Now that the 2015 season is in the books, the BoSox Injection staff will hand out their final report cards, grading the performances of each member of the Boston Red Sox roster based on their expectations entering the season.
2015 Stats: .291/.356/.441, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 2 SB, 2.0 WAR
After his 2014 season ended early thanks to a hand injury, Dustin Pedroia was expected to have a sensational year. Even though he boosted his batting average from last season, he suffered two injuries that forced him out of the Red Sox lineup for over two months.
You can make a strong case for Pedroia being the heart, soul and leader of the Red Sox, so it’s natural to have high expectations from him. However, Boston knew that they couldn’t only rely on their second baseman for the team to have a good offensive year. The Red Sox were looking to have another worst to first campaign, fueled by the signings of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. Last year’s team lacked a lot of offense, so the signings kind of made sense at the time. The Red Sox lineup was supposed to be one of the best in baseball, mainly because of a healthy Pedroia, Ramirez and Ortiz.
Pedroia started the season in Laser Show mode with two home runs on Opening Day, one coming in his first at-bat of the year. Since that moment, the second baseman became a hitting machine for the Red Sox, but he suffered his first injury of the season on June 24th. Pedroia was posting a .306 batting average and 9 home runs (the same amount he had during the 2014 season) at the time of his injury.
We all know that Pedroia is unstoppable, so it’s no surprise that he fought his way off of the disabled list, but this time he did so prematurely. He came back on July 17th, but only played for six games and had one single hit in 23 plate appereances. Pedey went back to the disabled list on July 25th and had a full recovery.
The second baseman came back on September 8th, but the Red Sox took precautions and benched him for a couple of games during the remainder of the season. However, he returned as the natural offensive perfomer that we all know. Pedroia had a .308 batting average over 24 games, serving once as a DH.
Even though he was one of the Red Sox best hitters when healthy, his defensive skills were not as good. After winning a Gold Glove in 2014, Pedroia committed six errors in 92 games, the most since 2011. However, he played 159 games that year. He also only turned 61 double-plays, the lowest since 2012 when he missed more than half of the season. His .986 fielding percentage is also his worst since his rookie year in 2007.
When healthy, Pedroia is one of the best players at the Major League level. It is unfortunate that this was another year where injuries attacked him. Makes you wonder what the Red Sox record would be if he had been healthy for at least 30 more games.
It’s unfair to grade Pedroia’s impact in this team with only his numbers. When the team was going through its most difficult times, he always knew what to say and showed confidence when the rest was looking defeated. His influence and impact go beyond the field, and that’s something completely unmeasurable. This year we saw a rookie invasion lead by Eduardo Rodriguez and Mookie Betts and they had someone to look up to: Dustin Pedroia.
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