Joc Pederson

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Joc Russell Pederson

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Biographical Information[edit]

The son of big leaguer Stu Pederson and brother of Tyger Pederson, outfielder Joc Pederson was a star minor leaguer before making his big league debut in 2014.

He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft (the scout was Orsino Hill) He soon signed with the club for $600,000, passing up a commitment to the University of Southern California, and made his pro debut that summer with the AZL Dodgers. He saw limited action, going 0 for 7 with 4 walks and a run.

He spent most of 2011 with the Ogden Raptors, hitting .353/.428/.568 with 11 home runs, 24 steals in 29 tries, 54 runs and 64 RBI in 68 games; he played also for the Great Lakes Loons but fared poorly (8 for 50, 7 BB). He was among the Pioneer League leaders in average (4th, between Frazier Hall and Daniel Mateo), OBP (2nd, 4 points behind leader Jerod Yakubik), slugging (7th), steals (tied for 3rd), runs (3rd), doubles (20, 4th) and RBI (1st, 3 ahead of Ryan Jones). He also had 9 assists. He joined Jones and David Kandilas as the outfielders on the league All-Star team. The MVP was Taylor Lindsey. Baseball America rated him as the league's #3 prospect after Trevor Story and Lindsey. They also listed him as LA's top contact hitting prospect and #9 overall prospect entering 2012 (between Josh Lindblom and Tim Federowicz).

In 2012, he hit .313/.396/.516 with 26 doubles, 18 homers, 96 runs, 70 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases (caught 14 times) for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and was named the Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year. He was among the California League leaders in runs (4th, between George Springer and Joe Panik), average (8th), OBP (6th, between Springer and Brett Tanos), slugging (9th), OPS (6th) and times caught stealing (8th). He failed to crack the All-Star outfield, as Springer, Leon Landry and Kyle Parker were picked instead. Baseball America picked him as the league's #3 prospect, behind Billy Hamilton and Springer, right ahead of Kaleb Cowart.

Pederson played for the Israeli national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, which were played in September, 2012. He hit second in the order, behind Ben Guez, and started in right, with Guez in CF and Cody Decker in LF. The team's bigger name outfielders, Gabe Kapler and Adam Greenberg, major league vets, backed them up, with Shawn Green at DH. Pederson did well, going 4 for 13 with 3 steals and 3 runs. He was second on the team in hits, behind Nate Freiman. He tied Engel Beltre for second in all the Qualifiers in steals, two behind Alan Schoenberger. While he played for Israel at the international level, he was a member of the U.S. team in the 2013 Futures Game. He was with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the AA Southern League, where he hit .278/.381/.497 in 123 games, racking up 24 doubles, 22 homers and 21 stolen bases.

Ranked the Dodgers' number 1 prospect heading into the 2014 season, Joc had a tremendous year with the Albuquerque Isotopes, becoming the first player in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years to have 30 homers and 30 steals in a season. In 121 games, he hit .303/.435/.582 with 33 homers and 78 RBI; he scored 106 runs and stole 30 bases while drawing an even 100 walks. He was named the league's Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. He was called up to Los Angeles when rosters expanded on September 1st and made his debut that same day when he pinch-hit for pitcher Yimi Garcia in the 9th inning of a game against the Washington Nationals with two men on base and the Dodgers trailing, 6-4; however, he struck out on a full count against Rafael Soriano to end the game. he got his first opportunity to start a game the next day, when manager Don Mattingly inserted him in the line-up in centerfield in place of Yasiel Puig, who had been struggling of late. Joc collected his first career hit with a 2nd-inning single off Doug Fister and also drew a walk in a 4-1 win over the Nats. Altogether, he went 4 for 28 (.143) no no RBI or extra-base hits.

Pederson made the Dodgers out of spring training in 2015 and got regular playing time from the start, taking over for Andre Ethier as the team's starting centerfielder. He hit .298 with 4 homers and 10 RBIs in April, then on May 1st connected for his first career grand slam off Rubby De La Rosa of the Arizona Diamondbacks in an 8-0 win. His first home run had come on April 12th, also against the D-Backs, with A.J. Schugel the victim. His power just kept on coming after that and from May 31 to June 3rd, he homered in five consecutive games to bring his total to 17 in just 53 games. On June 14th, he made his glove do the talking as he preserved a 9th inning 2-2 tie in a game against the San Diego Padres with a spectacular catch at the expense of Justin Upton; with two outs and two men on in the bottom of the 9th, Upton crushed a ball to the centerfield wall, but Joc caught it over his head while running at full speed and crashing into the wall. Los Angeles went on to win the game, 4-2, in 12 innings. He was named to the All-Star team and as one of the top home run hitters in the National League, was asked to take part in the Home Run Derby. He showed no rookie nerves in the nationally televised competition, reaching the final round against hometown favorite Todd Frazier and only losing by one long ball, 15-14. However, after his storybook first half, he completely collapsed in the second half of the year, hitting only .178 with 6 homers and 14 RBIs in 62 games. Therefore, his final statistics were disappointing - a .210 average, 26 homers and 56 RBIs. On the positive side, his OBP was .346, thanks to 92 walks, and he scored 67 runs, but was only successful on 4 of 11 stolen base attempts and compiled 170 strikeouts. He only started two of his team's five games in the Division Series against the New York Mets, going 0 for 8, although he did draw 4 walks.

