Much speculation was made regarding which relievers and bench players the Los Angeles Dodgers would carry on their 25-man roster, but when it came to the team’s outfield, no one was close to surprised about the five players selected, including top prospect Joc Pederson.
The expectations for Pederson have been set extraordinarily high, but according to the young outfielder, the pressure has not gotten to him, via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
I think I have the highest standards for myself than anyone else out there. It’s not really pressure. It’s baseball. It’s something that I want to be really good at,” he said. “That’s something you dream about as a kid, playing in the big leagues. I’m doing anything I can to be able to make that dream come true.”
Although Pederson has yet to be named the starting center fielder on a full-time basis, Mattingly’s recently hinted at as much. On Monday, he again said the plan is to stick with Pederson for the time being, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) April 6, 2015
Pederson hit .338/.377/.692 with six home runs and 13 RBIs in the spring, both of which were team highs. While Andre Ethier trumps Pederson in experience, the rookie is touted as the club’s best center fielder.
Making the first of many starts for the Dodgers this season, Pederson’s day included some of the peaks and valleys to be expected with a rookie. He tracked down a fly ball in the right-center field gap for a diving catch and doubled in the sixth inning to finish the game 1-for-3 with a double, walk and stolen base in the Dodgers’ 6-3 win over the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers Utility Man Justin Turner