During the MLB All-Star week, all eyes were on rookie phenom Joc Pederson. After a tremendous first half of the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Joc participated in the HR Derby, finishing 2nd behind Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier, and started the All-Star game in left field becoming the first rookie position player in LA’s history to do so.
However, Joc isn’t the only Pederson playing baseball in California this season. Tyger, Joc’s older brother, is currently playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the independent Pacific Association.
In 2013, Tyger became the third Pederson to be drafted by the Dodgers – in addition to his younger brother Joc being drafted out of high school in 2010, his father, Stu, was also drafted by LA in 1981 and played 13 years in the Dodgers organization including 8 games with the big league club.
Tyger spent the rest of the 2013 season with the Dodger’s Arizona Rookie League team with a .438 OBP and solid defense (.984 field percentage). He went to spring training with the Dodgers in 2014 only to be released before the season began.
But Tyger is a hard worker, and like many others, he turned to indy ball to keep his passion for baseball alive. After his release, he signed on to play independent ball with the Rockford Aviators in the Frontier League for the rest of the 2014 season. He appeared in 45 games and showed his strong defense with a .990 fielding percentage around the infield (1B, 2B, and 3B).
(Photo by Doug Timmermann)
“Playing independent ball is great because it’s not about the money. It’s about pure love of the game. Players are playing because they want to be here and love what they do. I love going to the field every day and preparing and the process of what it takes to play professional baseball,” Tyger reflected.
“I have learned so many life lessons from baseball which I will have to hold on to forever. Baseball is a game of failure, and it teaches you to be humble. One day you could go 4-4 and be on top of the world and the next day you can go 0-4. It’s a long season so you have to stay humble and even keeled. Every day is a new day, new game, new opportunities and that’s the great part about this game.”
This season, he has returned to the west coast with the Pacifics. Although off to a slow start, that hasn’t stopped Tyger or slowed down his strong work ethic. In 19 games (46 at bats), he has an .310 OBP which is something he takes pride in over the normal batting average stat.
“Getting on base helps the team score runs and win ball games. Batting average is a statistic that is individual. I like to think of myself as a team player who will do anything to help the team win.”
The utility man is always ready to play whenever and wherever is asked of him. He has played both the infield and outfield this season and is always ready to go even when he’s not in the starting lineup.
“I pride myself on making the most of my opportunities and always being ready to perform,” Tyger explained.
Teammates and coaches have taken notice of his passion and love for the game. Not only has Tyger grown up around the game, but he also has a sports science degree from the University of the Pacific. His stats may not show it right now, but make no mistake about it, he is a very smart player. Fellow players love to pick his brain and feed off of his work ethic and passion.
The best part is that Tyger isn’t limiting his baseball knowledge to just his teammates. He has been giving private lessons since 2011 and has recently started giving lessons around the San Rafael area. Teaching players from as young as tee-ball age to the collegiate level has given him a wide range of knowledge and outlook on the game. He now gets the chance to share what he has learned and experienced and give it to others.
(Instagram – tygerpederson)
He credits his family for his hard working attitude and perseverance.
“I have acquired a strong work ethic that started at a young age. My dad, Joc and I would go hit every day in the back yard out at the highschool field on weekends. On game days, we would hit during lunch in the cages since we didn’t get batting practice before games,” Tyger said.
“My dad was a hard worker and played 13 years professionally and only 1 in the big leagues so that goes to show he was a grinder. He always taught us that talent will only take you so far. As you keep climbing up the baseball ladder everybody is good and you need to separate yourself. And a strong work ethic is necessary to compete at the highest level.”
Not only is baseball in his blood with his father and brother, but his older brother, Champ, and younger sister, Jacey, are also great examples of strong, well-balanced athletes. Champ, who has down syndrome, is a Special Olympics athlete and a motivational speaker, while Jacey is a standout soccer player.
For now, Tyger is happy with making the most of his opportunity playing indy ball and teaching the players of the future.