As we look at the Boston Red Sox 2014 Second Base position, it is hard for me not to reminisce about old Sox players who manned Dustin Pedroia‘s territory before he did. Jose Offerman, Mark Bellhorn, Jeff Frye, Mark Loretta. These are just some of the names that manned the position before Pedroia and my memories of them get me misty-eyed for good and bad reasons, but without further ado, here is our outlook on a certain Arizona State graduate.
Dustin Pedroia. What more can be said about the “Little-Big man”?
He plays injured, he’s a leader, a great defender and always gives his all. There isn’t a team in baseball that wouldn’t want him. Though Pedey’s power numbers went down (Thumb), what he provides the team goes far beyond what stat’s can show.
A player like Robinson Cano may put up better numbers, but I’ll take Pedey every time. Dustin’s defense at second base is the best in the business despite being vertically challenged. He is another player that seems to always come up with that big hit when it’s needed most. He is a nightmare on a nightly basis for opposing pitchers as he fouls off pitch after pitch and then still seems to get on base. I expect with a healthy thumb his power numbers will go back up to where they’ve always been (15-20).
I think Pedroia is undervalued from a statistical standpoint. We can talk about the the lack of power and how he makes up for it, but Pedroia’s value is best exemplified in his nickname, “Lazer Show.” In his last five healthy, full seasons he has finished in the top 10 in line-drive percentage among 2nd basement, a stat that only Cano can match. He seems to hit every ball hard, whether it’s a line-drive or on the ground. Barring some kind of calamity, this is something that will never change with Pedey. He may not hit over 10 Home Runs, or hit .300 necessarily, but he will constantly give himself the best chance to get hits with the way he swings the bat.
Let’s not forget about his defense. He ranked 2nd overall in advanced defensive statistics behind the infamous Darwin Barney. He has tremendous range, especially to his left and is one of the better relay men in the league. The only question the Sox have is what happens if Pedroia goes down? If the team resigns Stephen Drew, then there will be more options, but without him, there isn’t anyone on the current roster that could admirably fill-in. Youngster Deven Marrero was invited to Spring Training, so an eye should be kept on him and if they have him play some games at second, otherwise, I am sure a free agent will be brought in at a minimum salary just in case.