According to Ken Rosenthal, free-agent outfielder Joc Pederson has agreed to terms with the Chicago Cubs pending a physical. The 28-year old outfielder was originally drafted in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pederson signed a one year contract and will be paid seven million dollars with 500K in incentives.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 29, 2021
In 2020, Pederson had a down year overall. He hit .190/.285/.397 over 138 plate appearances in the 60-game sample. However, if you rewind to the 2019 season his presence was much more impactful. Over 514 plate appearances, he batted .249/.339/.538 with a 127 OPS+, 36 home runs, and 74 RBI.
Pederson has seven years of big-league service time under his belt. Over that span, he was named an All-Star once in 2015. In addition, he finished sixth overall in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting that same season.
One of the best things about Pederson is his age. He is still in the midst of those peak years and that should provide plenty of value with his new team. In addition, he has plenty of leadership and experience playing in the big leagues. That’s something that is often overlooked in the game today.
Furthermore, Pederson has the ability to play both corner outfield spots and could play centerfield if needed as well. Over his big league career, he has played 192 games in left field, 391 in center, and 49 over in right. Pederson also started 19 games at first base in 2019.
Beyond that, there is plenty to like about his overall offense. From 2015-2019, he hit at least 25 home runs every season with the exception of 2017 when he hit 11. Therefore, Pederson has home run capability and it would not be a surprise to see him replicate that next season.
While there is a lot to like about Joc Pederson, the one potential caveat relates to his splits against lefties versus righties. Pederson is a platoon player who has better success against right-handed pitchers. In 2020, he didn’t do better against righties, but in 2019 he hit .252/.349/.571 with all of his home runs coming against right-handers over 141 games. In comparison, against lefties that season over a 41-game sample, he hit .224/.240/.265.
Regardless of the platoon and the lefty-righty splits, Pederson is a very good addition. He brings a solid track record of big league success, veteran leadership, and a player who is capable of playing more than one position on any given day.
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