Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 Position Preview: Second Base

To be honest, my one of my all time favorite Red Sox players has always been Pokey Reese. I mean come on, with a name like Pokey, you can't really go wrong. That being said, the Red Sox currently employ a much better second baseman, even if he does mysteriously appear in commercials starring toddlers. However, let's forget that creepiness (if that's possible), and look at just how good Dustin Pedroia really has been.

During his rookie campaign, fans were begging Francona to boot Pedroia out of the lineup in favor of journeyman Alex Cora. Francona, instead, stuck to his guns and let Pedroia take his rookie lumps in April in hopes his play would improve. Francona's prayers were answered in a big way. Pedroia ended up winning the Rookie of the Year with a .317 batting average, 8 homers and 50 RBI to go along with his 86 runs scored. He also came up huge in the playoffs with the team on its World Series run, especially in the ALCS against Cleveland. In the seven game series, he hit .345 with a .958 OPS. In his next year, he followed up even better. He finished the season with a batting average of .326, to go along with 17 homers and 83 RBI. Along with those stats, Pedroia scored 118 runs, had 213 hits and a WAR of 5.2. He became just the third player in MLB history to win the MVP the year after winning ROY, as well as earning his first All Star appearance, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger.

Since that MVP season, Pedroia has regressed slightly, although no one can say he still can't have a big impact. He has been an All Star every year of his career, not including his rookie career, and I don't see any reason why he can't do it again. The only second baseman to challenge him in the American League is Robinson Cano, the Yankees own just-hitting-his-prime second basemen. The only thing that could hinder Pedroia's career are injuries, such as the broken foot that plagued him last year. Barring anything like that, I believe Pedroia should have a nice year, especially surrounded by the talent he's surrounded by. Here are my predicted stats.

.294 BA 16 HR 87 RBI 112 R .854 OPS 4.5 WAR; All Star

These numbers will be huge out of the two spot for the Red Sox, and he will play excellent defense up the middle as well. 

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