5’8″, 165 pounds, and 100% heart, determination, and dedication. Of course I am mentioning the Rookie of the year, All Star, and MVP second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The Woodland, CA native was drafted in the second round and 65th overall as an undersized shortstop. In addition to his paramount success in the MLB at the plate and in the field, he is a class act off the field as well. In college, he gave up his last two years of scholarship in order to recruit a better pitching staff. Much to my delight, he also resigned with the Red Sox for another 7 years. Safe to say, he has been one of the vital components of the Red Sox for the past 6 years and will continue to be a major contributor on the diamond and in the locker room.
Let’s breakdown some of Pedroia’s stats over the course of his MLB career. He has hit above .300 in all but two years during his 6 full seasons including solid RBI numbers and OBP. Additionally, he has been averaging 20 stolen bases and scores at least 90-100 runs most seasons.
After winning Rookie of the Year in 2007, along with a World Series title, Pedroia came back to win the MVP award in 2008. During this season, he hit .326 with an OBP of .376, 17 HRs and 83 RBIs. Not to mention the countless incredible plays in the field that he made including a .992 fielding percentage which was his career high until this past season.
It’s hard to decide which is more enjoyable to watch. A moonshot home run over the green monster where Dustin gets every inch of his 5’8″ (more likely 5’6″-7″), 165 pound frame into a high and inside fastball that sails over the Sports Authority billboard in left field. Or a rocket line drive that skips past the pitcher up the middle destined for a base hit only to be met by the diving #15 who bounces up, turns and throws before the hitter can even believe that his average somehow just declined. I will leave that up to you based off of these 2013 highlights.
Whichever you found to be more enjoyable I think everyone can agree that PD is one of the best players in the MLB but for different reason. As an undersized middle infielder, discounted as just another average prospect in college, and riddled with minor nagging injuries thus far, it’s safe to say he is somewhat of an underdog despite his two WS championships, ROY, and MVP awards. Seeing as we share the same birthday, Pedroia will always go down as my favorite childhood baseball player and role model.