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Don't expect Joc Pederson to play a lot in September for Dodgers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers minor league outfielder Joc Pederson is anywhere from the top to the third-best Dodgers prospect, depending on your ranker of choice, and a consensus top-20 prospect in baseball. Pederson is also the most major-league-ready of the Dodgers' prospects, but don't expect him to play full time once roster limits expand in September.

"I'll use him like any other guy who comes up," manager Don Mattingly said on Saturday. "I don't really plan on throwing him out there. It's a good experience. It will be good for him."

Active roster limits expand on Monday, Sept. 1 from 25 to 40, and minor league regular seasons for the Dodgers' top four levels all end on Sept. 1. But don't expect the Dodgers to add much more than a few ancillary players.

"I don't think we're looking for any true help," Mattingly said. "It gives you a few extra hitters, it will give you a few extra arms, having balance."

Pederson entering Saturday is hitting .301/.432/.586 with 32 home runs and 29 stolen bases, one steal shy of becoming the first 30-30 player in the Pacific Coast league since 1934. But with Carl Crawford firmly entrenched in left field - Saturday is his 24th start in the last 30 games - there is no place for Pederson to play full time.

But Mattingly sees the call-up itself as an important step for Pederson.

"Coming up was a huge step for me as a player. You come up, see the pitching, get in a few game, was huge. It let me know that I could play there. It gets a lot of little stuff out of the way, so next time you come up you're prepared," Mattingly said.  "For me, Joc's going to be a player in the future here, and this will be a big part of his development."

Mattingly likened his planned September for Pederson to his own first stint with the Yankees, playing in a grand total of seven games and 13 plate appearances in September 1982.

Pederson, 22, is not on the 40-man roster but could be easily added by placing Stephen Fife - out with Tommy John surgery - on the 60-day disabled to create roster room for Pederson. Mattingly said even if Pederson doesn't play often it won't negatively affect his valuation.

"I've seen him in spring training for years. Obviously guys are going to continue to get better. I like the fact that he's hit home runs against lefties, and he's hit lefties better," Mattingly said. "You pretty much know what you're going to see."