Pederson with the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers
|Los Angeles Dodgers - No. 31|
|Born: April 21, 1992|
Palo Alto, California
|September 1, 2014, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2019 season)
|Runs batted in||287|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joc Russell Pederson ( PEE-d?r-s?n; born April 21, 1992) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). Pederson was drafted by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB draft, out of Palo Alto High School. His father, Stu Pederson, played for the Dodgers in 1985.
In 2011, he hit .353 while leading the Pioneer League in RBIs and outfield assists, and was both a Pioneer League and Rookie League All Star. In 2012, he was named the Dodgers' "Minor League Player of the Year". By virtue of his Jewish heritage, he played for the Israel national baseball team in the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
In 2013, Pederson was both a mid-season and postseason Southern League All-Star, and led the league in slugging percentage. He was ranked the Dodgers' # 1 prospect by Baseball America after the 2013 season. In 2014, he became the first player in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) in 79 years, and the fourth all-time, to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season. That year Pederson led the PCL in runs, home runs, walks, on-base percentage, and OPS, while stealing 30 bases. He was named the PCL Most Valuable Player, to both the mid-season and postseason PCL All-Star teams, and was selected as Baseball America's AAA Player of the Year. In 2015, he was named the 8th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America.
He began the 2015 season as the Dodgers' starting center fielder, and the third-youngest player in the NL. Pederson was selected to the NL team in the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and was chosen to start in left field. He made it to the final round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, but lost to Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier. In 2017, he set a record with a hit and a run scored in each of his first six World Series games.
Pederson was born in Palo Alto, California, and is the son of Shelly (Cahn) and Stu Pederson. Stu played in eight games for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1985, and spent a total of 12 years in Minor League Baseball. Joc's mother was an athletic trainer in college. Pederson grew up a San Francisco Giants fan. He is Jewish by birth, and is eligible because he is Jewish to play for the Israel national baseball team, which he has played on.[a] Through 2019, Pederson was second among Jewish baseball players in career home run frequency (behind Hank Greenberg), 7th in career slugging percentage (behind Kevin Youkilis), and 10th in career home runs (behind Mike Epstein). Pederson's Jewish maternal great-great-great-grandfather and great-great-great-uncle immigrated to the United States in the 1840s, and were charter members of synagogue Temple Emanuel in San Francisco. His great-great-grandfather Leopold Cahn (born in 1864; son of Israel Cahn, a wool merchant), great-grandmother Zelda Sugarman (born in 1907), and great-great-grandmother Fannie Morris (born in 1873) were born in San Francisco. In terms of his religious identity, Pederson has described himself as "pretty much nothing."
His older brother Tyger Pederson played baseball for the University of the Pacific, and played second base in the Dodgers minor league system and for the Rockford Aviators in the Frontier League, and the San Rafael Pacifics and Vallejo Admirals in the Pacific Association. In 2019 Tyger became the hitting coach of the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League. His eldest brother, named Champ, has Down Syndrome and sometimes stays with him during the season. His younger sister, Jacey, is an elite national amateur soccer player, who played forward on the US Under-17 and Under-19 Women's National Soccer Teams.
Pederson attended Palo Alto High School, graduating in 2010. In his senior year, Pederson batted .466 with a .577 on-base percentage and an .852 slugging percentage, with 20 stolen bases in 22 attempts, playing center field and leading off for the school's baseball team. He also played for the school's football team, leading it with 30 receptions in his senior year for 650 yards and 9 touchdowns.
Pederson was selected out of Palo Alto High School by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft. He had committed to play at the University of Southern California, which his father had attended and for which his father had played baseball, but chose instead to sign with the Dodgers. He was given a $600,000 signing bonus, the second-highest bonus of any Dodger selection in the draft and four times the amount recommended for draft picks later than the fifth round.
In 2011, as the youngest player with the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League, he hit .353/.429/.568 with 11 homers, leading the league in RBIs (64), OPS (.997), and outfield assists (9), second in stolen bases (24) and on-base percentage, and third in runs (54) and walks (36), in 68 games. He was selected as both a Pioneer League and Rookie League All-Star, a Baseball America Rookie All Star, and a Topps Short-Season/Rookie League All Star. He was rated the Pioneer League # 3 prospect, and the Best Hitter for Average in the Dodgers system, by Baseball America in 2011.
