“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”


 
2009-PRESENT
#3   DUSTIN PEDROIA

It's a rare player indeed who wins the Rookie of the Year one year and the league's Most Valuable Player award the next. Through the 2011 season, Pedroia is a lifetime .305 hitter with a .373 on-base percentage. He led the league in runs scored both in 2008 and 2009, after making his name known with his .317 batting average in his rookie season, 2007. Voting for the awards takes place before the Postseason and did not reflect his major contribution in advancing the Red Sox to the World Series: .345 with five RBI in the ALCS against the Indians. He was the first batter up for Boston in Game One of the World Series and hit a laser over the left-field wall to give the Red Sox a lead they never relinquished. His work in 2007 is even more impressive in retrospect, as it was revealed that November that he'd played the final two months of the season with a cracked hamate bone in his left hand. In 2010, a broken left foot deprived the team of his talents for more than half the season.

It was 2008 when Pedroia won the MVP, leading the league in base hits (213), doubles (54), and runs scored (118). He drove in 83 and hit 17 home runs, as well as being named to the All-Star team for the first of three consecutive years.  Pedroia was selected to be the starting second baseman for the 2009 AL All Star Team. The weekend prior to the game, however, he withdrew from the team. Pedroia achieved his first multi-home run game on September 9, 2009, against the Baltimore Orioles.  For the second consecutive year, Pedroia led the American League in Runs Scored with 115 (2nd in MLB behind Albert Pujols who had 124 runs scored). He finished third in the AL / MLB with 48 doubles.

On June 24, 2010, Pedroia went 5 for 5, with 5 RBI, and hit three home runs in a game against the Colorado Rockies that the Red Sox won, 13–11, in the tenth inning The next day, Pedroia fouled a ball off his foot in an at-bat versus the San Francisco Giants. MRI results the next day confirmed that he had a broken bone in his foot, and later was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List. Pedroia was so concerned about his fielding skills getting rusty (he was on doctors' orders not to put weight on his foot for two weeks) that he practiced fielding ground balls on his knees.  On July 4, 2010, Pedroia was named to be a reserve player on the American League All Star team, but did not participate due to this injury, and had former Arizona State teammate Ian Kinsler replace him on the roster.

Pedroia bounced back from an injury-laden 2012 season to become the only player on the Red Sox to play more than 150 games during the team's division-clinching 2013 season. Pedroia and the Sox went on to win the World Series that year, it was the first time since 1918 the Red Sox clinched the series at home at Fenway Park. He also won his third Gold Glove Award and won the "Wilson A.L. Defensive Player of the Year"

For his defensive performance, Pedroia was honored with the American League Gold Glove award at second base in 2014, his fourth in his nine-year career. This made him the first Red Sox infielder to win four Gold Gloves. In May 2014, Pedroia hit his 100th career home run and his 300th career double.

In 2015, on Opening Day, Pedroia belted two home runs. But in July, he was put on the disabled list with a bad hamstring. He spent 73 days there because of an ill-advised six-game return following the All-Star break. Playing in 18 of the 25 remaining games in September, he would hit .308 with an .886 OPS.

In 2016, Pedroia bounced back and had his finest all-around season since 2011, a refreshing reminder for himself, above everyone else, that he’s still one of the best second basemen in the majors. He posted a .318 average, the best average he’s had since his MVP award in 2008. Pedroia finished first in walks, second in average and hits, and finished fourth in doubles and at bats among American League second baseman. He posted a .990 fielding percentage, making just six errors in 613 chances, and picked up his 5th Gold Glove.

Against the Braves, he sent a fly ball floating down the right-field line in the second inning of the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the on April 27th. He watched the ball until it finally ricocheted off the Pesky Pole for a grand slam. It was the highlight of a 3-for-5, two-homer, five-RBI night for him.

Late in the season, in a battle with the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East, it was Dustin Pedroia (.329 BA) who made the biggest difference. He drove in four runs as the Sox embarrassed the Jays, 13-3. He was 3 for 4 with a sacrifice fly. When the Red Sox clinched a playoff berth on September 24th, it was his grand slam in the seventh inning that was the difference.

Pedroia was also the most consistent hitter for the Red Sox every month. His lowest average for a month was in June when he still hit a respectable .294 and never seemed to have a slump. But he was part of the problem in terms of the lineup’s disappearing act in the ALDS, making an error on an easy ground ball, with two notable tirades against home plate umps’ strike zones that wound up showing he was wrong.