LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson will be one of the eight participants in Monday’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Pederson finished second in the 2015 edition.
“The two highlights of my career were being in the Home run Derby in 2015 and playing in the World Series,” said Pederson. “Who knows when another opportunity will come to participate in that. Seemed like a no-brainer.”
Pederson is seeded fifth and will face off with fourth-seeded Bregman in Round 1.
Pederson selected Dodgers third-base coach Dino Ebel to be his pitcher. Ebel had already been invited to participate in the All-Star Game as a member of manager Dave Roberts’ coaching staff, and Ebel has a backstory to go with it.
Ebel was the Home Run Derby pitcher for Vladimir Guerrero and Albert Pujols when he coached the Angels. Each time the player invited him to stay for the game as a guest. Each time Ebel declined.
“I told them I had promised myself I wasn’t going to an All-Star Game until I went in uniform,” Ebel said. “When they held the game in Anaheim [in 2010], [Angels owner] Arte Moreno invited me to the game. But, uh-uh. The only way I was going to an All-Star Game was in uniform, and that’s what I’m doing this year. I couldn’t be happier.”
Pederson has 20 home runs, a number he has reached in four of his five Major League seasons, with a .521 slugging percentage. All 20 of his home runs have come against right-handed pitching, 19 while batting in the leadoff spot and 15 at Dodger Stadium. Seventeen were hit by the end of May.
In the 2015 event, Pederson was edged in the final by Todd Frazier, 15-14, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Pederson, who was also an All-Star in '15, advanced to the final by beating future teammate Manny Machado and Albert Pujols.
Pederson will be the 13th Dodger to participate in a Home Run Derby and will give the Dodgers a participant in each of the last six seasons. He will join Mike Piazza (1993-94) and Matt Kemp (2011-2012) as the only Dodgers to participate in the contest twice.