Chicago Cubs newcomer Joc Pederson is creating enormous expectations for himself in the North Side.
Pederson was signed to a one-year, $7 million contract this offseason by the Cubs, marking the most notable addition to North Side of Chicago before spring. Thus far, he’s delivered and then some, hitting a grand total of five home runs, including two in the Cubs spring training matchup against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
The left-handed slugger is red hot ahead of a new campaign, something that’s expected to bring massive hype beforehand. Pederson insists that he’s made necessary improvements to his swing to be far more than just a gimmick against righties. He’d prefer to have the opportunity to prove he can be an everyday outfielder, and perhaps a hot spring is enough to provide him with such a chance come April 1 at Wrigley Field.
Cubs: Joc Pederson’s home runs were absolute missiles
Pederson has power to all yards, as he went oppo for his first blast, and then pulled a home run to right-center in his second power swing.
For what it’s worth, Pederson has impressed manager David Ross so far.
“He’s a fun guy and he keeps things loose,” Ross said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “But he also talks baseball all the time and is working to get better just like the rest of our group. He has fit in real easily, and he’s a pleasure to have around. And when he’s playing like [this], you can just tell how comfortable he is.”
Whether that’s enough to garner a chance against what’s proven to be his perennial weakness — left-handed pitchers — is another question entirely.