Spring training is a time for everyday players to get their reps and get back into shape for the upcoming season, but for many young players, it’s a time to showcase their talents and prove to the organization that they’re ready for the big leagues.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have two top prospects that are on the cusp of being able to claim a spot on the 25-man roster in outfielder Joc Pederson and pitcher Zach Lee. Pederson is a 21-year-old outfielder that spent last season in Double-A with the Chattanooga Lookouts.
According to Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider, GM Ned Colletti discussed the future for the left-handed slugger:
I think there’s still some work that needs to be done. I have no doubt he’ll be a really good big-league player, whether it’s at some point in 2014 or 2015.
Pederson hit .278 with 22 home runs and 58 RBI in 123 games last season and is considered the team’s top outfield prospect. Making the big-league club will prove tough, as the Dodgers already have a logjam in the outfield with Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig. Some believe that Pederson may become a trading chip because the team is locked into long-term deals with the four players. He’ll have his chance to make his case this spring and will likely begin the year in Triple-A.
Lee is a 22-year-old starting pitcher who also spent 2013 in Double-A and is regarded as the Dodgers’ top prospect. He spoke about his plans this upcoming spring via Osborne:
My whole philosophy going into Spring Training is I’m trying to win a job. I’m trying to compete for a job. So I’m trying to prepare as much as I can going into Spring Training so I’m not overwhelmed. I’m not overpressured.
The right-hander went 10-10 with a 3.22 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 142.2 innings last year. He’ll be in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation, barring any free agent signings in the coming weeks. Josh Beckett is currently slotted in as the fifth starter but is coming off a major surgery. Lee will likely begin in the minor leagues and could see himself brought up if an injury occurs. He could also come up in September and get some work out of the bullpen.
Regardless, Pederson and Lee both have goals of showing they deserve to have a spot on the roster either at the start or end of the season.
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