Atlanta Braves: An Early Review of the Joc Pederson Trade
The Atlanta Braves acquired outfielder Joc Pederson one month ago. How has that trade worked out for the Braves?
Two days after the All-Star Break, the Atlanta Braves announced they had acquired Joc Pederson for Bryce Ball.
How has that deal worked out for the Braves?
Since joining the Atlanta Braves, Joc Pederson is hitting .287/.374/.457 with three home runs, eleven runs, and fourteen RBIs. This includes a .363 wOBA, a 125 wRC+, and 0.7 fWAR in 29 games.
A noticeable difference comes in his plate discipline with the Braves. With the Cubs, he was walking 7.7% of the time and striking out 25.8% of the time. With the Braves, he has seen his walk rate rise to 9.3% and his strikeout rate drop to 16.8%.
Pederson has struggled on the base paths during his short time with the Braves. He has a -0.7 BsR and a -0.9 UbR since arriving in Atlanta. For his career, he has been an average baserunner so there is hope he can turn it around on the base paths.
Defensively, Pederson has played both Center Field and Right Field for the Braves. Overall, he has a -1 DRS across 207 innings in the outfield.
He has been better in Right Field, sporting a 1 DRS in 125 innings. With the other additions made at the trade deadline, Pederson has played Center Field more as of late, where he has a -2 DRS in 82 innings.
What about Bryce Ball?
How has Bryce Ball performed since being moved to the Cubs organization?
Coming into the year, Fangraphs ranked Ball as their 11th prospect and MLB pipeline had him at 15th with the Braves.
Now in the Cubs organization, Ball ranks 24th according to Fangraphs and is not in the top 30 on MLB.
This is in part to Ball’s struggles early this year while in High-A Rome. Before being traded, he was hitting .206/.350/.394 with six home runs, twenty-four runs, thirty-one RBIs, a .335 wOBA, and a 106 wRC+.
While that is not a bad slash line, it does highlight some of the red flags surrounding Ball as a prospect. A 27.6% strikeout rate in High-A is worrisome.
Ball has a ton of power (70 grade raw power), but the issue has always been making consistent contact to take advantage of that power.
Since moving to the Cubs organization, Ball has continued to struggle, hitting .185/.347/.346 with three home runs, eleven runs, eight RBIs, a .329 wOBA, and a 100 wRC+. He has a strikeout rate of 25.7%.
The silver lining for Ball is his plate discipline. He has a 19.8% walk rate since the trade (18.7% with the Braves) so he seems to have a solid idea of the plate. However, there are some concerns that he is being overly patient and while he is walking a lot, it is causing more strikeouts as well.
Personally, I hope to see Ball succeed and work his way through the minor leagues and eventually to the majors. If the hit tool develops, he could be an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on for the Cubbies.
However, it seems like the early returns of the trade have been positive for the Braves. They gave up Ball who may not have had a place in Atlanta long-term for a guy in Pederson that can benefit the Braves this year and potentially in 2022.
Arguably the most important part of this trade has been the intangibles and energy that Joc has brought with him to Atlanta following the injury to Ronald Acuña Jr. I can highlight all the stats I want to show that Pederson has been great in Atlanta, but the biggest impact may be the energy he brought to the clubhouse upon his arrival.
They may not have gotten hot immediately after acquiring Pederson, but the Braves were able to keep above water in the division race until more reinforcements showed up at the trade deadline. Thanks to Pederson.
If the Braves find a way to win the division and make the playoffs thanks to this move, we will look back on this move as an even bigger success than it appears at this moment.