Joc Russell Pederson
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- High School Palo Alto High School
- Debut September 1, 2014
The son of big leaguer Stu Pederson, outfielder Joc Pederson was a star minor leaguer before making his big league debut in 2014.
He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 amateur draft (the scout was Orsino Hill) He soon signed with the club for $600,000, passing up a commitment to the University of Southern California, and made his pro debut that summer with the AZL Dodgers. He saw limited action, going 0 for 7 with 4 walks and a run.
He spent most of 2011 with the Ogden Raptors, hitting .353/.428/.568 with 11 home runs, 24 steals in 29 tries, 54 runs and 64 RBI in 68 games; he played also for the Great Lakes Loons but fared poorly (8 for 50, 7 BB). He was among the Pioneer League leaders in average (4th, between Frazier Hall and Daniel Mateo), OBP (2nd, 4 points behind leader Jerod Yakubik), slugging (7th), steals (tied for 3rd), runs (3rd), doubles (20, 4th) and RBI (1st, 3 ahead of Ryan Jones). He also had 9 assists. He joined Jones and David Kandilas as the outfielders on the league All-Star team. The MVP was Taylor Lindsey. Baseball America rated him as the league's #3 prospect after Trevor Story and Lindsey. They also listed him as LA's top contact hitting prospect and #9 overall prospect entering 2012 (between Josh Lindblom and Tim Federowicz).
In 2012, he hit .313/.396/.516 with 26 doubles, 18 homers, 96 runs, 70 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases (caught 14 times) for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and was named the Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year. He was among the California League leaders in runs (4th, between George Springer and Joe Panik), average (8th), OBP (6th, between Springer and Brett Tanos), slugging (9th), OPS (6th) and times caught stealing (8th). He failed to crack the All-Star outfield, as Springer, Leon Landry and Kyle Parker were picked instead. Baseball America picked him as the league's #3 prospect, behind Billy Hamilton and Springer, right ahead of Kaleb Cowart.
Pederson played for the Israeli national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, which were played in September, 2012. He hit second in the order, behind Ben Guez, and started in right, with Guez in CF and Cody Decker in LF. The team's bigger name outfielders, Gabe Kapler and Adam Greenberg, major league vets, backed them up, with Shawn Green at DH. Pederson did well, going 4 for 13 with 3 steals and 3 runs. He was second on the team in hits, behind Nate Freiman. He tied Engel Beltre for second in all the Qualifiers in steals, two behind Alan Schoenberger. While he played for Israel at the international level, he was a member of the U.S. team in the 2013 Futures Game. He was with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the AA Southern League, where he hit .278/.381/.497 in 123 games, racking up 24 doubles, 22 homers and 21 stolen bases.
Ranked the Dodgers' number 1 prospect heading into the 2014 season, Joc had a tremendous year with the Albuquerque Isotopes, becoming the first player in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years to have 30 homers and 30 steals in a season. In 121 games, he hit .303/.435/.582 with 33 homers and 78 RBI; he scored 106 runs and stole 30 bases while drawing an even 100 walks. He was named the league's Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year. He was called up to Los Angeles when rosters expanded on September 1st and made his debut that same day when he pinch-hit for pitcher Yimi Garcia in the 9th inning of a game against the Washington Nationals with two men on base and the Dodgers trailing, 6-4; however, he struck out on a full count against Rafael Soriano to end the game. he got his first opportunity to start a game the next day, when manager Don Mattingly inserted him in the line-up in centerfield in place of Yasiel Puig, who had been struggling of late. Joc collected his first career hit with a 2nd-inning single off Doug Fister and also drew a walk in a 4-1 win over the Nats. Altogether, he went 4 for 28 (.143) no no RBI or extra-base hits.
Pederson made the Dodgers out of spring training in 2015 and got regular playing time from the start, taking over for Andre Ethier as the team's starting centerfielder. He hit .298 with 4 homers and 10 RBIs in April, then on May 1st connected for his first career grand slam off Rubby De La Rosa of the Arizona Diamondbacks in an 8-0 win. His first home run had come on April 12th, also against the D-Backs, with A.J. Schugel the victim. His power just kept on coming after that and from May 31 to June 3rd, he homered in five consecutive games to bring his total to 17 in just 53 games. On June 14th, he made his glove do the talking as he preserved a 9th inning 2-2 tie in a game against the San Diego Padres with a spectacular catch at the expense of Justin Upton; with two outs and two men on in the bottom of the 9th, Upton crushed a ball to the centerfield wall, but Joc caught it over his head while running at full speed and crashing into the wall. Los Angeles went on to win the game, 4-2, in 12 innings. He was named to the All-Star team and as one of the top home run hitters in the National League, was asked to take part in the Home Run Derby. He showed no rookie nerves in the nationally televised competition, reaching the final round against hometown favorite Todd Frazier and only losing by one long ball, 15-14. However, after his storybook first half, he completely collapsed in the second half of the year, hitting only .178 with 6 homers and 14 RBIs in 62 games. Therefore, his final statistics were disappointing - a .210 average, 26 homers and 56 RBIs. On the positive side, his OBP was .346, thanks to 92 walks, and he scored 67 runs, but was only successful on 4 of 11 stolen base attempts and compiled 170 strikeouts. He only started two of his team's five games in the Division Series against the New York Mets, going 0 for 8, although he did draw 4 walks.
In 2016, Joc showed more consistency at the plate, as he ended up with 25 homers and 68 RBIs in 137 games, but saw his batting average improve to .246 and his slugging percentage to .495. He also cut down significantly on his strikeouts, from 170 to 130. He went 5 for 15 with a double and a homer as the Dodgers defeated the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, but in the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, he was only 4 for 21 with 8 strikeouts. He then started off 2017 on the right foot as on opening day, April 3rd, he hit a grand slam and drove in 5 runs to lead the Dodgers to a 14-3 beatdown of the San Diego Padres.
In addition to his father, who played briefly in the major leagues, his brother Tyger Pederson played in the independent leagues. His oldest brother, Champ, however, was born with Down syndrome. Unable to play himself, he has been Joc's biggest fan through the years, joining him on the field at the 2015 All-Star Game for the Home Run Derby to cheer him on. He has marketed a cap with the slogan "Live Like a Champ", the profits of which go towards creating opportunities for those who also suffer from his brother's medical condition.
- 2014 Player of the Year Pacific Coast League Albuquerque Isotopes
- NL All-Star (2015)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2015 & 2016)
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Fueled by family, Joc Pederson and his 'ridiculous' talent power Dodgers", USA Today, May 18, 2015. 
- Phil Rogers: "Brother drives Pederson to give his all: Dodgers outfielder working to win game of adjustments coming off All-Star rookie season", mlb.com, March 21, 2016.