While the Los Angeles Dodgers have spent lavishly under the Guggenheim group, they’ve maintained it wouldn’t continue forever and there would eventually be a shift to building the franchise on the shoulders of prospects.
Leading that charge is a trio of headliners in Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias. Whereas Seager and Urias are at least one season away from making their Major-League debut, Pederson was a September callup last season and is considered by some the favorite to be the Dodgers’ starting center fielder moving forward.
That’s due in part to the strong spring Pederson has put together, which Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire credited to his work ethic, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
That’s the body of work that he’s put in to maintain and to work off of to be successful,” McGwire said. “You can’t just show up and play anymore. I don’t think it exists. You have to put in the work, to put in the study, and he’s willing to do that.
McGwire also complimented Pederson for his offseason work and said he believes he’s capable of becoming a superstar:
The work he’s put in in the offseason, and what he’s doing and sticking with it, you’re seeing the potential” — McGwire paused, as if choosing the words carefully – “of a superstar in the making.”
Pederson credited Justin Turner for aiding him during the offseason and he’s also adjusted his batting stance this spring and it’s paid dividends. The 22 year old is batting .368 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. His slash line is perhaps even more impressive, at .389/.421/.796. Moreover, 10 of his 21 hits have been for extra bases.
While manager Don Mattingly has yet to name a starter in center field, Pederson hasn’t done anything during the spring that would lead one to believe it won’t be him when the Dodgers take the field April 6 for Opening Day.
Dodgers Utility Man Justin Turner