Dodgers @ D-Backs April 12, 2015: Let’s Give Joc Pederson A Chance

In 2006, Dustin Pedroia came up in late August for the Red Sox and didn’t show all that much, putting up a .191/.258/.303 line in 89 plate appearances.

Dodgers
D-backs
1:10 p.m.
Phoenix, Ariz.
SS
Rollins
CF
Pollock
RF
Puig
RF
Inciarte
1B
Gonzalez
1B
Goldschmidt
2B
Kendrick
LF
Peralta
C
Grandal
3B
Lamb
LF
Ethier
C
Gosewich
3B
Guerrero
2B
Pennington
CF
Pederson
SS
Ahmed
P
Greinke (R)
P
Collmenter (R)

The next year, installed as the starting second baseman out of camp, he was even worse early on, hitting .182/.308/.236 through the first month of the season. There was panic, really, in Boston, which I remember mostly because I was living there at the time. There were calls to bench him or trade him or both. The Red Sox stuck with him, and Pedroia ended up winning the Rookie of the Year award and playing a major role in Boston’s second title in four seasons. He’s now a regular All-Star, and it’s not out of the question to wonder if he’s putting together a Hall of Fame case.

I’m thinking about this today because Joc Pederson is off to a pretty slow start himself, and the parallels are similar. Pederson hit .143/.351/.143 in limited time last September; installed as the regular center fielder out of camp, he’s hit just .176/.263/.294 in the first week of the season. You can already feel fans getting fidgety; I’ve received at least one tweet from a fan demanding to know why Don Mattingly is “showing patience” with Pederson as he struggles.

I’m not saying that I know for sure that Pederson will turn it around, and it’s hardly fair to expect that he’ll have a career as productive as Pedroia’s. We’ve long known that strikeout issues could be a major impediment to stardom. But I do know that we’re talking about 57 plate appearances across two seasons. To give up on a player with his prospect pedigree based on that, well, it’s just lunacy. Not that I think the Dodgers will, of course; they’re smarter than that, and there’s not really an alternative considering that Andre Ethier is both well past his prime and not even wanting to play center.

I’d like to think Pederson will be okay, and I’m aware that he might not be. All we know for sure is that we’re weeks — months, really — away from being able to make an informed opinion on that. All you can do for now is have patience and give the player with undeniable talent the chance to let it come out. He is, after all, not yet even 23 years old.

* * *

Pederson is again in the lineup today, hitting eighth against Josh Collmenter. Unsurprisingly, neither Justin Turner nor Juan Uribe are in the lineup after yesterday’s injuryfest, although it appears Uribe’s injury may not be as serious as feared. In the meantime, Alex Guerrero receives his first career start.

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About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.