Pederson was promoted to the Class-A (Advanced) Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League in 2012, at age 20. There he batted .313./.396/.526 with 96 runs (4th in the league), 48 extra base hits, and 26 steals. He was selected as the Dodgers 2012 "Minor League Player of the Year" (the "Branch Rickey Award"), and by MILB.com as a Dodgers organization All Star.Baseball America rated him the California League # 3 prospect, and the Best Defensive Outfielder and as having the Best Strike Zone Discipline in the Dodgers system.
The Dodgers then assigned him to the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, where he was an AFL Rising Star. He was ranked the Dodgers' # 4 prospect by Baseball America (and # 3 prospect by MILB.com) after the 2012 season.
He received a promotion to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts in the Southern League, starting the 2013 season as the youngest member of the team and the second-youngest position player in the league. Pederson was selected to represent the US team at the All-Star Futures Game during the season, and was also selected to play in the Southern League All Star game. He hit .278 while leading the league in slugging percentage (.497), was second in home runs (22) and runs (81), third in stolen bases (31), on-base percentage (.381), and OPS (.878), and fifth in walks, while batting leadoff with 58 RBIs and 10 outfield assists in 123 games during the season. He earned postseason All-Star honors, was a Topps Double-A All Star and a Baseball America Minor League All Star, and was Baseball America's # 7 prospect in the league. In the Baseball America manager's poll, he was voted the best defensive outfielder and the most exciting player in the Southern League. He then played winter ball for the Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he had a .439 on-base percentage. He was ranked the Dodgers' # 1 prospect by Baseball America after the 2013 season.
Pederson was then assigned to the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes to begin the 2014 season. He was named minor league Prospect of the Month by MLBPipeline.com in April 2014. He had batted .398 (second-best in the league)/.504/.663 with 6 home runs and 9 steals. He was the fifth-youngest position player in the Pacific Coast League, and almost five years younger than the league average. Ben Badler of Baseball America opined: "Pederson is the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect, No. 34 in baseball, and I still think he's underrated."
Pederson was named to the mid-season Pacific Coast League All-Star team after batting .319/.437 (leading the PCL)/.568 (3rd in the PCL) with a 1.005 OPS (leading the PCL), 17 home runs (tied for 6th in the minor leagues), 57 walks (tied for first in the PCL), 58 runs scored (2nd in the PCL), and 20 stolen bases (3rd in the PCL), in 74 games. In mid-season 2014, he was named the 17th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus, and the 18th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. On July 24, he became the second minor leaguer to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in 2014, and the first Isotopes player ever to have a 20/20 season. In doing so, he became the second LA Dodger minor leaguer ever to have two 20/20 minor league seasons, joining Mike Marshall who did it in 1979 and 1981.
On August 23, in his 115th game of the season Pederson became the first player in the PCL in 80 years (since Frank Demaree in 1934, in 186 games), and the fourth all-time, to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season. The only other Pacific Coast League hitters to do it were Lefty O'Doul (1927, in 189 games) and Hall of Famer Tony Lazzeri (1925, in 197 games). He was also only the second Dodger minor leaguer to ever do it, joining Chin-Feng Chen (1999; 31/31 for Class A San Bernardino).
In 2014, Pederson hit .303/.435 (leading the league)/.582 (3rd in the league) and led the PCL in runs (106), home runs (33), walks (100), and OPS (1.017), while stealing 30 bases (3rd in the league). He set Isotopes single-season records for walks and runs scored. He batted .306/.442/.573 against righties and .299/.422/.598 against lefties, while hitting .366 with runners on base.
He was voted the 2014 PCL Most Valuable Player, named to the postseason All-PCL team, and named the PCL Rookie of the Year, which is awarded to a player in his first year at the AAA level. He was also named by Baseball America as AAA Player of the Year, as a AAA All-Star, and to their 2014 Minor League All-Star team. Pederson was selected as the Dodgers organization's "Minor League Player of the Year" for the second time (sharing the award with shortstop Corey Seager). He became the third Dodgers position player to win the award two times, joining Billy Ashley and Paul Konerko.
Through 2014, his aggregate minor league stats were a hitting line of .302/.405/.524, with 84 home runs and 113 stolen bases in 1,641 at bats.
