The Dodgers Should Consider Removing Joc Pederson From The Lead-Off Spot

While there are just a few days until Opening Day, the Los Angeles Dodgers are still toying with Joc Pederson in the lead-off spot. Now, it’s no secret that I love Joc Pederson; and he can be a completely useful ballplayer when not mis-cast. However, as a lead-off hitter; he is exactly that.

Obviously, I’m going to tell you why that is right now.

The Case Against Lead-Off Joc Pederson

Pederson hit lead-off 59 times last season for Los Angeles. In those performances, he got on base at a .300 clip and hit .239 for the year. What saved Joc in the eyes of any stat was his OPS of .834 in the spot. The reason for this is 18 of his 25 homers on the season came in that spot. While it’s nice to have a guy who can put you up 1-0 Rickey Henderson-style, the purpose of a player in the one spot in a lineup is to get on base. That is the name of the game in baseball in the year 2019. You’re hitting lead-off, don’t make an out. Put some pressure on the opposition from the jump.

Pederson displayed this ability in 2015 and 2016, with on-base percentages of .346 and .352 respectively. Alas, it’s been two long years-plus since 2016 ended. What has manifested is a new Pederson who can make some adjustments and still bring thunder against right-handers. However, he’s much better suited in the six or eight spot in the lineup.

Right now, Pederson is leading off against right-handed pitching because the Dodgers don’t have a player who fits the bill. Or do they?

What Should the Dodgers’ Lineup Look Like?

Recently, our own Blake Williams painted a picture of a lineup that I wouldn’t mind seeing. Actually, Blake simply tweeted it. In any event, I like what he has working here. See what you think:

Now, I like the idea of Muncy in the lead-off spot quite a bit. First, the Dodgers aren’t going to steal a ton of bases to begin with. They simply aren’t an organization that subscribes to the philosophy of wasting outs by swiping bags. So if your idea of Muncy in the lead-off role is slanted because he can’t steal bases; try to let go of that. And, Pederson isn’t a guy who will steal 15 or 20 to begin with.

Moreover, it’s just about getting on base. Muncy did that last season at a .391 clip, and until he proves he can’t anymore; it’s worth a shot. From there, it allows the entire lineup to flow in a more organic manner with everyone sliding up one spot. Equally important, it’s going to give players like Justin Turner and Corey Seager the chance to hit with runners on. This should provide those two with more fastballs, thus more pressure on the opposition. The concept really is that simple.

What is your Ideal Dodgers’ Lineup? Who Hits leadoff?

In your opinion, who would you have in the Dodgers lead-off spot against right-handed pitching to begin the season? It’s fair to guess that if Pederson doesn’t produce, the Dodgers will make a change. When and if they do – who is the best candidate and why? We leave it up to you to decide in the comment section!

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  1. The player most suited skill set wise to lead off is Barnes. But rarely(Biggio) is a C put in that spot to keep his legs rested. Barnes checks off way more boxes then Muncy, but I don’t see Roberts playing that card. Joc shouldn’t even be on the team though, let alone being considered in the lead-off spot. I’d be fine w Muncy there, but I hope to see Verdugo grow and be in that spot before the years over.

  2. Honestly the Dodgers don’t have your protypical lead-off hitter. In this new age of sabermetrics, I thought the “leadoff hitter” was somewhat irrelevant. Pederson’s “swing-for-the-fences” mentality is great when he hits the homerun, but he strikes-out too much to be a lead-off hitter. Ditto for Taylor. I’ve mentioned Verdugo(to be lead-off) in other posts, but Roberts and the FO won’t do it. How about Corey Seager?

  3. I’ve always felt too much emphasis was placed on the leadoff since it’s really only the 1st inning that they are guaranteed to be the leadoff. After that it all depends on the turnover of the lineup. I do like lot of the traditional stats for the guy that does take the #1 slot in the lineup but mainly because they typically describe somebody that I want to see get a lot of at bats. For the same reason we see someone like Seager in the number 2 slot, namely that he gets more ABs than somebody like Barnes for example. I want a really good hitter in the #1 spot. Namely someone that hits well, has quality ABs so that would mean not striking out a lot. Pollock is a good candidate. Surprisingly, someone like Martin would be a relatively good candidate based on his walk rate if he could get his average up above .260 (not that I’m advocating putting him there, just that his low strikeout rate tends to raise his on base percentage). All that being said, I would probably go Pollock, Seager, Turner, Muncy, Bellinger, Pederson, Hernandez, Barnes, Pitcher.

  4. The way Joc has been playing this spring would definitely lead me to think about sending him down for a change of oil, belts and hoses. Max might not be far behind. We are giving up too many runs on a daily basis; our pitching is shaky at best; and again, I fear platooning. Go Blue!!

    • Hello BLUE LOU! I concur and here is something to ponder so far during these ST. games:
      The dodgers have hit 35 HR’s so far this ST and only 4 other teams in NL have hit less. As for the pitching, the staff is tied with the Nats, I believe with allowing the fewest…I still say the Dodgers have too many LH bats and if ya read the article about how they are ‘zoned’ in on a WS title, it talked about how teams exposed the teams’ heavy LH hitting lineup.

  5. The batting order isn’t the question to me. I’m wondering why it’s a given that its Joc vs. RH and Taylor vs. LH in LF? If that’s the case, the spot they hit in will be good for 250+ strikeouts and, assuming each runs into one occasionally, 20-30 HRs. Is that really a good trade-off? I’d be all for writing Verdugo’s name in ink on the lineup card at leadoff at least through April if not into May. Get him the ABs and see what he can do. Plus, he’s certainly better defensively than either of the other two. As has been said often on this site and other places, Verdugo has nothing left to prove at the minor league level, so maybe it’s time to see what he can do at the major level by playing him, not just have him fill the #25 spot on the roster in case an outfield gets hurt. Joc can PH againt RH and sub in at all three OF positions when someone needs a day off. Same for Taylor vs LH pitching and sub in at the middle IF spots and some OF depending on who is pitching against the Dodgers that day.

  6. Bellinger should be the lead off hitter.That way the Dodgers won’e expect 35-40 HR from him. He just need to cut down on his swing. Also Bellinger has the speed to steal a base, and go from first to third on a base hit

  7. Pederson should have been traded instead of Puig. Joc is awful – not even an average player. He doesn’t even belong in the lineup – even Verdugo is much better! I say trade him. He USED to be a good outfielder but now he’s not even average.