JOC PEDERSON, 22, outfielder.
Final 2014 stats: With the Dodgers -- .143 batting average (four for 28), no extra-base hits, nine walks (.351 on-base percentage), 11 strikeouts; at triple-A -- .303 batting average, 33 homers, 78 RBIs, 30 stolen bases and .435 on-base and .582 slugging percentages.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: He had a season for the ages at triple-A Albuquerque and was named the Pacific Coast League Most Valuable Player. He was the first player in 80 years with 30 homers and 30 steals in the same PCL season, and was also named the league’s rookie of the year.
The bad: His extraordinary minor-league success did not translate in his extremely brief September call-up. His strikeouts are a concern. He struck out 149 times in 445 at-bats with Albuquerque and 11 times in 28 at-bats with the Dodgers. Manager Don Mattingly considers him the best defensive center fielder in the organization, though he had seven errors with Albuquerque and sometimes looked uncomfortable at the position with the Dodgers.
What’s next: A serious shot to win the starting center-field job with the Dodgers.
The take: Has the future arrived?
Pederson is the first of the Dodgers’ big three phenoms -- along with infielder Corey Seager and left-hander Julio Urias -- who will be given an opportunity to make his mark with the big club. The front office staff clearly want him to win a job, because if he doesn’t, they’re in something of a fix. They don’t want to sit a young player like that, and he really has nothing to prove back in the minors.
He’ll essentially have to beat out Andre Ethier -- if Ethier’s not traded -- for a starting spot. If you look at Ethier’s career-low numbers from last season, maybe you'd think that isn’t too tall an order. But if you look at Ethier’s career numbers and how much Pederson struggled in his short-lived time with the Dodgers, it’s hardly certain either.
The Dodgers are trying hard not to anoint Pederson as the next great thing and their starting 2015 center fielder, but his path seems obvious.