No he's not the prototypical MVP. He's not the 40-plus home run guy. He's not going to drive in 100-plus runs. He won't steal 40 bases. But Dustin Pedroia is a gamer.
Pedroia, the 25-year-old second baseman for the Boston Red Sox, is the spark-plug of the Red Sox offense. Generously listed at 5'9" (he's closer to 5'5"), Pedroia adds a punch to a Red Sox lineup wherever he is needed. This season he has batted in several different spots in the order: lead-off, second, and even a game hitting clean-up.
Much is made of Pedroia's hitting (.327 BA, 15 HR, 68 RBI entering Sunday), but not enough is said of his defense. Pedroia is certainly a contender to win the AL Gold Glove Award at second base due to his stellar play of the position.
Night in and night out, Pedroia makes spectacular plays, diving to his left and right. He has made just six errors all season and boasts a .990 fielding percentage.
Sure, Carlos Quentin of the Chicago White Sox (.288, 36, 100) and Josh Hamilton of the Rangers (.295, 29, 116) are having great seasons, there is no doubt that Pedroia lights a fire under the Red Sox offense unlike any other.
Here are a few stats to ponder:
Pedroia leads the AL in Batting Average, Runs, and Hits, two-hit games, three-hit games, and four-hit games. He has an astounding 53 multi-hit games in 132 games played. He is 10-10 in his last 10 at-bats, including two 4-4 nights against the Chicago White Sox, in must-win games. There is no doubt that this guy can hit.
Pedroia is certainly not considered fleet-a-foot. However, consider this. Dustin Pedroia has more stolen bases than the Yankee's double-play combination. That's right.
Pedroia has 14 SB compared to Derek Jeter's nine and Robinson Cano's one. If not for hitting in front of David Ortiz just about every night, the number of steals would be higher.
A year after winning the AL ROY Award, Dustin Pedroia has been everything the Red Sox needed and more to stay in the fight for the postseason.
With David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, JD Drew, and Josh Beckett each missing considerable time this year coupled with Team Captain Jason Varitek's notable struggles, Pedroia has been a shoulder that the Red Sox can rely on to lead the team. That, along with the mind-boggling stats, will win Dustin Pedroia the 2008 AL MVP Award.