Joc Pederson: Los Angeles Dodgers’ New Boy Wonder


Who’s on Deck?

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No it’s the new center fielder for the L.A. Dodgers flying around the outfield and sending home run balls into the eagerly awaiting masses.

The Joc Pederson era has begun at center field for the Dodgers and it has come at the perfect time. The 22-year-old Pederson who was drafted out of high school, has officially taken over the center field spot for the L.A. Dodgers.

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The log jam that was the Dodgers outfield last season was temporarily relieved when they traded away Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres this offseason. However, another problem presented itself. One of the fan favorites Andre Ethier still remains on the roster.

Ethier has had a steep decline in production over the past 3 seasons. After finishing the 2012 season with 158 hits and 20 HRs, he followed that up in 2013 with 131 hits and only 12 home runs. This past season was Ethier’s worst season as a professional in terms of production with only 85 hits and 4 HR’s.

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Joc Pederson is coming off one of the best seasons in AAA history. Pederson played with the Albuquerque Isotopes where he made the Pacific League All-Star team. He was also the first player in the league in 80 years to hit over 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. He was named the League’s Most Valuable Player and the rookie of the year. Pederson finished the season with 33 HR’s and 100 walks.

“A lot of the hard work is paying off”

This is offensive production the Dodgers desperately need at center after trading away Kemp. Kemp had good numbers for the 2014 season including 155 hits and 25 HR’s. However, his long term health and durability came into heavy questioning.

With Kemp’s health and Ethier’s game seemingly in decline, the Dodgers have taken a huge gamble on the young Pederson. He has a very big responsibility on his shoulders. The Dodgers are the team with the largest payroll in the Major’s with over $270 million being spent.

Pederson showed this Spring that he was ready for the challenge. He hit to the tune of .338 including leading the team in home runs (6) RBI’s (13) and runs scored (14).

For his opening day debut, Pederson had quite the outing. After striking out and popping out in his first 2 at bats, Pederson showed his defensive skills and made a fantastic diving catch in the top of the sixth inning to help keep the Dodgers within 1 run. In the bottom of the sixth he doubled to right field and promptly stole a base. In the bottom of the eighth, with the score tied, he drew a walk and ended up scoring the winning run off of a homer from Jimmy Rollins.

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  • After the game Pederson had this to say, “It’s been a long process,” according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times Pederson goes on to mention “A lot of the hard work is paying off.”

    How has Pederson fared in almost his first full month of Major League action? He is hitting a respectable .289 but his on base percentage is a nice .438 average thanks to the rookie drawing 10 walks so far. Compare that to who is considered the best center fielder in the baseball Mike Trout’s OBP of .420 and you can see Joc Pederson is right on pace with where he needs to be.

    One thing is for sure, people in Dodger land are hoping they have found their own ‘Angel in the Outfield’, but this Angel prefers Dodger blue and they hope he will help carry them to the promised land!

    Batter up!

    Next: Los Angeles Dodgers Let The Bats Do The Talking