Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia returns from injury in 2019. So what can we expect from the second baseman this year?
Dustin Pedroia was once a great second baseman and a great asset to the Boston Red Sox. His absence in 2018 because of a knee injury had him watching from the dugout as the Sox won the World Series. He was rehabbing all season long and hopes to be ready for the 2019 season.
Pedroia was replaced at second base by Ian Kinsler, who isn’t expected to return to the Red Sox in 2019. Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt can also fill in if Pedroia has a setback. Pedroia wants to be ready by Opening Day. He doesn’t need surgery this offseason so he should be good to go.
Pedroia has three seasons left on his contract. So the question is, what will we see from him in 2019?
Baseball-Reference’s 2019 projection for Pedroia doesn’t seem very good. He’s expected to hit only five home runs with 28 RBI’s, 23 walks and 34 strikeouts. He’s also projected to have an OPS of .742.
In 2017, Pedoria only hit seven home runs but drove in 62 RBI’s and posted an OPS of .760. With the speed on this team, I’m sure he can hit for more than 28 RBI’s in 2019. It’s going to be different for him to be playing with a bunch of young players. He’s the veteran on the team and does coach the younger players to help them. He could still do that in 2019 but he’ll have to also produce on the field.
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Pedroia may have a setback because of his knee injury but he’s had a year to get better and be ready to go. He wants to get back out there and play. He’ll be taking playing time away from guys that were filling in for him last season. Their expectations will be set high after winning the World Series and he knows that. He’s been on a lot of good teams and bad ones. Pedroia was more of a motivator in 2018 and in 2019 he’ll be the same motivator and producing on the field. In my opinion, he’ll probably finish his contract and at the end of the 2021 season, he’ll retire.
With spring training starting next month don’t be surprised if he goes early to get a head start on things. Pedroia may need that extra work to be able to be ready for the start of the season. By the time the rest of the players get down there, he’ll have already put the extra work in and won’t have to catch up to everyone else. All these guys are younger than him and played a full season. Pedroia was rehabbing and getting ready for the future.
It also helps to have Alex Cora as a manager who influences the players. Pedroia played with Cora and in my opinion, would make a great assistant to Cora. But with years remaining on his contract, why not finish it out?
With Kinsler not expected to return to the Sox in 2019, they are preparing for Pedroia to be as close to 100% as possible at the start of the season. Pedroia could make some great plays at second base as he has in the past. He’s the oldest player on the team and wants to set a good example for the younger guys to not let anything stop you. They may have setbacks but that doesn’t mean to not keep going.