Has Dustin Pedroia’s Time As A Viable Fantasy Option Come & Gone?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

You have to think that at least a part of the Boston Red Sox hierarchy wishes that Dustin Pedroia wasn’t signed to a big money contract through 2021. Even if he was coming off a productive season, the development of Mookie Betts and the signing of Rusney Castillo has created a bit of a log jam. Of course, Pedroia isn’t coming off a good season instead sporting the following line:

551 At Bats
.278 Batting Average (153 Hits)
7 Home Runs
53 RBI
72 Runs
6 Stolen Bases
.337 On Base Percentage
.376 Slugging Percentage
.307 Batting Average on Balls in Play

A wrist injury, which necessitated surgery, did hinder him throughout the season. That said is there really hope for a rebound or has his days as one of the elite second baseman come and gone?

The truth is, while he may no longer be elite that’s not to say that he can’t put up better numbers. Are they going to rebound all the way to his 2011 and 2012 production? Not likely…

While the wrist injury likely played a role, let’s not forget that Pedroia had 9 HR in 2013. That year he averaged 255.525 feet on non-groundballs, down from 263.127 in 2012. Interestingly enough, he actually increased his mark back to 264.288, so the healed injury and this rebound does give us a little bit of hope.

He’s not likely to hit 20+ HR, as he only reached that level once before in his career. However, getting back to the 12-15 range is not out of the question.

The next thing is his speed, with his stolen bases falling off a cliff last season. Then again, he was never an elite option and is now 31-years old. Like with his power it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get into the 10-15 range, but the days of being a 20+ guy have probably come and gone.

So we are talking about a 10/10 player, not bad but also not something we covet unless there’s another skill brought to the table. Not a leadoff hitter (especially with the presence of Castillo and Betts), he’s not likely going to score a ton of runs. What about RBI? While he’s had some big seasons, he’s not a middle of the order bat either and also lacks power upside. Again, we aren’t looking at a ton here. Maybe he’s an 80/60 player, but that could be a stretch (especially in the RBI department).

That leaves us with his average, which also disappointed last season. A career .299 hitter, his 4.8% SwStr% was among the 20 best in the league and he rarely chases outside the strike zone (26.7% O-Swing%). His 12.3% strikeout rate was high, for him, but obviously not a poor number. The issue was instead luck, with a .307 BABIP despite a 23.9% line drive rate. Does that mean he’s a lock to push .300? Unfortunately not, and expecting .280-.290 is more realistic.

The bottom line? At this stage of his career Pedroia appears to be a player that doesn’t hurt you anywhere, though he also doesn’t help you. That’s not the type of player you want to target, unless the value is right, and chances are someone is going to pay for the name as opposed to the talent. Clearly not what he once was, consider Pedroia more of a middle infielder than anything and someone I won’t likely own in any format in 2015.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Heat Maps

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