Joc Pederson doesn’t need to be the every day centre fielder just yet for the Dodgers. He is 22, for the start of the season anyway, this one-year isn’t his whole career, if he doesn’t start for this year that means nothing. Joc Pederson will be the Dodgers centre fielder for the next 5, 10 years if nothing else goes wrong.
The thing I can’t see about him from this year’s perspective is that the Dodgers have a realistic chance at that ever illustrious World Series trophy. A 22-year-old Rookie in centre field, no matter how good he is, will have nerves and excitement and that is good, it is fine. Why throw him into the deep end from game one?
Joc came off the bench when the rosters expanded last year for the most part and didn’t exactly shine but it was as expected.
For his young, inexperienced age, 4-28 doesn’t show the whole story and then .143 batting average isn’t something to marvel over or even brag about. There isn’t much point to even pointing out the .200 for this year after three games seeing as the likes of Ethier, AJ Ellis, Yasmani Grandal and Van Slyke are all still yet to find that first hit.
This isn’t about his talent. Joc definitely has that and he has proved it like in his 30 homerun, 30 stolen base year in AAA. But the majors are a whole different ball game. Even in game one of this year we saw his speed and smarts when he took third base right out of the hands of the San Diego defence.
Now I’m sure that the home runs and his numbers will pick up in the MLB but I don’t think starting him is the way to do it. Rotate it for now, start other people in centre field and give everyone the at bats early in the year, then once Joc starts to pick him self up and the confidence is there play him more and more. Come early July then play him every day, give him those last 50 or 60 games in centre field along with the at bats he has picked up along the way.
The better thing is along the way Pederson has played in every position in the outfield and he plays it will, (0 errors in 96 innings with 21 put outs isn’t bad), so anyone else can cover right field and say move Puig to centre if the replacement cant play it.
There are ways around Joc playing every day, just for now, he will get there and he will be that centre fielder that the Dodgers need to command the outfield, imagine an outfield in 5 years that has 27 year old Joc Pederson, coming to his prime and an in form and prime Yasiel Puig in right, that is exciting for the Dodgers but for now lets not wear him out, play him 2 times in every 5 games or so and slowly build it up.