Pederson was added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster and called up to the Majors for the first time on September 1, 2014. Manager Don Mattingly said: "The people in our organization that have seen him the most say he's the best center fielder in our organization".
He struck out as a pinch hitter in his Major League debut that night, against the Washington Nationals. He started in center field the following day and picked up his first Major League hit on a single to right center off of Doug Fister in the second inning. In 18 games, he had only four hits in 28 at-bats.
After the Dodgers traded Matt Kemp in December 2014, the Los Angeles Times wrote that the team figured to start Pederson in center field in the 2015 season.Baseball America named him the #8 prospect in 2015, and MLB.com ranked him the 13th-best prospect in baseball, and the #2 outfield prospect, going into the 2015 season.
After a strong spring training in which he led the team in home runs, RBIs, and runs scored, Pederson was announced as the Dodgers Opening Day starting center fielder for the 2015 season. The prior two Dodgers rookies to both start on Opening Day and keep the job the entire season were Todd Hollandsworth (in 1996) and Wilton Guerrero (in 1997). At 22 years of age, he was the youngest Dodgers opening day starting center fielder since Willie Crawford (in 1969), and the third-youngest player in the NL.
He hit his first MLB home run on April 12 off of A. J. Schugel of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He hit his first major league grand slam on May 1 off of Rubby De La Rosa of the Diamondbacks, with the estimated 446-foot shot being the longest home run hit by a Dodger at home since 2012, and the grand slam being the first for the Dodgers since Yasiel Puig hit one in 2013. The next day, he became the first Dodgers rookie to homer in four consecutive games since Bill Sudakis in 1969, and became the youngest Dodgers rookie ever to do so. Pederson hit two homers on May 6, marking seven straight hits that went for home runs, the first time that had been done since 2013 and the first time by a rookie since rookie status was defined in the major leagues in 1958. On May 23, Pederson hit his third leadoff home run of the season, tying the Dodgers' rookie record set by Johnny Frederick in 1929. Pederson's nine home runs in May tied James Loney (September 2007) for the Dodgers' record for home runs by a rookie in a calendar month. His 13 home runs for the season through May 31 tied Orlando Cepeda (1958) for the second-most by a National League rookie through the end of May in baseball history, behind Albert Pujols (16 in 2001).
Pederson homered in both games of a day-night doubleheader on June 2, with his second homer being estimated at 480 feet, the longest in the Majors at that point of the season. On June 3, he homered in his fifth consecutive game, becoming the first Dodgers rookie to ever do so. That also tied the team record, with Pederson joining Roy Campanella (1950), Shawn Green (2001), Matt Kemp (2010), and Adrián González (2014-15). Coupled with his four-game home run streak in May, he became only the second rookie in the modern era to have two home run streaks of at least four games (joining Minnesota's Jimmie Hall; 1963). Pederson hit his 19th home run on June 22, passing Mike Piazza (1993) for most home runs by a Dodgers rookie before the All-Star break. He hit his 20th on June 29, making him one of only three rookies in MLB history to hit 20 or more homers before July, joining Wally Berger (1930) and Albert Pujols (2001).
Pederson was selected to the National League squad in the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the first Dodgers rookie to be selected as an All Star since Hideo Nomo in 1995, and he was later chosen to start in left field after Matt Holliday withdrew from the game due to an injury. He became the first Dodgers rookie position player to ever start in an All-Star game. He was also selected to participate in the Home Run Derby. Pederson was the #4 seed, hit the longest homer of the evening at 489 feet, became the first Dodger to make it to the Derby finals, and came in second, losing 15-14 to Todd Frazier in the final round.
Pederson's performance tailed off in June and July and the Dodgers dropped him out of the leadoff spot in the batting order, citing his high strikeout rate, highest in the majors. On August 23, Pederson lost his starting center fielder job due to his extended slump.
In 151 games in 2015, he hit .210/.346/.417 with 26 homers (the second-most by a Dodger rookie in franchise history, behind Mike Piazza's 35 in 1993) and 67 runs, 54 RBIs, 92 walks (5th in the NL; third-most by a Dodger rookie in franchise history behind Jim Gilliam (100 in 1953) and Billy Grabarkewitz (95 in 1970), 18.5 at-bats-per-home-run (10th in the league), and 4.21 pitches-per-plate-appearance (6th-most in the major leagues). His 26 home runs averaged a distance of 421.7 feet, the longest average distance of any MLB hitter. He tied the lowest RBI total ever by a player with 25 or more homers (Ron Gant also hit 26 home runs with 54 RBIs, in 2000). He also tied Matt Kemp for the Dodgers franchise strikeout record, with 170 (3rd in the National League). At the conclusion of the season, he was selected to Baseball America's All-Rookie team.
