Tonight, Joc Pederson will participate in the second Home Run Derby of his young career. His first time in the Derby came back in 2015 during his rookie season. The event took place in Cincinnati, and he was the runner-up to Todd Frazier.
Pederson was a late add, as he was added to the lineup last Wednesday. “I got a text message,” he said about how he found out. “Talked with some family, the wife, some mentors. I made the decision to participate. I’m really looking forward to it. The two highlights of my career are participating in the Home Run Derby and playing in the World Series. If someone said ‘Hey do you wanna play in the World Series tomorrow?’ I would say 100 percent. Who knows when another opportunity may come. It seemed like a no-brainer.”
Back in 2015, Pederson was just seconds away from winning the competition. Let’s take a look back at how he did the first time:
In the first round he squared off against Manny Machado, who would become his teammate over three years later. In the first round, Machado hit 12 homers, so Pederson needed 13 to advance to the next round. He got it.
In the next round, Pederson faced off against his childhood idol, Albert Pujols. Going first this time around, he hit 12 home runs. It was just enough, as Pujols finished with 10, advancing Pederson to the final round.
He hit 14 in the final round, but it wasn’t enough, as hometown hero Frazier hit 15 to win the 2015 Home Run Derby.
Did the Derby affect Joc?
One of the biggest myths about the Home Run Derby is that by participating, it completely affects a players swing moving forward. Was that the case with Pederson?
In 89 games prior to the Derby, Pederson was hitting .230/.364/.487/.851 with 20 home runs and 40 RBI. In the 60 games after the Derby, he had a significant decline all across the board. His slash dropped to .178/.317/.300/.617 with six home runs and 14 RBI.
His numbers are pretty similar, almost identical to what they were four years ago. He again has 20 homers, with 42 RBI. His slash is .239/.333/.521/.855.
How to watch
The Home Run Derby will be on ESPN at 5 p.m. PT tonight.