Dustin Pedroia Needs to Step Up His Game

dustin pedroia

Dustin Pedroia is considered by some to be the heart and soul of the Red Sox and one of the best second basemen in the game. Although his defense hasn’t faltered, his presence at the plate is hurting the Red Sox’ offense.

Pedey has recently found himself in the third slot in the lineup, which is where he was for most of last season. From a numbers standpoint, he isn’t remotely close to what a number three hitter should be.

His .385 slugging percentage and .739 OPS are both his lowest totals since his brief stint with the Sox in 2006, but the timeliness of his hitting is the most worrisome. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Pedroia is 3-27. Yes, a .111 batting average in the most opportune situations! With runners in scoring position, in general, he is 12-52 with four extra base hits. It’s tough to critique such a well-liked guy in Boston sports, but his long-term deal may have been a mistake considering the downward trend in his hitting.

From 2007-2011, Pedroia posted an OPS above .800 every year. If he keeps it up this year, he will have his third straight year below the .800 mark. His two home runs and 18 RBI are also not good enough and can be partially explained by his poor stats with runners in scoring position. Take away his grand slam against Oakland early in May and he has one home run and 14 RBI in the other 55 games.

In a year where Jacoby Ellsbury’s absence has hurt Boston on the base paths, Pedroia’s declining speed isn’t helping. Not exactly known as a burner, Pedroia has actually been a solid base stealer for the Sox. Excluding his shortened 2010 season, in his last five full seasons, he swiped 20, 20, 26, 20, and 17 bags, respectively. Two months into this season, he has two steals and has been caught four times.

Is Dustin Pedroia still one of Boston’s best players? Of course. He will probably finish in the top two or three in WAR on the team and remain a gold glove candidate. However, don’t expect the team to win consistently if this scrappy second baseman doesn’t start producing.

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