Dustin Pedroia. Number 15. Pedey. Lasershow. Whatever you call him there is no denying that he is a fan favorite and the heart of the team. Whether he is turning double plays in the infield or swinging for the fences, Pedroia is always giving it his all. Since he was drafted by the Sox in 2004, he has won Rookie of the Year (2007), been on four All-Star teams (’08, ’09, ’10, ’13), and won four Gold Gloves (’08, ’11, ’13, ’14). He can put these trophies on his shelf next to his Silver Slugger and AL MVP from 2008. But somehow it doesn’t seem like Pedroia is the type to sit back and rest on past accomplishments.
There isn’t a way to sugar coat it: 2014 wasn’t a great year for the Red Sox and Pedroia was not immune. His Gold Glove award was the one bright spot in this dark season. His .287 batting average was his lowest since 2006. Even in 2010, when he only played 35 games due to injury, he had a higher batting average. In 2014 Pedroia played 135 games during many of which he was battling thumb injuries.
Dustin Pedroia is 31 (he’ll turn 32 August 17). Everything we’ve heard from the Red Sox office this off season implies that he is healthy. He recently tweeted pictures of himself looking wicked pumped for the season. In the back of many fans’ minds, however, there lurks a small amount of fear that he won’t be able to get completely healthy. The Red Sox are going to need reliable defense from him this season as well as increased production. Without a strong Pedroia the Sox face an even steeper climb back into contention.