Man, they weren’t kidding when they said Joc Pederson heats up when the weather cools off. The former Chicago Cubs outfielder is back to his October ways once again, this time as a member of the Atlanta Braves – doing damage against his former team in the NLCS.
Atlanta has to feel pretty great about the deal they made a week before the trade deadline, sending prospect Bryce Ball to Chicago for the slugging outfielder. At the time, the longtime Dodgers outfielder had been struggling and never really seemed to hit his stride with the Cubs.
Through 73 games, Pederson mustered a .718 OPS prior to the trade. He marginally improved that mark down the stretch with Atlanta, but was still a below-average offensive presence. Then, the calendar flipped over to October and – right on schedule – Joctober arrived.
Remember – just last fall while playing for Los Angeles, he had two homers, one each against Atlanta and Tampa Bay, and accounted for three RBI in each of the six-game series. He hit .400 or better in the NLDS, NLCS and World Series – putting up a monster 1.200 OPS in the Fall Classic en route to his first ring.
Looking to make it two straight championship-winning seasons, Pederson hasn’t missed a beat this postseason, hitting two homers and driving in five in just four NLDS games against Milwaukee. He batted .429 against the Brewers, slugged 1.286 and had an OPS of 1.714.
Chicago Cubs: Joc Pederson keeps showing up in big postseason moments
In the first game against the Dodgers this October, Pederson went 1-for-3. However, on Sunday, with one man on, Pederson hit a breaking ball from NL Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer for a massive two-run homer. The fans chants of “Joc-tober” enveloped the Braves’ stadium.
If the Braves go on to play in the World Series, it will be interesting to see if Pederson can maintain his scorching pace in the postseason. Meanwhile Cubs fans sit back and watch in wonder at a player we didn’t see during his stint in Chicago.