While the Los Angeles Dodgers may have lost offensive production with Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp no longer with the team, the general sense is they’ve improved across the board defensively.
Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins have taken over the Dodgers’ middle infield and while manager Don Mattingly has yet to make an official announcement, Joc Pederson is expected to further strengthen the middle of the defense in center field.
Last season Mattingly called Pederson, who at the time was still in Triple-A, the best center fielder in the organization. The 22 year old rookie has done nothing to dispel his manager’s notion as he put together a strong Spring Training, seemingly laying to rest any doubt whether he or Andre Ethier should be the everyday center fielder.
While Pederson has done well at the plate, he’d yet to have any sort of marquee moment out in center fielder; that isn’t a knock on him as he’s been sound defensively. With the Dodgers back in Southern California on Thursday for the first of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Pederson put his defensive tools on display.
Eric Aybar led off the bottom of the second inning with a sinking liner to center that Pederson came charging in on to make the diving, somersault catch complete with a quick juggle of the ball.