Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Not Concerned Joc Pederson’s Swing Could Suffer By Participating In 2019 Home Run Derby
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Though he may have been snubbed of a spot on the National League roster for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, Joc Pederson will still represent the Los Angeles Dodgers in this week’s festivities at Progressive Field.

The 27-year-old was added to the Home Run Derby, marking the second time he will participate in the competition (2015). Pederson earned the fifth seed after hitting 20 home runs in the first half and will face Houston Astros slugger Alex Bregman in the first round.

Pederson’s inclusion means that for a sixth consecutive year, a Dodgers player will take part in the exhibition contest. Dating back to 2014, the likes of Yasiel Puig, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy have all participated in the Home Run Derby — with some faring better than others.

And while some of those players went on to struggle in the second half of those respective seasons — validating the notion that players see a drop in their statistics after taking swings in the Home Run Derby — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts isn’t worried that the same scenario will play out for Pederson.

“It’s funny,” Roberts began to explain. “My first argument was the guys’ swings change for the Home Run Derby. But in this day and age of elevating the baseball, that’s kind of what their swing is anyway. There is something to the exertion part, but Joc’s already done it.

“I don’t know how much has been studied the production from guys that participated. For me, it’s more personal. Joc wants to do it, I’m going to support him.”

Roberts was equally supportive of Seager’s decision to participate in the 2016 Home Run Derby, and the young shortstop actually improved in numerous statistical categories throughout the unofficial second half of play.

When Pederson participated in the 2015 Home Run Derby as a rookie, he wound up slugging a combined 39 home runs in the contest and advanced to the final round before falling short to then-Cincinnati Reds hometown hero Todd Frazier.

Though he enjoyed success in the Derby, Pederson struggled mightily for the remainder of the regular season, hitting a mere .178/.317/.300 across 219 plate appearances (62 games). It should be noted Pederson’s slide began before the Home Run Derby.

Thus, Pederson is clearly not deterred from once again participating in the Home Run Derby. He considered doing so as a rookie one of his top career highlights and therefore did not hesitate to return.