Joc Pederson did not have the season he hoped for heading into free agency, but at least he ended 2020 on a high note, both individually and with the team, who won the World Series. I’m not sure many people remember that.
During the regular season, Pederson hit just .190/.285/.397, career lows across the board. He hit seven home runs in 43 games, with his second-lowest isolated power (.207) in the last five years.
He had his usual role of playing nearly exclusively against right-handed pitchers, getting 91.3 percent of his plate appearances and 94.7 percent of his starts against the opposite hand. In extremely limited duty, Pederson had his best numbers against left-handers, going 4-for-9 (.444) with a double, three walks and no strikeouts.
Pederson was healthy all year but missed a few short stints down the stretch, first on paternity leave for the birth of his second child, and then missed five games for emergency family medical leave in the penultimate week of the regular season.
Pederson was a force for the Dodgers in October, starting 10 times and appearing in 16 of 18 postseason games, hitting .382/.432/.559 with two home runs, including 4-for-10 with a homer in the World Series.
Counting the postseason, Pederson hit .232/.316/.432 with nine homers in 59 games. That’s at least league average (a 102 OPS+), and more in line with his streaky nature at the very least, even if less than he produced in the previous two seasons.
If Pederson’s time with the Dodgers is up, he leaves with a 116 OPS+ in six seasons, and his 130 home runs for the franchise are the seventh-most by a player drafted by the Dodgers.
Stats: .190/.285/.397, 88 wRC+, 7 HR
Salary: $7.75 million
Game of the year
Pederson had his fingerprints all over the Dodgers’ record-setting blowout of the Braves in Game 3 of the NLCS. He hit the first of five Dodgers home runs in the 15-3 win, a three-run shot in LA’s 11-run first inning. Pederson added three singles for a career postseason-best four hits in the blowout win.
Pederson is a free agent. As for whether he might return to the Dodgers, I think back to what Pederson said early in summer camp in July, when asked about his pending free agency.
“I get text messages all the time saying I should be playing every day on this team or a lot of other teams,” Pederson said. “I love playing for the Dodgers, and doing my part, but who knows about what it could be if I was playing every day. There’s a definite unknown box there that hasn’t been opened up for about five years.”