Lately I have been asked about Dodgers Triple A outfielder Joc Pederson more than any non-Cubs prospect. The closer we get to trade season, the more it seems Cubs fans are looking around for players who could come back in a Jeff Samardzija or Jason Hammel deal, and would have the potential to reach the majors quickly, preferably in a position of need.
Pederson, 22, fits that description. The Dodgers have been loosely linked to Samardzija in trade rumors, and Pederson, a top 50 prospect in the game, is a left handed slugging outfielder currently in Triple A. For all the firepower in the Cubs minors, they are a little thin in left handed power. This appears to be a good fit.
The problem, as is often the case with these slugging Triple A types, is the strikeout rate. Pederson’s is elevated, but it is currently just shy of the 30% line. Given his ISO of .252 and his walk rate of 16.8%, that is almost tolerable. If we throw out his at bats against left handed pitching (something we knew he struggled with entering this season) though, his strikeout rate drops to a somewhat more adequate 27.5%. That is still high, but we’ve seen hitters with that high of a strikeout percentage in Triple A go on to have quality major league careers in the past.
And after watching Pederson for a short time this weekend, I am starting to suspect that Pederson might join that list. I’m not a scout, but, to my untrained eye, his at bats looked good. His swing was consistent, had a nice plane through the strike zone, and he showed an ability to lay off bad pitches. I don’t think he had a truly bad swing while I was watching him. I was less impressed with him in the field, and I strongly suspect his career as a center fielder will end about as soon as he hits the major leagues, but if he can maintain the slugging he should be just fine in left or right. If he can maintain the slugging and the walks he could emerge as a pretty valuable guy. If the Cubs did deal with the Dodgers, Pederson would be a quality pickup.
I have been more negative on Pederson in the past, and there are other outfield bats out there that I would prefer to welcome to the organization, but I now agree that if the Cubs sent Samardzija to Los Angeles, Pederson would probably need to be part of the returning package.
Scores From Yesterday
Iowa - Iowa took the lead in the fifth and held on for a 4-3 win.
Tennessee - The Smokies fell behind in the first and never quite made up the gap as they lost 7-3.
Daytona - The Cubs were shut out 8-0.
Kane County - Kane County had the day off.
Boise Hawks – Boise continued their struggles on the road with this 12-6 loss.
Arizona – Arizona used a big sixth inning to carry them to a 9-6 win.
Performances of Note
- [Iowa] Kris Bryant did what Kris Bryant does best: he hit a home run (his 4th for Iowa) and walked twice. Those were his first two Triple A walks, by the way.
- [Iowa] Javier Baez struck out once, singled twice, and stole his 14th base. Believe it or not, Baez has more steals than homers (he currently has 11).
- [Iowa] Matt Szczur and Arismendy Alcantara also had two hits apiece. It was the 4th multihit result in 5 games for Alcantara.
- [Iowa] Arodys Vizcaino (1 IP, 1 H, 1 BB), Zac Rosscup (1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) and Blake Parker (1 IP, 1 H, 2 K) all pitched well in relief of Dallas Beeler.
- [Tennessee] The Smokies had just 4 hits in this one, and Dustin Geiger‘s single and walk is the best looking line in the box.
- [Tennessee] Jeffry Antigua (3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 K) and Tony Zych (1.2 IP, 3 K) both had pretty good games out of the bullpen.
- [Daytona] Albert Almora, with two singles in this one, has hit safely in 5 straight. Pin-Chieh Chen also had two hits.
- [Daytona] Stephen Perakslis pitched 3.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and a walk.
- [Boise] Kevin Brown doubled and tripled as he finished 2 for 4. Oliver Zapata doubled and also finished with two hits.
- [Boise] Francisco Carrillo allowed nothing but a single hit over the final 2.1 innings. He struck out 6.
- [Arizona] Charcer Burks doubled twice and finished with 3 hits. Burks also stole his second base of the season.
- [Arizona] Alberto Mineo, Tyler Alamo, Ricardo Marcano, and Adonis Paula all finished with two hits apiece.
- [Arizona] Jeferson Mejia pitched the final 5 innings. He allowed 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 9.
- Kyle Hendricks had some nice comments in a writeup on MiLB.com yesterday. One very good note for the longer term future of the Cubs pitching is that Hendricks credits the Iowa pitching coach, Bruce Walton, for working with him on attacking hitters early and intelligently working to the weaknesses of the opposing hitters. The results of that instruction go beyond Hendricks; Iowa has the third lowest ERA in the league.