Reviewing the Atlanta Braves Trade for Joc Pederson and his Pearls

Atlanta Braves right fielder Joc Pederson speaks during the World Series championship rally. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Braves right fielder Joc Pederson speaks during the World Series championship rally. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports /

Last year, the Atlanta Braves acquired Joc Pederson following the Ronald Acuña Jr injury. He would be the first of several trades in what became a magical trade deadline.

Joc Pederson undoubtedly made his mark on the city of Atlanta.

Before he arrived, the Atlanta Braves were having a difficult 2021 season. They struggled to get over .500 and lost Ronald Acuña Jr to an ACL injury midway through the year. Acuña had kept the Braves afloat in the first half, so his injury looked like it may be the final straw in what would be a disappointing season.

Instead, Alex Anthopolous made the move to acquire Joc Pederson, a guy who was struggling with the Cubs. In the first half in Chicago, Pederson hit .230/.300/.418 with 11 HR, 35 R, 39 RBI, 2 SB, .308 wOBA, and 90 wRC+. He had struggled defensively as well with a -5 DRS.

At the time, it seemed like a Band-Aid for the Braves. One to see if they could keep pace without Acuña to see if they could justify buying at the deadline. It worked pretty well.

We can rave about the 2021 deadline forever, but today we are just focusing on Joc. Starting with the cost.

Bryce Ball to the Windy City’s Farm System

Bryce Ball had become a name Braves fans knew because of his impressive power in Spring Training. A guy with 70-grade raw power but question marks in a few other areas.

Before being traded, Ball was hitting .206/.350/.394 with 6 HR, 24 R, 31 RBI, .334 wOBA, and 105 wRC+. He is limited defensively and sticks to first base in the field. He benefits a lot from the National League adopting the DH.

After being traded, Ball would hit .207/.351/.380 with 7 HR, 24 R, 21 RBI, .340 wOBA, and 108 wRC+. Pretty similar to his numbers in the Braves system.

He has seemingly taken a nice step this year. In AA, he is currently hitting .272/.368/.410 with 8 HR, 52 R, 53 RBI, .356 wOBA, and 110 wRC+. He is always patient at the plate but has done a good job of cutting down the strikeouts slightly this year.

He is not currently inside the top 30 of MLB pipeline’s rankings, but Fangraphs currently lists him as the 27th prospect for the Cubbies.

Joc Pederson’s Impact in Atlanta

Joc Pederson hit .249/.325/.428 with 7 HR, 20 R, 22 RBI, .326 wOBA, and a 101 wRC+ after being traded to the Braves. Even his total postseason numbers are nothing special, hitting .205/.271/.409 with 3 HR, 4 R, 9 RBI, .286 wOBA, and 74 wRC+.

It is important to note, that Joc Pederson was arguably the NLDS MVP for the Braves though. Against the Brewers, he would hit .429/.429/1.286 with 2 HR, 2 R, and 5 RBI.

On paper, people may be confused why Joc Pederson is such a special player in Braves Country. Sure, he is a part of the World Series team, but he is a legend in Truist Park for more than that.

The reason is quite simple. He made this team believe they could win. Joc Pederson was brilliant for the clubhouse and for the fanbase.

Joc Pederson boldly claimed that “WE ARE THOSE..” I, unfortunately, do not think I can finish that statement on here, but we know how it ends.

He also had an entire fanbase wearing pearl necklaces. Everyone around or inside Truist Park would rock pearls because Joc Pederson made it cool to do so.

In a 2021 season that had a lot more lows than it did high in the first half of the season, Joc Pederson made baseball fun again for the Braves and the fans.

While Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario had bigger contributions on the field, Joc Pederson arguably carries the biggest contribution for what he did off the field. The way he impacted the clubhouse and fanbase is something Braves Country will never forget.

While his time in Atlanta was brief, Joc Pederson made a lasting impact in Braves Country. The pearls will live forever.