Dodgers News: How Joc Pederson Is Shining Within Platoon Role

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that Joc Pederson is a World Series hero. Furthermore, Pederson was discussed in offseason trade talks; and then relegated into the dreaded role of ‘platoon player’ when the 2019 season began. In a word, Pederson began this year as a relative afterthought.

What has resulted through the first month of the season is a player who has shown good value to his ball club. Surely, it would have been easy for Pederson to become a malcontent or ask for a trade where he would be given a more steady path to playing time. However, that’s not what Joc Pederson did.

Recently, he gave a nice interview to Pedro Moura of The Athletic; which made for an excellent read. Pederson told Moura how he has handled this bout of adversity to make himself a better teammate and player.

Initially, Pederson was frustrated before the 2018 season began. Then, he was listed on the depth chart as an ‘extra outfielder’. Pederson decided to immediately get with his mental skills coach and adjusting his thoughts about his role.

“I decided I could either handle it in a negative way, being angry or upset, or I could work on things,” he said. “I know I’m gonna be in a messed-up situation. I know I’m gonna be frustrated. I want to play every day. Who doesn’t want to play every day? But what can I do to keep my mind in a good place?”

Now, Pederson is one of baseball’s most productive players at the time of this post. While playing exclusively against right-handed pitching, he boasts an OPS above 1.000 and eight home runs to put him amongst lead leaders.

Pederson told Moura that his driving force is as simple as it is admirable: his love for the game.

“I haven’t lost the love for baseball,” Pederson said. “I think I’ve changed my view on how to love baseball.”

I feel like as the years go on – and Pederson is now 27-years old – he gets easier to root for. Without question, you have a guy here who has been through so many stages as a professional. From early stardom, to busted, and back again. These are the stories I seem to enjoy most. One quote I read in Moura’s interview with Pederson really sums this up.

“I’ve played their game,” Pederson said. “I’ve done that, where I’m in his office, asking, ‘Can I play versus lefties? Let me play.’ And then I’m not even successful against righties because I’m [expletive] up in the head. I’m losing, and who looks bad? I look bad.”

Lastly, Pederson has shown signs of maturity and selflessness that every good baseball team must have at some point from it’s 21st or 22nd guy on the roster. And when Pederson is your 22nd guy on the roster say – that’s pretty scary. I give Joc a lot of credit for his mental approach, and continuing to grind even when it’s clearly not the ideal situation he would hope for.

Life – and baseball – is all about taking the situation and making the best you can of it at the moment. For a 27-year old, Pederson deserves a world of credit and support.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

16 Comments

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  1. I feel bad for Joc……….I love him being a Dodger………I love the guys who come through our system and I love it when they succeed…..been a Joc Pederson fan from day one………but the Dodgers signing Pollock, the emergence of Muncy and the decision to move Bellinger into Puig’s spot in the outfield……..IMO Pederson’s days as a Dodger are numbered now……..unless something drastically changes, Verdugo will push him out of lineup, it’s just a matter of time.

    • Good post, yeah it could happen; unless Verdugo slumps too when the book grows on him. Remember Joc his first half of his rookie year? He’s shown his meddle and value

      • Clint, as far as Joc goes, I hope he does stay, because I seriously doubt Dodgers have an ability to get much in return for him. Bottom line here and it’s not just about Joc and him being a platoon player goes, but this strategy of Andy and Roberts of excessive platooning, moving players in and out and all around the lineup daily, sitting the hot hands WILL NOT…I REPEAT WILL NOT GET THEM A WS RING!

  2. I know Perderson’s numbers against LHPs sucks, but I wish they at least give him a start against a LHP. I would Not have him lead-off but further down the line-up e.g. 6th or 7th. I would have Hernandez, Seager or Verdugo bat lead-off when facing a LHP. If Pederson doesn’t start/play, it is like he loses his rhythm, look at what happened when the Dodgers faced 4-consecutive LHPs(Giants/Rockies), when Pederson was inserted to PH/hit, he looked lost.

    • I know it would be interesting to see what he could do for a spell against them but they feel like the cement is hardened (I think) and have enough guys with versatility to play against LHP that the situation doesn’t arise. I wondered as I wrote this what his numbers would look like now playing full time against LHP as a 27-year old player.

      • So they allow Taylor who is an automatic-out = strikes out, especially with runners in scoring position to Still play/hit. Flippin incredible, what’s Tayor BA .190 = mendoza line. Taylor Is Not that good of a defensive player. Yeah he made 1 good-play last yr vs. Brewers(NLCS), so what. Hernandez, somebody please tell him how many outs there are. How about these relievers, how many blown leads, games; Jansen is Not as good before his heart ailments.

        • Robin, it’s the Dodgers doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, but I am glad to hear about Joc’s current approach and attitude about this.

      • I wouldn’t have him play against a LHP such as Bumgarner, Price, Sale, etc. all #1 starters or LH-closers, e.g. Hader, Chapman, Britton. I know come playoff-time(crossing fingers) these pitchers will be the ones on the bump with the game is on the line.

  3. If they moved Belly to 1st, with Moonshot and Kike platooning at 2nd, the Dodgers could play JPede and AVerd everyday.

    • A few of our staff members have kicked around the idea of getting Joc time at first as he ages. Thoughts?

      • The sheer athleticism of Cody Bellinger is under utilized to some extent when he plays first, so Joc at first everyday seems, at the very least, intriguing if it earns AVerd a spot in the everyday lineup.

      • I’m not sure adding to Pederson’s mental plate, adding the nuances of playing 1st i.e. pick-off plays, bunt, catching throws from posiition players would help. Ideally, Pederson is a DH-in-training!

  4. In today’s game a guy the team trusts only to bat against right handed pitching is a liability. I salute Joc for his mental attitude and like him as a great clubhouse guy but I think Verdugo beats him out. Taylor is the guy though that should lose his spot on the field the guy is a SO waiting to happen. He is making the same mistakes as last year and they said they had figured out his issues but apparently not!

    Bench Taylor play Verdugo more. Give Pederson playing time until he cools off.

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