Although Joc Pederson had a tremendous showing during the 2017 World Series, he went into Spring Training this year without a clear spot on the active roster. It was a result of inconsistency and Matt Kemp playing surprisingly well, which made for a crowded outfield.
Pederson nonetheless earned the final bench spot on the Dodgers’ active roster come Opening Day, beating out Trayce Thompson and Andrew Toles. Thompson was designated for assignment and eventually claimed off waivers, while Toles was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Pederson started just 13 of 25 games played in during the first month of the season, yet found success and hit .288/.394/.458 with three doubles, two triples, one home run and 13 RBI. He regressed in May before picking back up at the plate in June.
The rollercoaster season continued throughout the remainder of the season as Pederson saw some regression in July but was still productive, only to trend in a downward direction throughout August before picking back up in September.
Pederson finished the season batting .248/.321/.522 with 27 doubles, three triples, 25 home runs and 56 RBI in 148 games (88 starts). Pederson continued to struggle against southpaws, though his overall strikeout rate decreased from 21.1 percent in 2017 to 19.2 percent.
While a positive development, Pederson also saw his walk rate go down from 12.1 percent to 9.0 percent during that same timeframe. His wRC+ did increase from 100 (league average) to 126.
Pederson had at least one hit in five of his first six postseason games (three starts) but as a whole did not have too positive of a showing.
Pederson hit back-to-back leadoff home runs during an August series with the Houston Astros, becoming just the second player in Dodgers franchise history to accomplish as much. Carl Furillo did so for Brooklyn on July 12 and 13, 1951.
Later in the season, Pederson broke the Dodgers franchise record for leadoff home runs in a single season by clubbing eight of them. The mark was previously held by Davey Lopes, who slugged seven leadoff homers in 1979.
Pederson was tendered a contract and is eligible for arbitration a second consecutive year. He presumably will come to terms on a new contract with the Dodgers but may be a candidate to be traded as the club looks to parlay their excess of outfielders into players to fill other areas of the roster.