In Dustin We Trust: Why Pedoia Is A Top 2B

Dustin Pedroia is someone who has really grown on me more and more as I have researched and worked on my projections this offseason.  I know people are asking how I couldn’t have immediately been high on a former MVP and Rookie of the Year, but it’s not like he quite lived up to MVP expectations in 2009:

626 At Bats
.296 Batting Average (185 Hits)
15 Home Runs
72 RBI
115 Runs
20 Stolen Bases
.371 On Base Percentage
.447 Slugging Percentage
.300 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Outside of stolen bases, he actually took a step back in every category, most notably average and slugging percentage.  The average was hindered by a decreased BABIP.  It’s not that he was specifically unlucky, but he had posted marks of .334 and .336, which led to averages of .317 and .326 in his two award winning seasons.

The chances are he is able to rebound in that area thanks to his impeccable ability to make contact.  Just look at his strikeout rate the past three seasons:

  • 2007 – 8.1%
  • 2008 – 8.0%
  • 2009 – 7.2%

In fact, in players who qualified for the batting title in 2009, Pedroia posted the best rate.  There were only three players with rates below 8.0% (Placido Polanco and Miguel Tejada were the other two).

One of his problems last season may have been his increased flyball rate (36.0% in ’08 to 40.8% in ’09).  Those flyballs replaced mostly groundballs (42.9% to 39.2%), meaning they were less likely to fall in and find a hole in the defense (unlike line drives).  If he can return to putting more balls on the ground (like he did in ’07 and ’08), the average should easily improve.

As for the SLG, the problem wasn’t the power (he had 17 HR in ’08), but the decrease in singles and doubles (54 to 48) that led to him falling from his .493 mark in ’08.

We’ve already discussed how the average is likely to rebound and he’s shown the ability for many extra base hits.  While he may not reach his ’08 level, he should be better in this regard in ’10.

I know many people have concerns over the lineup hitting behind him, saying that it’s not the same type of lineup that the Red Sox are accustomed to.  To an extent those thoughts are accurate, but it’s not like they are pushovers either.

The days of David Ortiz (a shell of himself) and Manny Ramirez are gone, but Victor Martinez (108 RBI in ’09) and Kevin Youkilis (209 RBI between ’08 & ’09) are more than capable of driving in a bevy of runs.  To think that they aren’t capable of driving Pedroia in would be a huge mistake.  I would fully expect him to approach the 115 runs that he had in ’09.

He’s not a big-time RBI option, but he should be more than capable of reaching the 75+ mark once again.  Jacoby Ellsbury should wreak havoc atop the lineup and the bottom of the lineup should give him plenty of opportunities.  No, guys like Adrian Beltre and Mike Cameron are not OBP machines, but they should be on base enough to give him chances and that’s all Pedroia needs.  He’s proven that if you are on base, he has the ability to drive you in.

That all adds up to the following projection for 2010:

.310 (195-630), 17 HR, 80 RBI, 110 R, 20 SB, .314 BABIP, .381 OBP, .473 SLG

There really is nothing not to like about that line and no reason to believe that he can’t reach it.  The lineup is still loaded and when you have a hitter with his ability to make contact, there is no reason to think that he can’t put up an average of at least what I’ve projected.

I have him slotted at #44 overall, meaning he’d be going in the late fourth round.  That’s a little bit below his ADP (around 37), but certainly in the range.  If you are one that wants to fill in the weaker position, he’s certainly one worth reaching up and grabbing.

What are your thoughts on Pedroia?  Will he produce like the fourth best 2B?  Could he reach my projection for him?

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Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

2 comments

  1. TY says:

    i had a guy in a yahoo mock take pedroia #10 overall. I value pedroia, in about the 4th to 5th rounds, NOT IN THE FIRST….

    total joke.

    realize pedroia for what he is, yes he wears the red sox uni… that doesn’t make him superman, he’s a 15/15 and .300-.315 hitting 2B… nothing more, people need to quit thinking he’s 1st, 2nd, or even 3rd round material… he’s not.

    2B is not that shallow of a position, and seeing pedroia taken then phillips and cano taken 2-3 rounds later? gimme a break…

  2. E-Z says:

    When are we going to have a RP readers mock draft? Then we wouldn’t have to worry about the impact of idiots in mocks.

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