Tommy Lasorda began his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954 as a 26-year-old pitcher and although his playing career did not last long, his time spent as manager of the Dodgers will always be remembered.
In his 20 year managerial career, Lasorda led the Dodgers to four National League pennants and two World Series Title,s and has coached and worked with many great players of the past. In a recent interview with The Players’ Tribune, Lasorda compared Yasiel Puig to a former dynamic Dodger right fielder:
I look at Puig, I look at him and I see Raul Mondesi. He reminds me of Mondesi in so many ways. He can become an outstanding player. He’s got a lot of ability. I think he’s really become a lot better.”
This comparison is high praise coming from Lasorda as Mondesi was a career .273/.331/.485 hitter. Although Puig is currently on the disabled list, he has a .304 batting average over his time in the Majors with a .985 fielding percentage in right field.
Lasorda also complimented rookie center fielder Joc Pederson:
I work with that lad. He’s got so much ability and as soon as he gets to relax a little bit more he’s going to show everybody what talent he has. He can run, he can field, he can throw, and he can hit.”
Although Pederson has shown all of these qualities this season, there’s still some growing and learning to do. He has great potential, some of which was seen when he became the first 30-30 player in the Pacific Coast League in 80 years.
After spending the early portion of the season batting in the eight-hole, Pederson was moved to the leadoff spot and flourished. Combating his propensity to strikeout, Pederson leads the Dodgers with 12 home runs and has a .382 on-base percentage, which is fifth-highest on the team.