In what seemed to kind of fly under-the-radar, Joc Pederson put together the best season of his career in 2019.
What went right
When you look back at Pederson’s season, the first thing that will stand out were his 36 home runs. It shattered his previous career best of 26 long balls that he set during his rookie season. Nine of those homers came when he led off the game. He now has 20 lead-off home runs for his career, the second most in Dodgers history.
On top of finishing with a career-high in homers, he also posted career-bests in average (.249), slugging percentage (.538), OPS (.876), and OPS+ (127). His WAR of 3.3 was tied for the best mark of his career.
His months were up-and-down, but he shined during May and September. In May, he hit .323 with a 1.128 OPS. He added seven homers and scored 16 runs. He topped that in September, where he was the best player in the lineup down the final stretch. During the final month of the season, Pederson hit .344 with an OPS of nearly 1.300. He hit nine home runs and drove in 16.
He also participated in the Home Run Derby, giving us one of the more exciting rounds in recent memory.
What went wrong
Yeah, Joc still can’t really hit lefties. He had only 50 total plate appearances against them in 2019, compared to 464 appearances against righties. In those brief AB’s, he hit only .224, failing to hit a home run, and only driving in one run. He was also only able to draw a walk once as well.
Up next, the first base experiment. First things first, we have to give major props to Pederson for trying this out. With a crowded outfield, he was struggling to find himself in the lineup every day. Therefore, he offered to try and learn how to play first.
Sadly, the experiment was a disaster. In 19 starts, Pederson committed six errors, along with a few other blunders that didn’t go down as errors. His defensive runs saved was a -6... in only 19 starts. Yeah, things weren’t going great out there for him. Luckily for Pederson and the team, it didn’t really cost them at all. The Dodgers already had a big enough lead in the division, so the few weeks spent on the experiment were fine. Again, although it didn’t go as planned, you gotta give him a round of applause for at least trying.
Stats: ..249/.339/.538/.876, 36 HR, 74 RBI, 83 R, 127 OPS+, 3.3 WAR
Game of the year
On Jackie Robinson Night, Pederson barely got this one over the right field fence. It was enough, as the Dodgers walked it off against the Reds.
Joc Pederson will make $8,500,000 in 2020, before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2021.