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Pedroia has a lot to live up to now. Being the 2007 Rookie of the Year and on the Boston Red Sox, there is a lot of pressure and expectations. He looks like he can handle it and possibly improve.
His next highest accolade will be winning the AL silver slugger award for 2nd base. Last year it was Placido Polanco, and Pedroia can give any AL 2nd baseman a fight for it. Skies still the limit for this 24 year old.
Offense: Grade B+
I love Dustin Pedroia. For guys who love stats Pedroia is for you. He’s a guy who rarely strikes out, makes a lot of contact, swings a ton and has good plate discipline. He’s a very unique type of offensive player. Add to that he’s 5-9, and you wonder what he’s capable of.
Here are some highlights from MLB.com:
Enjoyed one of the finest seasons by a Red Sox rookie in the last 50 years…Led all big league rookies with a .317 batting average, 10th best overall in the A.L. and a major league record for a rookie 2nd baseman…Placed 2nd on the Red Sox in runs (86) and doubles (39), ranked 3rd in average and hits (165), and 4th in on-base percentage (.381)…Started 132 games at 2nd base, the most for a Boston rookie at that position in 40 years.
In 2008 Pedroia will most likely be in the top of the order, 1st or 2nd, and start where he finished off last year. He was much better last year in the lead-off spot but it probably won’t matter when Francona makes the line-up. There’ll be heavy competition for the top spot. With Julio Lugo and Jacoby Ellsbury being more Francona’s type of lead off guy, Pedroia’s bat needs to stay sharp to not be dropped down.
Defense: Grade B-
According to the Fielding Bible Pedroia isn’t even in the top 10 of 2nd baseman. Robinson Cano was listed at +17, 5th best in the majors. The +17 meaning runs saved compared to the average fielder. They put Pedroia at least -10 worse than Cano. If the Fielding Bible isn’t high on Pedroia it’s hard for me to be.
From my eyes, Pedroia is a good second baseman. Pedroia seems to do everything right. He gets to the ball at a sprint. He plays left and right just as well. His hands are as sure as anyone’s. Coming in on bunts he has been average. The only thing holding him back is his range. He doesn’t cover as much ground as others.
The Fielding Bible would probably put Pedroia as a C+. Next year, after 2007’s experience he’ll improve a bit and be more solid. All in all, he’s better than average.
Baserunning: Grade C
Last May there was a story in the Boston Globe about a feud brewing in the locker room: Whose faster, Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis? Its a great little story. Especially if you’re nostalgic for last year. Point of the story is, neither is very fast. But like most Red Sox he’s smart with his speed.
Last year Pedroia had seven steals and only got caught once. He has that kind of speed to probably get seven next year.
Around the bases Pedroia has a constant hustle, never to be underestimated when you see a Manny Ramirez-type on light jogs.
Clubhouse Presence: Grade B+
Pedroia brings a relaxed personality to the clubhouse. He seems like a high energy guy that brings energy to the locker room. We’ll see how Pedroia evolves in the clubhouse as 2007 was his first year in the Red Sox locker room.
It’s evident after Pedroia’s early struggles, he had the heart for the game. Even when he looked awful his confidence was up. He even stood up to A-Rod during a late slide attempt A-Rod made into 2nd. He doesn’t care who he’s going against, he’s a cocky man. That attitude is seen in the locker room. Any guy that boosts other player’s confidence is a good presence to have.
2008 Player Projection: