I had the opportunity to speak with Joc Pederson before his Nov. 8 Arizona Fall League game.
Edited for sanity, because nobody wants to read “uh” and “um” and laughs and transitions and crap.
You admitted that you scuffled to start 2011, but that you made adjustments that helped shape your breakout in 2012, specifically what mechanical changes were implemented by the Dodgers or what did you do to change things up?
“There were a couple things I worked on, there were a couple things that we addressed, and I just tried to fine tune my movements that I was doing, and one of the hitting coaches I had in Ogden helped me with that.”
You mentioned that you looked at Carlos Gonzalez and those types, so was there anything specific in your swing or was it just balance or something of that nature?
“Yeah, I don’t think my swing has changed, it’s just the position I’m getting into. Like allowing my swing to work, and my body was not allowing my swing to work.”
You said that playing for Team Israel in the WBC was a great experience for you, but after full-season ball and then going to the WBC qualifiers, and now you’re in the AFL, has fatigue become a factor at all?
“I mean it’s a grind but I’m enjoying every day of it, and I’m learning as much as I can and taking it all in so that it’ll help me with my season next year and throughout my career.”
As far as your batting approach goes, the approach you take at the plate is often lauded as advanced, but is that something you’ve worked on over the years or is that an innate feel for hitting?
“I have an approach that Johnny Washington helped me with to stay through the middle and stay inside the ball. My approach changed when I got to Ogden. I didn’t really have an approach before, I just went out and was relying on my ability, but he helped me have a plan in going up to the plate and what not.”
Speaking of adjustments, do you anticipate having to make any adjustments as you move up to AA or even now in the AFL?
“Yeah, I’m just trying to keep it simple. Get a good pitch and put a good swing on it, and obviously it’s a game of adjustments, so guys are going to pitch you differently and guys are going to adjust, so you’re gonna have to adjust to the game and still put together a quality at-bat.”
Is it more like the speed of the game as you move up through the levels or it is more like the mental aspect?
“Yeah, I’m really focusing on the mental aspect of the game and controlling what I can control. So that’s the learning process, it won’t come overnight, so you just have to stay with it and eventually it’ll come.”
Not sure if he didn’t want to talk about his hitting mechanics so specifically or if he didn’t know the specifics or if he assumed I wouldn’t understand, but I couldn’t get much out of that. He did talk a bunch about refining his approach at the plate and where he needed to be though.
I thought the comments about his mental adjustments were particularly interesting, because it seemed like the typical path of a guy who had all the physical tools but needed to refine them into baseball skills, and it’s probably beneficial that he learned the difference early on in the process rather than later when it might have been too late.
For what it’s worth, he came off as amicable and friendly.