Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Praises Joc Pederson’s Maturity Thus Far In 2019 Spring Training
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers began their 2019 Cactus League schedule on a positive note, earning a 7-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch on Saturday afternoon.

One of the key contributors offensively for the Dodgers was Joc Pederson, who went 1-for-3 with a towering home run to right-center field. The long ball was the club’s first of the spring.

While the home run excited fans, Pederson had already caught manager Dave Roberts’ eyes before the game even started. “I think that Joc is really maturing,” Roberts said prior to first pitch.

“I think that there’s with hitting specifically, there’s a mechanical and the approach part of it where Joc self-admittedly has been big in the past on the mechanics part of it. It certainly has a place for it and a time.

“But the approach, the compete, getting in the batter’s box, having clarity when you step in the box is also important. So he’s really understanding the balance of that right now. Where he’s at right now mechanically, mentally, he’s as good as I’ve seen him.”

Pederson has struggled against left-handed pitching throughout his career, which has led to him becoming a platoon player. Roberts said after Saturday’s game that he has been putting in extra work against southpaws so far this spring, which is paying off.

“With our roster, I think for Joc, he’s working a lot with a left-handed arm as far as the coach. That does a lot of things for you mechanically, even against a right-hander. Just continue to have good at-bats, whether it’s against a right or a lefty,” Roberts noted.

“Obviously, we’ve got guys like Kiké and Taylor that also need to get at-bats. We’ve got so much depth. For Joc, I thought he had three good at-bats today.”

As it currently stands, Pederson is expected to be the team’s starting left fielder against right-handed pitching, as was the case in 2018.

It will be interesting to see how many opportunities he gets against lefties this spring and if he can take advantage of them though, because if so, then Pederson can potentially turn into an everyday player for the Dodgers.