Joc Pederson has always been a streaky hitter. In 2017, he saw extremes on both end of the spectrum.
What went right
Pederson revamped his swing in August in Triple-A Oklahoma City, and it finally paid off in the postseason. Added to the NLCS roster because the Dodgers needed an extra outfielder for when Chris Taylor subbed in at shortstop for an injured Corey Seager, Pederson made the most of his opportunity.
He doubled in his only NLCS start, then tied a World Series record with five straight games with an extra-base hit in the Fall Classic. Pederson hit three home runs in the world Series, one shy of the franchise record, including a game-tying shot in Game 2 and insurance runs in Games 4 and 6.
Pederson hit .304/.360/.826 in the postseason, and was the first player in baseball history with a hit and a run scored in each of his first six World Series games.
After his second stint on the disabled list, Pederson was fully healthy for a good stretch, and hit .295/.408/.648 with nine home runs and 10 doubles in 37 games.
What went wrong
Pederson was optioned to the minors for the first time in his career, with a 2-for-41 slump in July into August hastening his demotion.
“At that point in time there needed to be clear changes and growth for him on the field, off the field,” manager Dave Roberts said. “His ability to stay the course and focus on things that he can control, I think helped him grow as a major league baseball player. And to his credit, he didn’t jump ship.”
From July 29 through the end of the regular season, Pederson was 6-for-63 (.095) in the majors with no home runs.
Pederson spent two stints on the disabled list, missing 10 games with a right groin strain in April, then another 18 games with a concussion in May and June after a violent outfield collision with Yasiel Puig.
His defensive ratings — at least the metrics publicly available — plummeted in 2017. After ranging from roughly slightly below average to slightly above average in the first two seasons of his career in center field, Pederson was well below average across the board this year.
Pederson rated as 5.4 runs below average per Ultimate Zone Rating, 10 runs below average per Total Zone Rating, and 12 runs below average per Defensive Runs Saved. All this while playing just 655⅔ defensive innings in center field, just under 60% of his average of the last two years.
After returning from the minors, six of Pederson’s 13 starts — including the playoffs — came in left field, and two more at designated hitter.
Stats: .212/.331/.407, 11 HR, 20 doubles in 323 PA
Game of the year
Pederson drove in a career-best five runs on opening day in a win over the Padres, including a grand slam in the third inning, the first of eight grand slams hit by the Dodgers in 2017.
With three years, 23 days of major league service time, Pederson is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter.