Spring Training Spotlight: Joc Pederson

Joc Pederson nearly hit two homeruns during the evening game of a split squad Saturday schedule for the Dodgers in Arizona. A loud sellout crowd was on hand at Camelback Ranch for the Spring Training game between the Dodgers and the Mariners. The Mariners made some big blunders in the field, and Joc Pederson made two big booming hits in the 8-5 Mariner win. Josh Beckett got rocked by back-to-back homeruns from Jesus Montero and Stefan Romero in the top of the second inning. Jamey Wright and Chris Withrow also allowed a run apiece.

Not only did Alex Guerrero continue to feel more comfortable at the plate when he hit his sixth base hit of the Spring, a single in the bottom of the second, but Joc Pederson supplied even more Dodger Blue fireworks with two booming hits.

In the bottom of the fourth inning during Saturday night’s game, Pederson launched a near homerun off of Seattle pitcher Logan Kensing. The ball hit the top of the gate which lines the outfield wall for some reason. In most parks, it would have been a homerun. The umpires rule it a ground-rule double at first, but then they confer to review the ground rules. They are not using replay for this game. Which barks up another question-why not have all of these Spring games have the option of replay since the new rules will go into affect soon when the regular season begins?

March 4, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson (65) at bat in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In the at-bat following Joc’s “double,” the 21-year old outfielder came out swinging again and this time it went out without any conference needed afterward. The two-run homerun is the second one of the Spring for the young prospect. Joc, a So Cal native, would add youth and that beautiful swing to the Dodgers roster. The problem is that the Dodgers have five great outfielders, and Joc is down the ladder at the moment.

With an impressive Spring so far, Joc will be debuting in Dodger Blue very soon. Matt Kemp may be progressing toward a return to action, but I still think he should come back when he’s 100% or risk career ending injury. Even when he comes back, there’s no way he plays every day. Crawford can’t play every day, and Puig’s shoulder is a partial question mark now. I wrote about how Joc Pederson Could Factor into the Dodgers season earlier this month, and he only continues to impress me this Spring.

Joc Pederson has showed management a bit of his fire and his abilities this Spring. He wavered a bit defensively at one point in Saturday’s game out in center field on a ball which Dee Gordon should have had.  Pederson has made some nice grabs out there in center, and after watching him play I can say that he could be a decent Major League center fielder or strong corner infielder.

While I still love to watch Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier play, it’s inevitable that the youth would eventually take over. Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson are the kids of the future of right now. No, really. They are here, they are good, and they should stay.

A talented position player prospect like Joc Pederson doesn’t come along too often from the Dodgers minor league system. Pederson should get the opportunity to play for the Dodgers. Blocked by big contracts and big egos, Pederson may spend most of next season in Albuquerque.

Joc Pederson continues to impress this Spring, and I would be giddy if he somehow made the team when camp broke.

Carl Crawford is making $20.25 million next year, and he is signed through 2017.

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