Joc Pederson
Joc Pederson is the perfect change of scenery candidate. The once former top prospect has another gear in the tank and could prove as a steal addition. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Buy low, sell high; more so than any other year, MLB teams will do their best to find bargains in the 2020 free-agent market. Due to the 60 game truncated season, teams find themselves with tighter pockets. It’s going to be essential to find those players on the cheap this year. Joc Pederson has officially entered the chat.

Pederson is the perfect change of scenery candidate. Once a top heralded prospect, Pederson has failed to live up to his lofty prospect status. That doesn’t mean the Dodgers slugger can’t play. The former All-Star in 2015 has talent, and he might need a new team to thrive.

Pederson has rare power. In 2020, he ranked in the 96th percentile in exit velocity. The ball jumps off his bat. It wasn’t a fluke that Pederson came in second in the 2015 home run derby. This is a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark.

The last time I checked, that’s a good thing—the Dodgers slugger has more than 25 home runs in four of his previous five big league seasons. Obviously, excluding this 60 game season.

The problem is Pederson hasn’t gotten on base enough. The left-handed-hitting outfielder is a career .230 hitter. His OBP of .336 is below average too. Pederson has power, but he’s not a good enough all-around hitter to take that next step.

We forget that Pederson was a very highly ranked prospect in baseball during the 2013 season. Even more so than superstar shortstop Corey Seager. Players don’t always fail or succeed by themselves. Isn’t it possible that Pederson heading into his age 29 season, has one more gear to reach?

Because of the way the Dodger rotate players, Pederson never got consistent at-bats. It’s always a revolving door, whether Chris Taylor, Yasiel Puig, AJ Pollack, or whoever. They never commit to one guy for 500 at-bats unless you’re a guy like Seager.

2019 was the only real season the Dodgers committed real playing time to Pederson. It was by far his best season, slashing .249/.339/.538 with 36 dingers. Even after that season, the Dodgers tried to trade him to the Angels in a salary dump. They’ve never fully handed the keys to Pederson.

When the Dodgers use Pederson as an in-game sub, his batting average dips to .161 throughout his career. It’s hard to find a rhythm when you’re an interchangeable part. Sure, Pederson struggles against lefties, but he still isn’t seeing enough playing time. The majority of the league is right-handers anyway.

Pederson isn’t a perfect player, but I’d love to see him get a real chance to play the full slate of games. No mean Dave Roberts mix and matching. Sometimes the grass is greener. Pederson could wind up being a steal on this free-agent market.

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