There is a very good chance that Giants outfielder Joc Pederson will be the team’s lone All-Star position player this season.
Despite that, Pederson has started in just 54 of the Giants’ 74 games, the left-hander used primarily against right-handed pitching. That has changed a bit recently, with Pederson getting more and more looks against lefties as his overall numbers — .276 /.350/.583 — continue to impress. Pederson is still hitting right-handers better (.954 OPS), but his OPS vs. lefties is nothing to sneeze at (.804).
So, will Pederson continue to have more of an everyday role moving forward? It’s possible, but maybe not the best course of action according to Giants manager Gabe Kapler.
“In some ways the answer to that question is yes,” Kapler said when asked about putting Joc in an everyday role on KNBR. “As you’ve probably seen, he’s gotten more and more reps against left-handed pitching, and in some cases you’ve seen us leave him in games longer and part of that is because of exactly what you said. He’s swinging the bat really well, he’s squaring the baseball up consistently and it’s hard not to have him in the lineup.
“At the same time, he and all of our outfielders are going to need some rest from time to time. We’ve got a lot of good outfielders. I think you’ve seen — and this is not to take away anything from what Joc has done — but you’ve probably seen Austin Slater be one of the better hitters against left-handed pitching in baseball over the last couple of years. He’s also a pretty equipped defensive center fielder for us.”
“Between LaMonte Wade Jr., [Mike Yastrzemski], Austin Slater, [Darin] Ruf…we have a lot of guys who need to get reps. While I appreciate Joc can play everyday, I’m not sure that’s what’s best for Joc and for the Giants. We’re going to consider it, and you’ll see us give him more and more opportunity because he’s earned it, but also the other guys need to play as well.”
Wanting to get Slater reps makes sense. He’s has a career .843 OPS against left-handed pitching, in addition to his above average defense.
“If all of our left-handed hitting outfielders — Yaz, LaMonte Wade Jr., Luis Gonzalez, Joc Pederson — are playing every day, does Austin Slater ever play? The answer is probably no, so we have to make sure all of our productive and healthy outfielders are getting regular looks.”
Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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