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I’m not afraid to admit that I owned Joc Pederson on four of my five most coveted teams heading into the 2017 fantasy baseball season. Stacking my various squads with a player I believed in the skill set of was much easier for me to stomach given the 16th round price tag and rumblings that Dave Roberts would give him a chance to play everyday. After ripping an Opening Day grand slam and tallying five RBI, Pederson went into hibernation. 48 straight days without a home run and 48 nights where I went to bed convinced another stretch of dominance was just around the corner. Instead, the last few months have brought Pederson owner’s multiple DL stints and as many homers as Joe Panik.

So how on earth do I find myself back at square one, staring at the green add button in ESPN leagues, and wondering why I torment myself with such decisions?

Because even among a crowded outfield landscape, Pederson has put together a stretch of five games that catch my attention. Two homers, one strikeout, a chase rate less than 20%, and his sixth straight start in the Dodgers’ Father’s Day battle against the Reds (batting leadoff). It’s an extremely small sample size of games, but compared to what we’ve already seen from 2017 Pederson, it’s ok to be encouraged by even the smallest signs of progress.

The reason a lot of analysts, including myself, were high on the 25-year-old was due in part to the advanced power as such a young age. 51 home runs across his first 1,061 plate appearances is nothing to scoff at; his pop still could’ve found its rightful place on a majority of roto teams, even with an average below the .250 mark.

Cherry-picking the positives from Pederson’s 2017 leads you to the promised land of average exit velocity. It’s a stat that we tend to use only as a descriptor for players who are having good seasons. Think Miguel Sano (1st), Aaron Judge (2nd), and J.D. Martinez (3rd). The issue comes when we see players among the top echelon who aren’t performing above our expectations. I’d venture a guess that we haven’t seen many columns citing Manny Machado’s 93.4mph average exit velocity, tied for fourth in the majors.

Joe Douglas of RotoGraphs detailed in a column of his, the main reason why Pederson’s exit velocity hasn’t led to the results of similar standouts on the exit velocity leaderboards. It deals with his unfortunate tendency to hit balls at launch angels below zero degrees (grounders) and above 39 degrees (fly balls with too much loft). Even though he is still hitting the ball harder than 95% of everybody in the league, he’s doing it in windows of launch angle that don’t allow the exit velocity to produce beneficial results.

Even more confusing is the fact that we really don’t know what the fix could be to harness the best possible outcomes off this batted ball velocity. Pederson’s whip-like swing is something I’m sure Dodgers’ hitting coach Turner Ward and others have tinkered with, yet the batted ball profile will likely take some time to even back out from the career high groundball and career low flyball percentages Pederson is carrying, if any mechanical changes have been made.

We have to accept that Pederson will likely never be the line drive darling that players like Miguel Cabrera and Daniel Murphy are, but room for value still exists, especially in the possible correction of his weird peripherals so far this season. Ever-apparent is this hop, when you take a look at one of my favorite parts of the Razzball site; our rest of season projections.

In a 10 team, five outfielder league, fitting Pederson into your starting lineup may be a bit tough on the surface, but we all know how streaky he has been in the past. That makes it even more tempting to use the Dodgers’ lefty as a platoon in your utility spot, or a sub for the days when a lefty isn’t on the mound (still possesses poor LHP/RHP splits). I’m not giving up the world for Pederson, but have a feeling he’ll be a great matchup-based bat rest of season. At 20% owned in ESPN leagues, I doubt you’ll be able to find another bat with a possible 14+ home runs still to come.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!

Twitter: @LanceBrozdow

   
  1. Ralph Lifshitz

    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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    Lance, great stuff you handsome son of a gun.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Ralph Lifshitz:
      Ralphy man, you’re too kind!

  2. jack florida says:
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    nice job, very interesting

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @jack florida:
      Thanks! Appreciate the read!

  3. nick the smooth dick says:
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    You make me happy in so many ways

  4. dfrench23 says:
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    14-team 5×5 (OBP-R-HR-RBI-SB and ERA, WHIP, K, QS, Sv+holds) where I’m needing some help in all categories but am within striking distance. It’s a 2-yr keeper lg so some guys are starting to dump for good keepers. The good keepers I have are $31 Votto, $10 Smoak, $5 Bregman, and a gem in $2 Bellinger. Several other $10 guys might be keepers in Maybin, Samardzjia, Alex Wood, and Alex Meyer. $8 Betances is a possible keeper.

    Another owner offers Braun, Miggy, Napoli, Trout, Wieters ,and deGrom out there to everyone with a “playing for next year….make offers” declaration.

    See anything that would be a good matchup?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @dfrench23:
      The two that jump out to me are Trout and deGrom obviously. Bruan is interesting cause when he’s on the field there’s is elite production – but the on the field part is the issue. Might want to try and sneak him out of a deal, especially cause he says on the DL and poses as a decent buy low.

      What packages is this guy looking for? I’d offer a substantial amount for Trout (duh lol)

      Any offers circulating yet? Always gotta start somewhere and see how close you are

      • dfrench23 says:
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        @Lance: I was wondering if Smoak, Bregman and Meyer would be enough for Trout, deGrom and Braun?

        I haven’t heard anything from him about what he likes from my team or any other offers he has received.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @dfrench23:
          If we’re talking fair valuation, that’s way off to me. You’re giving away the three worst players in the trade and getting the three best.

          I’d start a little more even and see what happens, really most valuable to get some indication back of what this guy wants first.

          To put it in perspective, if I was the Trout owner, I don’t even think I’d take your three for just giving Trout

          • dfrench23 says:
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            @Lance: OK thanks for keeping me honest…. so if I do offer Smoak, Bregman and Meyer do I need to add more pitching like Wood or do I offer up my best trading chip in $2 Bellinger? I would think Bellinger, Bregman and Wood would get a lot in return…am I dreaming?

  5. Frank Lynch says:
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    Hey Lance.. Would you grab Matt Adams, Mancini< Matt Davidson or Lorenzo Cain? Points mixed.. Thnx.. Oh i need a closer. Edwin Diaz is on my WW or Doolitle or Romero?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Frank Lynch:
      Cain and Diaz for me

      Good luck!

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