Thursday, February 04, 2010

2010 Red Sox Projections - 2B

This is post four in a series of posts previewing the 2010 Red Sox.

2009 vs. 2010 Red Sox - 2B:
2009 - Dustin Pedroia
2010 - Dustin Pedroia

In his first two full seasons, Dustin Pedrioa garnered a Gold Glove, a Rookie-of-the-Year award and an MVP Trophy. There wasn't much room to go up, and he didn't last year, fighting through a couple of nagging injuries to an All-Star performance, albeit one that was not as good as the previous two years had been. He hits for average, he demonstrates plate discipline, he hits for power, and he does it while playing good-to-excellent defense at a middle-infield spot. What's not to love?

Even better, he's just now entering what is, actuarially speaking, likely to be the best three or four year stretch of his career, his age 26-29 seasons. While improvement is certainly conceivable, I don't think any Sox fans would be disappointed if, over that stretch, he averaged .322/.378/.471/.848, as he did over the 2007-2008 seasons.

Pedroia played about 97% of Boston's innings at 2nd base last season, for the second straight year, and, absent some significant injury, there's no reason not to expect him to do it again. For the 2B projection, I'm giving Pedroia 96% of the at-bats, Bill Hall 2%, and Jed Lowrie the last 2%.

Red Sox 2009 vs. 2010 - 2B
Dustin Pedroia (marcel)63211019447215746326581644515.308.374.465.839108.95.82
Bill Hall (marcel)13120001100300000.229.293.387.6801.43.35
Jed Lowrie (marcel)13130002100300000.251.325.400.7251.74.13
Dustin Pedrioa (PECOTA)63211919746218756426511844515.312.379.481.860113.96.12
Bill Hall (PECOTA)13130001100300000.244.306.413.7191.63.80
Jed Lowrie (PECOTA)13130001100200000.252.327.393.7211.74.10

2009 2B65912019449117797637532083620.294.370.449.819108.25.39
2010 2B (marcel)65811320049216786526651744616.305.371.462.834112.15.73
2010 2B (PECOTA)65812320348219786726571844616.310.376.478.854117.26.02
Again, we see both projection systems predicting improvement. This one is not hard to understand. Pedroia's entering his age 26 season. The things that we know about baseball players, how they age, when they peak, suggest that one of the next three years is likely to be his best. And this is a player who has already put up a .326/.376/.493/.869 season while playing Gold Glove defense at 2B. Can he do that again? Or better? Who knows, but it wouldn't be shocking. Neither, of course, would it be shocking if he didn't reach that level again.

The projection systems both say thumbs up, and that's what I'm using for this exercise. But I'm not going to keep writing "minor net improvement," either. They're returning the same player to the same position.

2010 2B projection: Comparable

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