In 2016, Joc showed more consistency at the plate, as he ended up with 25 homers and 68 RBIs in 137 games, but saw his batting average improve to .246 and his slugging percentage to .495. He also cut down significantly on his strikeouts, from 170 to 130. He went 5 for 15 with a double and a homer as the Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, but in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, he was only 4 for 21 with 8 strikeouts. He then started off 2017 on the right foot as on opening day, April 3rd, he hit a grand slam and drove in 5 runs to lead the Dodgers to a 14-3 beatdown of the San Diego Padres. He played regularly for what soon became the hottest team in the majors, starting in center field, but hitting just .215 with 11 homers and 33 RBIs in 87 games. He was the only weak link on a team firing on all cylinders, and when on July 19th the Dodgers added veteran Curtis Granderson to their roster, one day after 1B Adrian Gonzalez had returned from an injury, he became the odd man out, being ceded to the minor leagues. He ended up playing 102 games and hit .212 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs in a very disappointing season. He missed the first round of the postseason, then was just 1 for 5 as the Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, but he was much better in the World Series against the Houston Astros. In 6 games, he went 6 for 18 with 2 doubles and 3 homers, scoring 6 runs and driving in 5, but Los Angeles fell a game short of the big prize.

Pederson has a nice bounce-back season in 2018. He was the team's main leftfielder and most common leadoff hitter and produced at levels similar to his first two full seasons. He also set a new team record with 8 homers leading off a game, bettering the mark of 7 set by Davey Lopes in 1979. He finished the year at .248 with 25 homers and 56 RBIs, and also 65 runs scored. He struck out just 85 times, showing marked improvement in this aspect of the game. He continued to hit well in the first two rounds of the postseason, combining to go 7 for 27 with 5 runs scored as the Dodgers returned to the World Series. However, in the Fall Classic, he was stymied by the Boston Red Sox's pitchers and went just 1 for 12, his lone hit a solo homer off Rick Porcello in Game 3 - the only Dodgers' win of the Series. In 2019, he was the main left fielder for L.A. and had a very similar season - a middling batting average, but lots of homers and enough walks to give him a decent on-base percentage. In early September, he had a streak of 5 homers and a double in 6 at-bats, including back-to-back two-homer games against the Colorado Rockies. The second of these, on September 4th gave the Dodgers 250 homers on the year, breaking the previous National League record of 249 set by the 2000 Houston Astros. The streak also put him above the 30-homer mark for the first time of his career. He finished the season at .249 in 149 games, with 36 homers, 83 runs and 74 RBIs. In the postseason, he went 4 for 15 with 2 doubles and a homer as the Dodgers lost to the Washington Nationals in the Division Series.

On February 4, 2020, he was the victim of a number's crunch when the Dodgers acquired OF Mookie Betts in a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox. That left him the odd man out of the outfield, with Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock pretty much also guaranteed a starting job, so that same day he was sent to the Los Angeles Angels along with Andy Pages in return for IF Luis Rengifo. After the Betts deal was hung up and eventually re-worked, the deal to trade Pederson to the Angels fell through [1]. As a result, he spent the year with the Dodgers, which allowed him to win a World Series ring. It turned out that there was some playing time to be had, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic which cut the season to 60 games and pushed the National League to adopt the Designated Hitter for the season. That created some additional playing time, and he ended up appearing in 43 games, hitting .190 with 7 homers and 16 RBIs. It was not a great batting line, as his OPS+ was a meager 84, down from 125 and 127 the two previous years. In the postseason, he saw only limited action in the first two rounds, going a combined 2 for 6, but he was outstanding in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, going 7 for 18 with a homer. He continued to be hot in the World Series win over the Tampa Bay Rays, with a 4-for-10 performance and another homer, ending the year on a very positive note. Still, it was clear that his days as a member of the Dodgers were numbered. On January 29, 2021, he agreed to a free agent deal with the Chicago Cubs for one year at $7 million. He was in effect taking over for Kyle Schwarber, who had been non-tendered earlier that off-season.

