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What Dustin Pedroia lacks in size, he more than makes up for in heart.
The scrappy 5'8", 165-pound second baseman was drafted by the Red Sox in the 2004 draft. The former Arizona State Sun Devil was originally selected as a shortstop, but was converted into a full-time second baseman at the major league level.
Pedroia made his big league debut on Aug. 22, 2006, going 1-for-3 against the Angels. He ended up spending 31 games with the club, hitting .191 with a pair of homers, four doubles and seven RBI.
Although he made the Opening Day roster in 2007 he got off to a slow start.
Pedroia batted just .182 with three extra-base hits (no homers) in the month of April, causing several members of the media to suggest he be replaced by utility man Alex Cora.
Pedrioa caught fire in May, however, raising his average to .308 by the end of the month. He continued to destroy opposing pitching for the rest of the season, finishing the year batting .317 with eight homers, 39 doubles and 50 RBI on his way to being named AL Rookie of the Year.
Pedroia followed up his impressive 2007 campaign with an even better one in 2008 when he hit .326 with 17 home runs, 54 doubles and 83 RBI, earning the AL MVP award. He became just the third player (Cal Ripken Jr. and Ryan Howard) in MLB history to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP in consecutive years.
A three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover and a world champion, Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Red Sox.
Since the departure of longtime Red Sox captain Jason Varitek, it seems only a matter of time before Pedroia dons the “C” on his chest.