When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Matt Kemp in the offseason, that showed the faith that the organization had in center field prospect Joc Pederson.
The 23-year-old is rewarding the organization for that faith, by playing outstanding on both sides of the ball so far in the 2015 season. Pederson is beginning to open eyes all around the league with both his glove and his bat. The latest came Monday night at Dodger Stadium against the San Francisco Giants.
The center fielder made a dazzling over-the-shoulder catch to rob Angel Pagan of an extra-base hit. He then was able to double up the runner at first base. He followed that up by hitting a home run over the left-center field wall.
Pederson has start 18 out of the Dodgers’ 19 games in center field this season, and while he has seen success at the plate, according to Earl Bloom of MLB.com, he still feels there is room for improvement:
I’m still missing some pitches,” said Pederson, who went 2-for-3 and raised his average to .296. “It’s a long process … build it, brick by brick.”
Pederson has shown tremendous patience at the plate, leading to 16 walks which ranks second in Major League Baseball. He also has an on-base percentage of .458, which is fourth in the league. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly thinks that Pederson’s patience at the plate is going to get even better with experience:
We just think he is going to keep improving,” Mattingly said. “He’s got a really good eye, and it’s going to get better with experience
Pederson became the first Pacific Coast League player in 80 years to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases last year in Triple-A. With the talent he has shown so far this season, it is not unfair to expect many 30-30 seasons out of him in a Dodgers uniform in the future.
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