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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Chicago Cubs trade Joc Pederson to Atlanta Braves for 1B prospect Bryce Ball

The Atlanta Braves acquired outfielder Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball, the teams announced on Thursday.

Pederson, 29, had 11 home runs and a .718 OPS in 73 games for the Cubs after signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal that included a $10 million mutual option and $2.5 million buyout. The deal comes just days after Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. tore the ACL in his right knee.

Atlanta begins the second half of the season four games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East and a game under .500. They’ve dealt with an inordinate amount of injuries throughout the first half—Acuna is just the latest.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are beginning to subtract from their third-place team in an attempt to retool, as half their roster is set to become free agents after this season.

Ball was a 24th-round pick for the Braves in 2019 and has compiled a .377 on-base percentage over two seasons in the minors. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel describes Ball as a player with “huge exit velocities” but with some “contact problems.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2021 at 10:04 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, cubs, joc pederson

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   1. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 15, 2021 at 11:42 PM (#6029232)
22 years old and struggling in A+ level. So basically a salary dump.
   2. The Duke Posted: July 16, 2021 at 12:04 AM (#6029235)
Great deal for Braves. It’s indicative there are not many buyers (or too many sellers ). They can make a two week run at the Mets and if they fail, they can deal him. With Ozuna likely gone for a long time they may simply see him as insurance for next year
   3. DCA Posted: July 16, 2021 at 10:50 AM (#6029256)
It’s indicative there are not many buyers (or too many sellers ). They can make a two week run at the Mets and if they fail, they can deal him.

The first sentence seems to contradict the second. But it's a cheap acquisition so it's worth it for a small chance.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 16, 2021 at 12:29 PM (#6029280)
That's not a bad trade: A real major leaguer for something you picked up at a Phillies giveaway day.
   5. Brian C Posted: July 16, 2021 at 10:24 PM (#6029349)
This trade annoys me as a Cubs fan - I know that Pederson has mostly sucked this year and there was no real value for him aside from a lottery ticket. So it's not that that bothers me.

But taking a flier on a guy with “huge exit velocities” but with some “contact problems” seems like a sign of a front office that just hasn't learned anything from the last few years. They've had lineups full of guys with "huge exit velocities" but with some "contact problems" and the result has been a front office that's spent years now sitting around wondering why they don't have a more consistent offense. Since it's a lottery ticket anyway, why not go get a guy with solid contact skills and hope he develops some power?

The whole thing just reeks of doing the same things that caused the problems in the first place and a front office that is very rigid in its thinking.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: July 16, 2021 at 11:32 PM (#6029360)
Since it's a lottery ticket anyway, why not go get a guy with solid contact skills and hope he develops some power?

maybe because the other teams are just as smart, so none of them will give you that guy?
then what do you do?
   7. RJ in TO Posted: July 16, 2021 at 11:42 PM (#6029363)
Doesn't "huge exit velocities" but with some "contact problems" describe the entirety of baseball right now? Pederson had struck out in 74 of his 289 PAs, or 25.6%. The NL as a whole is at 23.8%, and the AL is at 23.6%, so while he's slightly on the high side there, he's not exactly some huge outlier.
   8. Brian C Posted: July 16, 2021 at 11:45 PM (#6029365)
maybe because the other teams are just as smart, so none of them will give you that guy?
then what do you do?

Does it seem to you, given the state of the game, that good-contact/low-power types are in high demand to you right now?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2021 at 12:03 AM (#6029366)
Well, some recent contact problems. He had the standard half-season of rookie/A ball in 2019 after being drafted and his K-rate was under 20%. Like everybody else, he didn't get to play real baseball this year. Now after that layoff and after promotion, his K-rate is a bit under 30% which is no longer dramatic. His walk rate has been around 13-14% which compensates pretty well for some Ks. The main issue actually appears to be quality of contact -- the HR rate has been cut in half and the BABIP is quite low. All that said, I don't know what the current mix in the Cubs' system is -- if it's heavy TTO then I agree it would be better to gamble on contact-oriented longshots.

Meanwhile Pederson ... of course we are still talking small samples for him too but in 2020, he was below replacement in 138 PA; so far this year he has been below replacement in 287 PA. This year is mainly due to Rfield which might not be right but I certainly haven't been impressed and was assuming before the season that he must be better than Schwarber but he hasn't been. He was a good player in 2018-19 so of course might return to form (hint: don't let him bat against LHP, something the Cubs were happy to do for some reason) so the Braves might be quite happy.

But sure, the replacement-level player market is always flooded and the buyers would rather not be seen there. Not recommended to buy insurance there though.

Speaking of longshots -- the Cubs traded Darvish for roughly the equivalent of a good, not great, international signing season. Three of the four hadn't yet played pro ball.

Caissie -- 333/533/524 (30 PAs, 10 Ks)
Mena -- 195/298/244 (47 PAs, 5 Ks)
Preciado -- 395/490/581 (51 PAs, 11 Ks)
Santana -- 145/250/169 (97 PAs, 32 Ks) ... he's the vet and is at A-ball

Among all 4, at least it's 34 BB in 225 PA, a 15% walk rate. Anyway, I look forward to those two 500 OBPs at the top of the lineup in a few years. :-)

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