|© MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.|
Pederson has big day in slugfest05/05/2013 6:49 PM ET
By Jonathan Raymond / Special to MLB.com
Joc Pederson had been struggling to figure out Double-A Birmingham's pitchers through the first four meetings of a five-game series with the Barons.
But in the fifth game on Sunday, the third-ranked Dodgers prospect finally got the best of them.
Pederson went 4-for-6, fell a triple short of the cycle and scored four times, though Chattanooga went on to drop the slugfest, 16-14.
The center fielder had gone just 2-for-15 in four games against a team he had tagged the first time they met. (He went 8-for-19 over that first slate April 15-19.) Then he busted out Sunday, providing season highs in hits and runs scored out of the lineup's No. 2 spot.
Pederson enjoyed seeing the offense break out, but he was more disappointed the Lookouts couldn't break a seven-game losing streak.
"Baseball has its ups and downs, and today I just squared the ball up," Pederson said. "We've been struggling as a team and wanted to put some at-bats together as a team. We put together some quality at-bats, but unfortunately they did a little better than we did. We've got to keep working at it, just keep trying to get the win."
The 21-year-old emerged as one of the Dodgers' best prospects at the plate after he tore through the California League last season. In 110 games with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, the 2010 11th-rounder hit .313/.396/.516 with 18 homers, 70 RBIs and 26 steals.
While the Cal League is known for its hitter-friendly environs, a move up a level and to the less offensively inclined Southern League hasn't slowed down the Northern California native much.
After Sunday's outburst, Pederson sports a .301/.365/.593 line over 29 games with Chattanooga. He has seven homers, eight doubles, two triples and 17 RBIs in that time, as well as seven steals with just one unsuccessful attempt.
Pederson said the transition between leagues, along with the move to a more competitive level, hasn't really fazed him much.
"I try not to let that other stuff control what I do. You hit a line drive, it's a line drive in both leagues, so I just try not to think about it," he said. "I think the parks [in the Southern League] are nice. Birmingham is nice."
Pederson had a busy offseason this winter, appearing in three games with Israel in World Baseball Classic qualifiers before he getting into 15 contests with Mesa in the Arizona Fall League. Despite an .096 average in the AFL, Pederson wasn't deterred entering the 2013 season.
Sunday's four-hit effort was his first since going 4-for-5 for Rancho Cucamonga against Inland Empire last July 26. The last time he crossed home plate four times was last July 1 against High Desert.
Top Dodgers prospect Yasiel Puig went 3-for-6 with a double and three RBIs. First baseman C.J. Retherford also doubled twice and plated three runs for the Lookouts.
"We had been struggling as a team, and we were just trying to have some quality at-bats. [Puig] came up big, had a lot of RBIs today," Pederson said. "It's good, but we just have to keep it going. The next day's always a new game."