MLB on Sling TV: Rookie Joc Pederson Shines as Dodgers’ Newest Star

Jun 01, 2015 by Robb Todd


The Dodgers might have been worried in the offseason about trading away fan-favorite Matt Kemp but Joc Pederson has already ushered in an exciting new era in the outfield.

And the 23-year-old rookie center fielder has done it both with his bat and his glove.

“The sky’s the limit for him. It’s ridiculous the talent he has,” Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire said. “You’re just seeing glimpses now. It’s going to be ridiculous for the next 15 to 20 years.”

Entering Monday’s games, Pederson is fifth in the N.L. in home runs with 13, third in the league in walks (33), eighth in the league in slugging (.546), and eighth in OPS (.933).

And the glove has been a big boost for a much-improved defense, as well.

“You go back to the beginning of the season,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said, “and it was Joc’s defense that made it a lot easier knowing to bring him up to start the year—seeing him in the minors, we knew that he was going to be good out there, and even if he struggles offensively a little bit early, defensively he’s going to be a big part of it. It was defense first. He was going to make our team better up the middle no matter what. If he struggled at the plate, so what? The bat coming along as it did was kind of a bonus.”

Pederson not only has baseball bloodlines, he might have Dodger Blue in his veins. His father, Stu, played in the Dodgers farm system for his first seven years but never found success at the Major League level.

“He did everything he could to be the best player he could be. No regrets,” Joc said of his father. “That’s what he’s always told us, to go out there and make sure that when they take the uniform away from you, there’s nothing you wish you could have done or should have done or worked harder. I tip my cap to him.”

That lesson is already paying off.

And while Pederson is an early favorite for Rookie of the Year honors, teammate Adrian Gonzalez has put up MVP-type numbers in the early going. The tandem is leading a retooled offense that has had to make due without the electric Yasiel Puig for most of the early going—and they’ve been doing quite well.

So let’s call the first two games of the week on Sling TV warmups for the battle Sunday night.

No offense to the Brewers and Rockies, but their seasons seemed to have ended before June, and the talk is heating up about both squads selling off some of their best players to teams at the top of their divisions.

Teams such as the Dodgers and Cardinals.

The Cardinals host the Brewers on Monday, and the Dodgers travel to Coors Field to face there Rockies on Wednesday. This sets up the Sunday night game nicely when the Cardinals play the Dodgers in L.A.

Here’s this week’s schedule, with probable pitchers as of Monday.

Monday, June 1
Milwaukee at St. Louis*, 8pm (ESPN)

Mike Fiers vs Jaime Garcia
*Subject to blackouts in some areas

Wednesday, June 3
Los Angeles Dodgers* at Colorado, 8pm (ESPN2)

Mike Bolsinger vs Chad Bettis
*Subject to blackouts in some areas

Sunday, June 7
St. Louis at Los Angeles Dodgers, 8pm (ESPN)

Lance Lynn vs Zack Greinke

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