Pederson hit .230 in 73 games for the Cubs over the first half of the 2021 season. He was basically an everyday player in left field, facing more lefthanded pitching than he had in years and contributing 11 doubles and as many homers, in addition to scoring 35 runs and driving in 39, for an OPS+ of 96. Strangely enough, in spite of his well-documented struggles against southpaws in previous years, they were not really an issue: his batting average against them was .271 (but .218 against righties) and while most of his power came against righties, the difference in OPS between the two (.727 to .687) wasn't that steep. In any case, the Cubs got off to a good start but completely collapsed starting in June, falling below .500 and ending the first half 8 games out of first place. With a number of players set to leave as free agents after the season, including Joc, many observers were calling for the Cubs to cut bait and try to extract as much value from these players as possible before they walked away. It seemed that this was what the Cubs decided to do, as on July 15th, on the eve of their first game of the second half, they traded Pederson to the Atlanta Braves in return for minor league 1B Bryce Ball. The Braves had just lost Ronald Acuna for the season and desperately needed a starting outfielder to replace him. He was one of four outfielders acquired by the Braves that July, as they completely revamped their outfield, with Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall also joining the team via trades. All four contributed as the team won a division title, with Joc hitting .249 in 64 games with 7 homers and 22 RBIs, for a combined line of .238 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs in 137 games and an OPS+ of 93. He was at first the odd-man-out in the Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, but made most of his opportunities as a pinch-hitter, as he homered in the role in both Game 1 and Game 3, with both shots coming off Adrian Houser. He became the third player to hit two pinch homers in a single postseason, two also being the career record for the feat. He also received notice for his choice of jewelry, a string of pearls, something highly unusual for a baseball player, but which quickly became a trend among Braves fans and others spotting a new cultural trend. The terme "Joctober" also started trending again as he became one of the leading stories of the postseason. When Soler tested positive for COVID-19 a few days later, he took over for him in right field and continued to hit, adding another homer in the NLCS as the Braves upset his former team, the Dodgers to make it to the World Series. He was slugging .586 heading into the Series against the Houston Astros, and became only the 9th player to win consecutive World Series with two different teams when the Braves emerged on top.

Before the 2022 season, with the Braves chock-full of outfielders due to the anticiapted return of Acuna and Marcell Ozuna, he signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco Giants for $6 million. He got off to a great start with his new team, batting .353 in April, with 6 homers and 10 RBIs, for an OPS of 1.127. On May 24th, he hit three homers and drove in 8 runs in a wild 13-12 win over the New York Mets. His third homer tied the game at 11-11 in the 8th, then he once again drove in the tying run in the 9th with a two-out single off closer Edwin Díaz, before Brandon Crawford ended the game with another single off Díaz. He was only the second Giants player to have a three-homer game at Oracle Park, after Pablo Sandoval in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. On May 27th, he was involved in a bizarre pre-game incident with the Cincinnati Reds' Tommy Pham when the latter confronted him during batting practice apparently over a dispute involving fantasy football the previous year, slapping him in the face. Both benches emptied, but order was restored, and Pham sat out the game while the incident was being investigated. Pham was assessed a three-game suspension for his actions. Thanks to his great start, Joc was voted a starter in the outfield for the 2022 All-Star Game. He hit .274 in 134 games with 23 homers and 70 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 146, the highest of his career. He followed that with another good year in 2023, although not quite so superlative: he hit .235 in 121 games, but with an OBP of .348, 15 homers and 51 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 111. The Giants missed the postseason both years, and did not really seek to re-sign him when his contract expired at the end of the 2023 season.

On January 25, 2024, according to reports in the media, he signed a one-year deal with yet another NL West team, this time the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In addition to his father, who played briefly in the major leagues, his brother Tyger Pederson played in the independent leagues. His oldest brother, Champ, however, was born with Down syndrome. Unable to play himself, he has been Joc's biggest fan through the years, joining him on the field at the 2015 All-Star Game for the Home Run Derby to cheer him on. Joc has marketed a cap with the slogan "Live Like a Champ", the profits of which go towards creating opportunities for those who also suffer from his brother's medical condition. Champ was the person happiest to see Joc sign with the Giants before the 2022 season, because he was a lifelong Giants fan and had to go against all of his instincts to cheer on the Dodgers when his younger brother was on that squad.

Notable Achievements[edit]


Further Reading[edit]

  • Barry M. Bloom: "Joc-tober: Pederson reclaims role with LA: Outfielder swings hot bat in Fall Classic after rocky season",, October 31, 2017. [2]
  • Anthony DiComo: "Legend of Joctober grows with booming HR: Former Dodger crushes longest homer of 2021 postseason off Scherzer",, October 18, 2021. [3]
  • Steve Gilbert: "Pederson agrees to deal with Diamondbacks",, January 25, 2024. [4]
  • Maria Guardado: "Joc's loyal bro can finally root for right team",, March 20, 2022. [5]
  • Sarah Langs: "Joc could be 9th to accomplish rare WS feat",, October 25,2021. [6]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Fueled by family, Joc Pederson and his 'ridiculous' talent power Dodgers", USA Today, May 18, 2015. [7]
  • Phil Rogers: "Brother drives Pederson to give his all: Dodgers outfielder working to win game of adjustments coming off All-Star rookie season",, March 21, 2016. [8]
  • Dylan Svoboda: "Joc an early gem for Giants",, May 7, 2022. [9]

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