The power part of the challenge has been completed, now it's all about the speed.
No. 3 Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson hit his Pacific Coast League-leading 30th homer of the season Monday in the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes' 9-3 loss to the visiting Nashville Sounds.
That leaves the 22-year-old two stolen bases away from becoming the first hitter on the circuit to post a 30-homer, 30-steal season in 80 years. Frank Demaree was the last player to achieve the feat in 1934, but he needed 186 games to do so. There are 13 games remaining in the regular season, turning the quest literally into a race to the finish line.
Selected by Los Angeles in the 11th round of the 2010 Draft, the California native became the fifth player in Albuquerque franchise history and the first Pacific Coast League hitter since Terry Evans in 2009 to reach the 20/20 milestone earlier this year when he homered against Fresno on July 23. Now he an even bigger accomplishment is within reach.
If Pederson is to join the exclusive 30/30 club, there's a good chance he might do so on the road. After Tuesday's series finale against Nashville, the 'Topes head to Colorado Springs for a four-game set, followed by four more in Oklahoma City. The team wraps up its regular season with four games at home against Las Vegas, ending on Sept. 1.
Pederson's biggest contribution Monday night came in the third inning when he deposited Donovan Hand's 0-2 offering over the right-field fence. MLB.com's No. 18 prospect has six homers in his past 10 games, including four in the current six-game homestand. Fresno's Adam Duvall and Omaha's Francisco Pena are tied for second on the circuit with 26 dingers apiece.
Now in his fifth year of pro ball, Pederson has spread his production out. He has only had three multi-homer games and he's only swiped more than two bases on one occasion. He had six homers in April, nine in May, two in June, six in July and seven so far in August. And despite hitting the ball out of the yard at a rate of approximately once every fourth game, he only has 68 RBIs since 17 of his homers departed with the bases empty.
Pederson, who is also only four stolen bases off the league lead shared by four players, ranks first in the PCL in total bases (230) and walks (83), second in on-base percentage (.424) and third in slugging percentage (.572).
Only five other Minor Leaguers have more homers than Pederson. Iowa's Kris Bryant and Frisco's Joey Gallo have 40 apiece, followed by Stockton's Matt Olson (35), Mobile's Peter O'Brien (34) and Erie's Steven Moya (31).
On Monday, Nashville third baseman Jason Rogers was 4-for-5 with a homer, two doubles, three RBIs and two runs scored out of the cleanup spot and first baseman Mike Clark and shortstop Hector Gomez both went deep in the win.
Albuquerque right fielder Mike Baxter went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two doubles and catcher Tim Federowicz doubled twice and scored once.