Pederson, Solar Sox escape Desert Dogs
Dodgers prospect hits first Fall League homer in Mesa's 4-3 victory
Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson was explaining the at-bat that led to his first Fall League home run when he stopped himself short.
"I've faced that guy a bunch of times, and he's always busting me in -- I was just looking for pitch out over the plate," he said, over the phone from Mesa, Ariz.
Pederson was about to (or actually did) give away the smallest possible sampling of his scouting report on a pitcher. Major League hitters -- at least the good ones -- don't sacrifice even the slightest edge. And he wants to be one of the good ones.
Los Angeles' fourth-ranked farmhand helped the Solar Sox to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Phoenix Desert Dogs on Thursday. When Pederson strode to the plate to face Desert Dogs starter Brian Flynn (Marlins) -- before he sent Flynn's 3-2 fastball over right-center field fence -- he was 3-for-37 in AFL action.
So how good did it feel?
"Really, really good," Pederson said.
It's been a "long Fall League," as he said himself, given his personal results (.103 batting average) and his team's (the last-place Solar Sox are 8-16). Consider, too, that Pederson is at the end of a long year that saw him enjoy a high degree of success: He batted .313 in 110 games at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, then .308 in three games for World Baseball Classic qualifier Israel.
"I feel alright," he said. "I enjoy it. It's a grind. I'm working on the mental aspect of the game, enjoying it while it lasts. I feel pretty good at the plate, so we'll see if I can build on it."
Flynn was charged with those three runs on four hits, including Pederson's, and exited after four innings.
Solar Sox starter Mike Wright (Orioles) pitched four scoreless innings, scattering five hits while striking out two. Reliever Nicholas Struck (Cubs) coughed up the 3-0 lead on one pitch in the eighth when second baseman Grant Green (A's) homered.
"He's a great player," said Pederson, who saw Grant's shot sail over his head. "Our pitcher made a mistake and he made 'em pay for it."
The Solar Sox re-took the lead in the bottom of the eighth: Logan Watkins (Cubs) reached via fielder's choice, advanced to second base on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run on a two-out single struck by Jonathan Schoop (Orioles).