2012 Red Sox Player Preview: Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Red Sox clubhouse

Consistency is key for any athlete in any sport.  If nothing else a manager or a coach would just love to have any player that is consistent year in and year out.  Throw in leadership and attitude and you’ve got a hell of a player in your locker room.  That’s Dustin Pedroia to a T.  Hard-nosed, passionate, vocal, and consistent.  What you’ve seen is what you’ll get with Dustin Pedroia.  He’ll never lead the league in home runs or stolen bases but he’ll give you consistent production in every statistical category, including defensive metrics.

Here’s a look at Pedroia’s 2011 season (career highs in parentheses):

Games: 159 (159, 2011)
Average: .307 (.317, 2007)
On-Base Percentage: .387 (.387, 2011)
Slugging Percentage: .474 (.493, 2008 & 2010)
On Base plus Slugging (OPS): .861 (.869, 2008)
Home Runs: 21 (21, 2011)
Runs Batted In: 91 (91, 2011)
Runs: 102 (118, 2008)
Doubles: 37 (54, 2008)
Walks: 86 (86, 2011)

2012 Outlook:

As you can see above Pedroia had career highs in 5 offensive categories listed in 2011.  He also had a career high 26 stolen bases last season.  Pedroia hasn’t even reached his offensive prime years (ages 29-31) as he will be 28 years old this coming season.  Amazingly Pedroia played in more games last year than any other season despite taking a day off to get his knee scoped during June.  The lingering effects of his 2010 leg injury seemed to have subsided as the year went on and he looked more stronger and more confident at the plate.  It made for what was probably his most productive offensive season.  Pedey still has the disaster of last year on his mind, he recently told NESN that he’ll never forget 2011.  That should prove to be more than sufficient motivation for Pedroia to put together another M.V.P. caliber season.

Pedroia is just entering the prime of his career

Pedroia had another stellar year defensively last season as he won his second career gold glove.  The only second baseman in the American League to have a higher fielding percentage than Pedroia’s .990% was the Angels’ Howie Kendrick who had a .992%.  Pedroia has become an elite defender and along with Adrian Gonzalez makes up for one of the best right sides of the infield in the majors.  You could expect Pedroia to be a plus defender again this season.  What will be watched closely during the year will be his chemistry with new shortstop Mike Aviles.  Pedroia has spent  alot of time in practice with Aviles.  Turning over a double play is harder than it looks and you need to have chemistry with your middle infield mate.  Pedroia seems to be making sure that him and Aviles will be ready by opening day.

Obviously one of the biggest factors this year will be how Pedroia handles his leadership duties.  Him and David Ortiz are the undisputed leaders in the Red Sox clubhouse but things got away from them last season.  It looks like everyone is ready to make amends this year and it will be up to Pedroia and Ortiz to be the voices in what you would have to believe will be a more intense clubhouse this year with the addition of manager Bobby Valentine.  Pedroia’s relationship with Bobby Valentine is also very important as he was former manager Terry Francona’s closest clubhouse confidante.  Valentine and Pedroia are very similarly and should make for two peas in a pod.  I don’t see any issues arising between the two.  Even if Pedroia doesn’t like how Francona was treated last year he’s not the kind of guy to let it be a distraction to what he does on the field.

Pedroia will try to anchor a clubhouse that was in turmoil last year

Pedroia will likely put up similar numbers to what he put up last season.  Maybe he’ll have a few less home runs.  Maybe he will hit a few more doubles.  That’s the thing about Pedey, he’ll always be consistent.  His worth to the team however is much more than that.  He is the engine that makes the train go.  With the retirement of Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield his presence in the clubhouse should be even more pronounced and I’m guessing that he won’t have a problem with that at all.  For all intents and purposes Dustin Pedroia is the face of the franchise.

Dustin Pedroia is the least of the Red Sox’ spring training worries.  He’s going to produce.  He’s going to lead.  He’ll probably be an All-Star and will probably be in contention for a gold glove at the end of the season.  Not of that will matter to Pedey unless the Sox are playing deep into October.  And you can bet your ass that Pedey will give it all he has in order to get them there.

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About evonsports
30 year old sports enthusiast and aspiring writer from Boston.

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