The Heart & Hustle Award is given out annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) to a current player who not only excels on the field, but also “best embodies the values, spirits and traditions of baseball.”
Every year one player from each of the 30 MLB teams wins the award and represents their team as a nominee for the MLB Heart & Hustle Award, given to one player in the league each season.
This year’s the Dodgers’ nominee and winner is rookie center fielder Joc Pederson. He was chosen by a committee of alumni players based on passion, desire and work ethic both on and off the field. Later in the season, fans, alumni and active players will select a final winner from the 30 team representative.
Pederson is having an outstanding rookie campaign, slashing .230/.361/.472 with 20 home runs and 40 RBIs through 93 games. He has been equally, if not more impressive, in the field, playing Gold Glove-caliber defense.
This award could be first of many this season for Pederson, who is among the favorites to win National League Rookie and the Year and perhaps a Gold Glove as well.
Previous winner of the Heart & Hustle Award, which the MLBPAA started giving out in 2005 are David Eckstein (2005), Craig Biggio (’06, ’07), Grady Sizemore (’08), Albert Pujols (’09), Roy Halladay (’10), Torii Hunter (’11), Mike Trout (’12), Dustin Pedroia (’13) and Josh Harrison (’14). The winner of this year’s award will be announced in November.
Past Dodgers nominees include Dee Gordon, Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston Jr., Jamey Carroll, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin three times and Eric Gagne.
If Pederson wins the award he would become the second rookie to do so, following in fellow Southern California center fielder Mike Trout’s footsteps.