Well, it is officially that time of the offseason. The Red Sox are done making moves (or so it appears) and we are left to count down the days until the Red Sox report for Spring Training (40 to be exact). As a baseball writer, this is the worst time of year. There is not a whole heck of a lot to write about. So since we have some time to kill, I will be writing some player previews for 2016. First up, Dustin Pedroia.
2015 Recap: 2015 was another injury plagued season for Dustin Pedroia. The Sox middle infielder played just 93 games while spending a good portion of the season on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. When healthy, Pedroia performed offensively. He hit 12 homers, 19 doubles, and 42 RBIs while posting a slash line of .291/.356/.441.
On the other side of the ball, the normally outstanding Gold Glove fielder was not himself in 2015. He had 6 errors in just 799.2 innings compared to just 2 errors in 1187.1 innings in 2014. As a result, the defensive metrics were not kind to Pedroia for the first time in his career. He had a career low with -3 defensive runs saved. His previous low was 5 defensive runs saved during another injury plagued 2010 season. Dustin's WAR was also at a career low of 2.0.
With Pedroia spending a good majority of the season on the DL, Brock Holt went from super utility player to starting at second. Holt is a very good player and can handle second base just fine. However, he lost value playing strictly at one position. The beauty of Holt is the ability to play him at any position as a super sub. Pedroia's injury left the Sox in a tough position.
2016 Outlook: The key for Dustin, like always, is games played. When he stays on the field, he is a dynamic player. If Pedroia plays 150 games, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be an All-Star. Pedroia might be past his prime, but he is still elite defensively and a very good hitter. The question remains: will he stay healthy? Probably not. He plays the game with such a tenacity and always gives it 110%. He is bound to get hurt at some point. However, it takes a lot to keep this man off the field. Remember 2013 when he injured his thumb on Opening Day? He still managed to play 160 regular season games plus the playoffs with the injury. While Pedroia probably won't stay healthy, I think he will fight through whatever injuries he has and will stay on the field in 2016.
2016 Stat Projection:
16 home runs
.295 batting average
.350 on-base percentage
.994 fielding percentage
Gold Glove winner
Thoughts my Pedroia projections?
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Stats via baseballreference.com