Double-A Chattanooga's Joc Pederson has already built himself a very good season, but he's not coasting toward the finish line at all.
The top Dodgers prospect smacked a three-run homer and doubled in the second half of Monday's doubleheader for Chattanooga in a 7-0 blanking of Jacksonville. The win secured a twinbill sweep for the Lookouts after a 2-0 blanking of the Suns in the first game.
Pederson has homered four times in his last six games, delivering a late-season power surge in late August as he's rebounded from a rough stretch that followed the All-Star break.
"I'm just trying to get a good pitch, put a good swing on it. Our hitting coordinator [Eric Owens] was in town and we just started putting some things together, trying to keep going with it," said Pederson.
The 21-year-old has also hit safely in seven of his last eight games, starting on Aug. 13. In those eight contests, he's batted .400 (12-for-30) with 11 RBIs.
His first long ball came on Aug. 15 against Tennessee and he drove another one out the next day. On Sunday, he went 3-for-5 with a homer in the first game of the series against the Suns.
Then he went 0-for-3 on Monday in the first game of the doubleheader before he added to his home run tally in the nightcap.
He'd hit just .203/.324/.373 in 17 games in July and began August in a 3-for-28 slump before he began his recent run with a 2-for-4 day on Aug. 13.
"It was just about finding a comfortable spot," he said. "There's a lot of games left, so I'm just trying to finish strong, do my best. Come to the park every day and help the team win."
The 2010 11th-rounder, who earned himself a selection to Team USA at this year's Futures Game, now has an overall line this season that reads .281/.380/.494 in 112 games in the Southern League.
He has 19 homers, 23 doubles and 55 RBIs as well as 29 steals in 36 attempts.
It's been a year that's shown the outfielder was no flash-in-the-pan in the Class A Advanced California League last year, where he hit .313/.396/.516 in 110 games for Rancho Cucamonga on the traditionally hitter-friendly circuit.
Pederson hadn't run into much trouble this season until July, with OPS figures of 1.001 in April, .801 in May and .939 in June before the extended slump.
He's lifted his August line to .259/.377/.500 in 16 games, and he said finding his stroke again was simply a matter of riding out the natural ups and downs of a baseball season.
"I'm just trying to become more consistent, gotta keep working on it, stay at it," he said. "I've been starting to feel a little bit better, and just have to try to keep going with it. Stick to the routine I've been on and the other drills and stuff."
Jon Garcia tripled and drove in a run and Miguel Rojas went 3-for-4 for the Lookouts in the second game. Andres Santiago (4-12) tossed a seven-inning two-hitter, walking two and striking out three.
In the first game, sixth-ranked Los Angeles prospect Chris Reed (4-10) scattered six hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in his own seven-inning complete-game shutout.