Former Paly star called up to LA Dodgers

Josh Yuen, Author

Pederson high fives a teammate after hitting a home run for the Vikings. Photo by the Viking Magazine.
Palo Alto’s Joc Pederson (center) high-fives his teammates after hitting a home-run during a 2010 game. Pederson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers shortly after, and recently received a promotion to the Major Leagues. Photo by the Viking Magazine.

Palo Alto High School alumnus Joc Pederson will be called up to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball, the team’s Twitter page announced today. With rosters expanding from 25 players to 40, the Dodgers used the opportunity to promote one of their brightest prospects.

“I’m excited to go up and do what I can to help the team clinch a playoff and win a World Series,” Pederson told The Paly Voice following his promotion. 

He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Dodgers, the team his father Stu Pederson played for briefly in 1985.

Pederson, ranked as the #1 prospect in the Dodger organization by Baseball America at the conclusion of last season, was recently voted as the 2014 Pacific Coast League’s Most Valuable Player while playing for the Dodgers AAA affiliate the Albuquerque Isotopes this past season. One of his many accomplishments this year is becoming a member of the 30-30 club, strictly for players who hit 30 or more home runs while also stealing 30 or more bases in a single season. He is the first player since 1934 to accomplish this feat at the PCL level.

Pederson attributes a large part of his success to playing three sports at Paly. In addition to baseball, Pederson was a member of the school’s football and basketball teams prior to his 2010 graduation.

Paly was a good experience,” Pederson said. “Playing three sports made me into the athlete I am today and has helped with competing and persevering through the tough times.” 

Paly teacher Kathi Bowers, who has known Pederson since he was in kindergarten, says she is enthusiastic and proud of what he has accomplished.

“I am so excited for him to be living and realizing his dream,” Bowers said. “He has worked incredibly hard and it is awesome that the hard work and dedication is paying off for him.  He has always been a very genuine person and I love that his success in baseball has not changed him,” Bowers said.

Pederson’s younger sister, Jacey, currently a junior at Paly, agreed with Bowers.

“[I’m] super excited for him,” Jacey Pederson said. “He’s been working very hard and deserves this call-up. I couldn’t be prouder,” she added.

Despite Pederson’s record-breaking season, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters last week that this promotion is mostly for the experience rather than his play. Pederson, an outfielder, will be grouped with MLB stars such as Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig, making playing time for Pederson minimal.

“We’ll use him, but I’ll use him like any other guy coming up in September,” Mattingly said. “I don’t really plan on throwing him out there or anything. I think it’ll be a good experience. I think it’ll be good for him.”

The Dodgers are currently 2.5 games ahead of Pederson’s hometown San Francisco Giants for the lead in the National League Western division. They open up a three-game series against the Washington Nationals tonight at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Tonight’s Matchup: Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers. 8:10 pm ET. TV: MLBN

Washington (77-58): G. Gonzalez (6-9, 3.86 ERA)

Los Angeles (77-60): R. Hernandez (8-9, 3.81 ERA)