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Dodgers: Will The Home Run Derby Hurt Joc Pederson?

Looking at 2015 and 2019 statistics.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 10: Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run, for his second of the game, in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on May 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Joc Pederson will be in the 2019 Home Run Derby, his first since his runner up finish in 2015. There are many who say that the Home Run Derby will ruin his swing and they use 2015 as an example. This article will take a look at some statistics from 2015 to see some trends before and after the Derby. It will also look at where Joc stands this season heading into the Derby.

Pederson’s Statistics Pre-2015 Home Run Derby

2015 was Joc Pederson’s first full year in the Major Leagues and he made a quick impact on the Dodgers. His defense in center field was pretty good and he even used to play against left handers plenty of times. As show below in a month-by-month break down of his statistics you can see some gradual decreases in batting average and slugging percentage. What we do see is a steady drop with a big slump happening right before the All-Star break. June already saw the beginning of a slide and then he started to bottom out in July.

Month/Year AB H HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG
April 2015 57 17 4 17 22 .298 .461 .596
May 2015 106 25 9 16 37 .236 .342 .516
June 2015 99 22 7 22 35 .222 .379 .495
July pre-AS 2015 38 5 0 3 13 .131 .195 .289

Pederson’s Statistics Post-2015 Home Run Derby

After the 2015 Home Run Derby, Joc Pederson continued his slump that had started in June. There was a slight uptick after the break but it was still bad. The rest of 2015 was a disaster for Joc as he just could not get back on track.

Month/Year AB H HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG
July post-AS 2015 51 10 1 1 18 .196 .211 .352
August 2015 50 6 2 21 21 .120 .384 .260
September 2015 76 15 2 10 22 .197 .291 .289
October 2015 3 1 1 2 2 .333 .600 1.333

Pederson’s Statistics Pre-2019 Home Run Derby

Now we are more that half way through the 2019 season we can see his statistics reflect almost a wave pattern. He was good in the short days of March, struggled some in April (except the power numbers), had a strong May and an awful June. The awfulness continues into July. Joc Pederson enters the post-Home Run Derby part of the season in an already horrendous slump.

Month/Year AB H HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG
March 2019 15 7 3 4 2 .467 .619 1.133
April 2019 77 15 7 8 19 .195 .292 .519
May 2019 65 21 7 8 15 .323 .405 .723
June 2019 86 16 3 6 19 .186 .255 .314
July pre-AS 2019 16 3 0 2 4 .188 .316 .250

A Summary

LOS ANGELES, CA – (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

It’s clear to me that Joc Pederson was already in a slump before the 2015 Home Run Derby. The question about if the Derby impacted his swing is easy for me to answer. My opinion is that it most likely did not hurt his swing as he was already in a slump. As we’ve seen over the last few years Joc can be quite inconsistent at the plate. Every player has their own highs and lows but Pederson’s are pretty extreme. As we saw, he’s already in a slump going into the 2019 Home Run Derby. Any post-break questions about his swing being ruined by the 2019 Derby should just refer at what he’s done on a game-by-game basis.

If anything has hurt Joc these last two weeks it is the on-the-job-training of learning to play first base. The Dodgers need some consistency from Joc Pederson (and a few others) if they are going to make another strong run through the playoffs and win the World Series. Let’s hope Joc can stop playing first base and go back to the outfield. At least he will be comfortable on defense, which could help his offense.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. Most players who participate in HR derby slump. He should use the time to work on his overall game wherever he is going to play( infield or outfield). The team is back to trying to hit HRs or nothing. They need to play small ball also! We need a reliever!!

  2. How to you expect him to have any consistency when he is platooned all the time.
    If Dave Roberts would let him play every day and stop platooning him with inferior players
    including AAA players, then Joc could relax and develop some consistency at the plate.
    I don’t know whose decision it is not to play him against lefties ( Roberts and / or friedman)
    but he has hit lefties before (and for power)> The Dodgers pull him in and out of the lineup like a yo-yo. He’d have 25-30 homers by now if they let him play every day and I’d bet his average
    would be .260 to .270. His strikeout rate is way down from previous years so he’s making contact
    but hitting in a bit of bad luck too.

    • Ken, it most likely is a combination of both Freidman and robert’s decision as far as his playing time goes. All I know is Joc most likely did well enough against both LHP and RHP while in the minors, which of course led to his being called up here and become the starting CF for Dodgers in the 2015 season.

  3. Tim, I concur 100% with your last paragraph here. that is the case with Joc but to be fair, not only is having to learn 1st base on the fly so to speak but he is in and out of the lineup depending upon the opposing pitcher being LH or RH. I have said it before, and we all know Joc’s history of struggles against LHP, but even if he were to hit 5 HR’s in a game for an MLB record, he WILL sit the next day if a LHP is going…case closed.

  4. I totally agree that using Joc, or any other player, in a position they are not used to playing, is a dumb idea. Roberts has a tendency to do this every time the Dodgers get a large lead in the standings. This messes with the rhythm of their normal play, effecting the entire team. Playing musical chairs shouldn’t be done during the regular season, and only during spring training. When something works, don’t mess with it. It’s unfair to the player and the entire team.
    This in & out of the game is also terrible.
    How can a player concentrate on the game when they know they can suddenly be benched if the opposing pitcher is switched out? Roberts is strictly a stats man, sometimes to the harm of his team.

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