Over the last few years there’s been plenty of buzz surrounding Joc Pederson and his rise through Los Angeles Dodgers’ farm system. Pederson spent last season playing in Triple-A and became the first Pacific Coast League player in 80 years to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases.
After the historic season, Pederson was one of the players called up when active rosters expanded in September. His debut in the Majors was far from a success, albeit in minimal playing time. Pederson appeared in 18 games, hit .143/.351/.143 and had 11 strikeouts in 38 plate appearances.
The rookie outfielder reported to camp with the Dodgers and was impressive from the start. He finished the spring leading the team in home runs (six) and RBIs (13) while batting .338/.377/.692 in 26 games.
Pederson’s play essentially earned him the starting job in center field, though manager Don Mattingly allowed the decision to drag out, never officially naming Pederson the starter — at least publicly — until writing his name on the lineup card on Opening Day.
Including Sunday, Pederson has started all six of the Dodgers’ games this season. He’d been off to a slow start at the plate before a breakout game that helped the Dodgers avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Pederson led off the third inning with a double and came around to score on Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice fly. He then reached on an infield single in the fourth and hit his first career Major-League home run in the sixth inning. A triple shy of hitting for the cycle, Pederson was intentionally walked in the seventh and struck out swinging in the ninth.
Heralded as the best center fielder in the organization, Pederson finished 3-for-4 with one home run and a run scored.