As the Los Angeles Dodgers outfield has become more settled in recent weeks, another outfielder is adding to the pressure that he receive a promotion from Triple-A. Joc Pederson homered in his third consecutive game on Thursday to give him 29 home runs on the season.
Pederson also stole his 27th base that night and looks to add to his totals on Saturday; the Istopes’ game on Friday was rained out.
If Friday’s game is not rescheduled, Pederson will have 16 more games to become the first Pacific Coast League player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases since Frank Demaree did so in 1934.
Pederson discussed the possibility of accomplishing the rare feat on Jay Mohr Sports:
I think that would definitely be a pretty exciting accomplishment to do. I guess realistically, it comes down to just trying to help the team win and if the opportunity presents itself, that would be awesome. You can’t really force the issue.”
Pederson hasn’t always been a power hitter and credited his mindset changing to the best advice he’s received:
I love hitting and whatnot. Someone once told me that there’s no money on the ground. You got to hit the ball, you got to drive the ball in the gap, hit it over the fence. You got to slug.”
Prior to 2014, Pederson’s high for home runs in one season was the 22 he hit in Double-A last season. Since debuting with the Dodgers rookie Arizona League team in 2010, Pederson has increased his home run total each year.
Pederson also acknowledged his father, Stu, whom the Dodgers selected in the ninth round of the 1981 draft, for aiding his progression as a player:
He’s definitely made me the player that I was growing up and I was fortunate to grow up in a baseball family. He’s always giving me a couple of tips and whatnot.”
Pederson is one of three elite prospects the Dodgers have in the organization that have fans hopeful for a bright future. The center fielder is hitting .301 with 67 RBIs and a 1.002 OPS in his first season with the Isotopes.
Although it may not be likely, it’s plausible Pederson could make his Dodgers debut when the rosters expand to 40 in September.
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