Dustin Pedroia (2004, 2nd round)
Undersized, too slow, not enough power. Those were traits used to describe Dustin Pedroia coming out of Arizona State yet those perceived flaws didn’t persuade the Red Sox to pass over the gritty infielder in the 2004 draft. Pedroia’s work ethic, heart, and dirt-dog attitude would quickly win him over with the fan base and signal that the Red Sox made the right choice.
A rocky start to his career in which he struggled to hit his own weight cast doubt on his future but then-manager Terry Francona stuck with the young second baseman. Patience paid off, as Pedroia captured the Rookie of the Year award in 2007 and won the AL MVP a year later.
The Laser Show owns a .299/.365/.439 lash line throughout his 14 seasons. He’s a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and a Silver Slugger recipient.
A devastating knee injury has wiped out nearly the entirety of the last two seasons for Pedroia and threatens to end his career. It’s been so long since we’ve seen him take the field without the burden of his injury rehabilitation hanging over him that some may have forgotten how great Pedroia was when healthy.
If this truly is the end of the line for Pedroia, it’s certainly not the final chapter he would have written. Yet when it’s all said and done, Pedroia will go down as one of the greatest second basemen in franchise history.