Joc Pederson Maintaining Perspective While Admitting ‘It’s Not Very Fun When You’re Sucking’

No sport is as fundamentally rooted in statistical results as baseball, but success can only come by being process-driven. Concentrating solely on outcomes results in a lack of focus on what matters or on falling hopelessly into a fixation on the what rather than the how. That’s why Joc Pederson isn’t concerned with the cratering offensive production that has marked the start of his Cubs tenure.

“It’s not very fun when you’re sucking and you’re losing,” Pederson told the media recently. “Results kind of drive us a little crazy. At the start of the year, results are so drastic. You can be hitting .100, and then the next thing be at .350 four games later, and vice versa.

“Stay out of those results and just get back to the process and find some joy in that. There’s (146) games left. It’s a lot of games. It’s easy to overemphasize what’s happened because that’s all we have. But we got to get past that and keep building on some good at-bats.”

It helps that the left fielder just turned 29 and has battled through his share of slumps since coming up with the Dodgers in 2014. Things got bad enough in 2017 that he was optioned to Triple-A, though his numbers that season look stellar compared to now. Case in point, his 101 wRC+ was actually above average and is 53 points higher than he’s put up with the Cubs.

The real key is that Pederson came back from Oklahoma City and helped power the Dodgers to the World Series, which they lost to the Astros. That’s why he’s so willing to toss this early performance in the trash can rather than use it as a sign that he’s doomed to fail.

Like much of the rest of the team, Pederson’s early numbers are so bad that you have to believe a correction is coming for no reason other than it feels inevitable. His BABIP, which has always been abnormally low for a slugger, is at a mere .196 so far and his .098 ISO is nearly 140 points below his career average. Oddly enough, he’s also hitting fly balls at a higher rate than ever.

Those things all point to his timing being just a wee bit off, leading to a decrease in hard contact that has kept most of those flies in the yard. As tough as he’s been to watch so far, Pederson could turn things around in a hurry and start looking once again like the spring training hero everyone was excited to see at Wrigley just a few weeks ago.

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