Player profile: Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia had the third best WAR rating of his career in 2013. His 5.4 mark bested only by his 2011 (7.6) and 2008 (6.5) seasons. 2011 was Pedroia’s only 20/20 season, collecting 21 home runs and 26 stolen bases. He’s been close on a number of other occasions, usually just a few home runs short, but 2013 was a down year as Pedroia failed to hit double digits for the first time since 2007.

The drop in power has been attributed to the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb which he sustained on the opening day of the 2013 season sliding head first into first base against the New York Yankees.

Following the injury Pedroia posted the highest groundball percentage of his career – over 50% – and set his lowest flyball percentage mark at 27.9% (down 6.7% on the previous year). The Red Sox have to hope that after successful offseason surgery Pedroia can return to being a power threat who can once again get close to the 20 home tier.

Ben Cherington seems to be optimistic as he made Pedroia the second highest paid second baseman with an eight year deal worth $110 million. The uniquely tiered contract will peak in 2018 where Pedroia will be paid $16 million, by the final year (2021) payments drop to $12 million.

An integral part of the Red Sox team last year, and indeed throughout his tenure, Pedroia should have every opportunity to have the best season of his career in 2014.

One thing to watch in 2014

While eyes will definitely be on Pedroia’s power numbers watching him and Xander Bogaerts combine defensively should be a lot of fun.