The losses have piled up for Atlanta. Travis d’Arnaud, Marcell Ozuna, Ronald Acuña Jr., Mike Soroka, Cristian Pache—all either lost for the season or for extended stretches of time. The Braves (44-45) are third in the NL East standings entering the second half, though they trail the mercurial first place Mets by just four games. The Phillies (44-44) are in second place and also sound like buyers, while the Nationals (42-47) could also enter the mix—and why shouldn’t they, after the second half run they enjoyed in 2019?
Basically, the Joc Pederson trade is noteworthy to me because it means Atlanta isn’t throwing in the towel. At least, not yet. There’s still about two weeks of ball left for the Bravos to make a run, before the deadline. If so, they could let Joc ride—along with any other pickup they make. But if they free fall over the next two weeks, Joc could get flipped to a contender. Charlie Morton, too, could also be epic trade bait.
But for at least two more weeks I’d say we have a nasty NL East battle on our hands. Here are the Joc Jamz particulars:
Cubs news: Joc Pederson traded to Atl for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) July 16, 2021
Pederson could easily slot in at leadoff for Atlanta, at least against right-handed pitchers. As a Braves fan I’d love to see his pop lower in the order, though. If you’re willing to roll with low-OBP at the top, let’s give Dansby Swanson another shot up there—at least he’s got some wheels. Even better, though, would be your best hitters leading the way. Let Ozzie Albies bat first with Freddie Freeman behind him...after that, it’s really just going to be hit-or-miss in this lineup.
All 11 of Pederson’s homers have come against right-handed pitching this season. And while he’s batting only .218 in that split, he’s suffering from a .241 BABIP. His career BA against RHP is .236, or 33 points higher than his mark against southpaws. And while the career .256 BABIP against righties isn’t overly encouraging, his career 12.4% walk rate and .343 OBP in the split most definitely are. If anything, Pederson has underperformed this year compared to career norms, and the Braves are buying low.
That ‘low’ seems to apply with the giving up of Bryce Ball. He’s a bat-first prospect with tons of power, but with questionable defense and the fact that he’s already 23 and struggling at the A+ level, it doesn’t appear that the Braves gave up a ton to acquire Joc Jamz.
Where do you stand on this one, Cubs fans? I humbly think you got hosed, but I openly admit my Atlanta bias...