On June 28, Pederson left a game against the Milwaukee Brewers after spraining his right AC joint while making a diving catch against the outfield wall; he was placed on the DL three days later, and returned on July 19.
Pederson appeared in 137 games in 2016, batting 246/.352/.495 with 25 home runs, 25 doubles, and 68 RBIs. His 25 home runs averaged a distance of 412.1 feet (the 7th-longest average distance of any MLB hitter), and he saw 4.18 pitches-per-plate-appearance (10th-most in the NL). He became the first Dodger to hit 25 home runs in each of his first two seasons.
On April 3, 2017, Pederson hit a grand slam home run on Opening Day against the Padres. It was the first grand slam by a Dodger hitter on Opening Day since Eric Karros hit one on April 3, 2000, against Montreal. His five Opening Day RBIs were the most by a Dodger since Raúl Mondesí drove in six in 1999 against Arizona.
On May 23 in a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals, Pederson collided with teammate Yasiel Puig in the outfield, and went on the 7-day concussion disabled list. On August 19, Pederson was sent to Triple-A after the Dodgers acquired Curtis Granderson from the New York Mets. In 2017, he batted .212/.331/.407 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs in 273 at bats.
In the 2017 postseason, Pederson broke a Dodgers postseason record that was established in 1953, as he had five consecutive games with an extra-base hit, surpassing Billy Cox, Andre Ethier, and A.J. Ellis. In the 2017 World Series, in 18 at bats he batted .333/.400/.944 and led the Dodgers in runs (6) and home runs (3), while tied for the team lead in doubles (2) and RBIs (5). He tied a World Series record with five straight games with an extra base hit, and set a record with a hit and a run scored in each of his first six World Series games.
Pederson signed a one-year, $2.6 million contract with the Dodgers for 2018, avoiding salary arbitration.
On September 19, Pederson hit his eighth leadoff home run of the season, off of San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Dereck Rodríguez, passing Davey Lopes for the franchise record for leadoff home runs in one season. In Game One of the 2018 NLDS, Pederson hit a first pitch leadoff home run against the Braves. For the season, in 59 games batting as the leadoff hitter, he hit .309/.356/.818.
In his 2018 campaign he played in 148 games, hitting .248/.321/.522 with 25 home runs and 56 RBIs in 395 at bats. His improvement in slugging percentage of .115 over the prior year was the 5th-best in the majors. On defense, Pederson had the 3rd-best fielding percentage among National League left fielders (.992), and was 5th among them in assists (6).
Pederson agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract with the Dodgers for 2019, avoiding salary arbitration. On May 14, 2019, Pederson hit his 100th career home run against San Diego Padres starting pitcher Chris Paddack. Pederson participated in the Home Run Derby at the 2019 MLB All-Star Game and lost in the semi-finals to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a battle that went to a swing off tie-breaker.
In 2019 he played in 149 games, hitting .249/.339/.538 with 36 home runs and 74 RBIs in 450 at bats, and was 5th in the NL with a home run every 12.5 at bats. In the first game of the 2019 National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals, Pederson smashed the hardest-hit Dodgers home run of the year, with a 114.9 mph exit velocity.
Pederson, by virtue of his Jewish heritage, played for the Israel national baseball team in the qualifying rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the youngest player on the team. He batted second for Team Israel, and hit .308 with three steals. During all three games of the qualifier, Pederson started in right field. During the first game, Pederson went 1 for 5 with two strikeouts and left three runners on base. During the second game Pederson went 2 for 4 with a run scored, a strikeout, left two runners on base, and stole a base. During the third and final game Pederson went 1 for 4, scored two runs, walked twice, struck out, and stole a base.
Pederson married longtime girlfriend Kelsey Williams in January 2018. In October 2018, during the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers, their daughter Poppy Jett Pederson was born. Pederson lives in Studio City, California.
In November 2019 Pederson was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California.