This season figured to give the Los Angeles Dodgers their most extensive look and evaluation of the work to retain and develop young prospects. Joc Pederson was on track for a second year as the starting center field, while Corey Seager entered his first as the everyday shortstop.
Joining the highly-touted tandem was Trayce Thompson, who made the Dodgers roster out of Spring Training in large part due to Andre Ethier’s injury. While Pederson, Seager and Thompson showed flashes at various points thus far, the trio hit their stride in unison during the past homestand.
From May 15-17, one of the three produced a multi-home run game. Seager was first do it, slugging his homers against the St. Louis Cardinals. Thompson followed suit the next evening, and Pederson joined the group on Tuesday.
Seager also clubbed a solo homer on the same night Pederson hit his pair of home runs against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. “I think it says a lot about the current state of the Dodgers, as well as our future going forward,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after Tuesday’s victory.
“These are three young men that hang out together, room together and laugh together. They do a lot of the right things, ask a lot of the right questions, and play the game the right way. They’re working really well with the hitting coaches and getting better every day.”
Ross Stripling and Alex Wood also live in the house shared by Pederson, Seager and Thompson. The latter three’s production at the plate and living arrangement hasn’t gone unnoticed. “We’ve been asked when the next slumber party is,” Pederson said.
Entering play on Thursday, Pederson leads the Dodgers with eight home runs. Close on his heels are Seager (seven home runs) and Thompson (six).
Clayton Kershaw, a recent beneficiary of Pederson’s and Seager’s big bats, shared in Roberts’ praise of the young trio. “Corey, Joc and Trayce are doing awesome right now. They all live together, so we might go hang out with them,” Kershaw said. “Hopefully it rubs off on us. It’s pretty fun to see those guys playing well. It’s big for us, we need it.”
Although Pederson has shared some time with Thompson in center field, he, along with Seager, is largely entrenched as a regular starter. Roberts isn’t yet ready to place Thompson in the same discussion, citing his relatively small sample size of plate appearances.
Rather than attempt to one-up each other, the focus is on producing. “It doesn’t matter who’s doing it,” Seager said. “Somebody has to step up and drive in runs.”