In the 11th round of the 2010 draft, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted an 18-year-old centerfielder out of Palo Alto High School.
Today, that centerfielder, who goes by the name of Joc Pederson, celebrates his 23rd birthday by starting in center field for the Dodgers at AT&T Park, as the Dodgers will take on the rival San Francisco Giants.
Pederson had been the top prospect in the Dodgers organization for the past two years. In 2011, he lead the Pioneer Baseball League in RBIs and outfield assists, and was both a Pioneer League and Rookie League All Star. In 2012, he was named the Dodgers’ “Minor League Player of the Year”. In 2013, Pederson was both a mid-season and post-season Southern League All-Star, and led the league in slugging percentage while playing for the Double-A affiliate Chattanooga Lookouts.
He was then promoted to Triple-A in 2014, where he became the first player in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season. He also led the PCL in runs, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, and OPS. He was named the PCL Most Valuable Player while playing for the Albuquerque Isotopes.
He was called up to the Major League club on September 1, 2014. His first big league hit came the very next day. In 18 games, he had only four hits in 28 at-bats.
After the Dodgers traded Matt Kemp in the offseason, Pederson found himself battling for a starting spot this Spring Training. He won the everyday centerfield job by batting .338 with six homers in 65 at-bats. He has continued that success into the regular season, as he is batting .289 with two homers and a .438 OBP so far in this young season.
Dodgers Nation would like to congratulate Pederson for all he has accomplished so far, and we look forward to seeing more of it in the years to come. We wish him a happy 23rd birthday!
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