While his .286 batting average is solid, his on-base percentage and slugging percentage are what's most impressive thus far.
Through 12 games, Pederson has a .545 (!) on-base percentage and .686 slugging percentage. That comes from a ridiculous 20:11 walk-to-strikeout ratio and seven extra base hits (3 HR, 3 2B, 1 3B) in 35 at-bats.
Pederson, 21, had a really good season with the Lookouts in 2013 and is making it even tougher for the Dodgers to consider trading the center fielder.
With Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig in the fold, it seems there isn't a lot of room for Pederson. However, it might actually behoove the Dodgers to keep him.
Pederson's stock is rising and he's going to be an attractive trade piece this winter. But if the Dodgers can find a way to move Ethier and/or Crawford, Pederson might be able to stick around. Of course, trading massive contracts like those of Ethier and Crawford are easier said than done.
The Mariners were rumored to be interested in Ethier last winter, but nothing ever materialized. There was an Internet rumor of Ethier-for-Ian Kinsler deal with the Rangers, but that's probably all it was. The Rangers would like to open up a spot for Jurickson Profar by trading Kinsler. Getting Ethier in return would at least give the Rangers some value in return. That trade would make sense for both teams if the Dodgers hadn't just signed Alexander Guerrero, who is almost certainly their future second baseman. The Mets could use an outfielder, and that might be the most logical destination for one of the high-priced Dodger outfielders.
It almost doesn't matter what the Dodgers get in return. They'd get roster flexibility, which is more valuable than any package the Dodgers could realistically get without having to pay all of the remaining money on either contract.
And let's not forget: Pederson is entering his age-22 season, so he doesn't necessarily have to be on the 25-man roster come opening day. He could go to Albuquerque, seem some slop from lefties, try to improve his platoon splits and mash a little -- which would force the Dodgers' hand even more.
Pederson might the best defensvie center fielder who has a chance to be more than a 4-A player. That plays in his favor. He has speed and is a smart baserunner, while having average power potential. Those guys don't exactly grow on trees. He's not Mike Trout or anything, but he could be a 20 HR/20 SB guy in the majors at his peak.
We'll see what kind of plan General Manager Ned Colletti has in store for the winter. Despite Kemp's questionable healthy, the Dodgers really can't go into 2014 with four full-time outfielders for three outfield positions. Yes, injuries happen, but what if they don't?
At this rate, I'd love to see the Dodgers keep Pederson in the fold, unless they're getting a stud player in return for him (you know, a guy like David Price or Giancarlo Stanton).
Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue