Dustin Pedroia, Not Adrian Gonzalez Is the MVP of the Boston Red Sox so Far
Let me make this clear. Adrian Gonzalez is an All-Star. He is a crucial member of the Red Sox and a great player. The Boston Red Sox would not be as good without him. What I am saying is that so far this year Dustin Pedroia has been more valuable than Adrian Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is a great hitter, the best on the Red Sox. But Pedroia isn't that far behind and has the advantage in fielding, speed and leadership, making him a more complete package.
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This is Adrian Gonzalez's one advantage, but it isn't as clear-cut as people think. Gonzalez's batting average is much higher than Pedroia's (.356 to .312), but their OBP is similar (.417 to .406). Pedroia also draws more walks (69 to 43) and strikes out less (51 to 77). Gonzalez leads in doubles (33 to 25), triples (three to two) and home runs (18 to 15), but again none of that is a huge difference.
If you are sabermetrically inclined, Gonzalez leads in wRC+ 166 to 151. Overall Gonzalez is the better hitter, but the difference is not nearly as big as commonly believed.
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This is Pedroia's biggest advantage. Pedroia has better range and makes fewer errors. He is great at turning the double play. Dustin being a second baseman, as opposed to Adrian playing first, also has to be taken into account.
The sabermetric stat Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) finds that Pedroia is worth 14 runs more than Gonzalez this year—just with his glove. Both players are Gold Glove talents, but at the more import defensive position, Pedroia gets the nod.
Pedroia also takes this one. This year Pedroia has 21 steals and has been caught three times. Gonzalez has stolen one base and hasn't been caught. Pedroia also takes an extra base 38 percent of the time, while Gonzalez only takes it 31 percent of the time. If you compare double plays, Pedroia has a eight percent double play rate, compared to Gonzalez's 20 percent.
Pedroia is an above average runner, Gonzalez is just slow. If you compare speed scores, Pedroia leads 5.4 to 3.5.
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Dustin Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Boston Red Sox.
Jason Varitek may be the captain and a great leader, David Ortiz may be their best personality, but Pedroia is the heart and soul of Boston.
He is a scrappy, determined ballplayer who never gives up and is never afraid to get dirty. Adrian Gonzalez shows a great work ethic, but he isn't the leader Pedroia is.