by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
You can easily argue that Dustin Pedroia hadn’t been a viable fantasy option since 2012, though that wouldn’t necessarily be 100% accurate. At the very least he was hardly the player he had been for three years running, but a solid 2016 campaign has changed things:
633 At Bats
.318 Batting Average (201 Hits)
15 Home Runs
7 Stolen Bases
.376 On Base Percentage
.449 Slugging Percentage
.339 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Now 33-years old, it’s fair to wonder if Pedroia has another strong season in him or if this resurgence was a one-time thing. Let’s take a look:
Obviously the most impressive numbers were his average and runs scored. To an extent they are tied hand in hand, though the loss of David Ortiz will surely have a negative impact on his runs scored. Pedroia has always been able to make consistent contact, so his 10.5% strikeout rate isn’t unreasonable. His 24.2% line drive rate, though?
For his career he owns a 20.9% mark. He has, on occasion, carried elevated marks before, but at his age and with his injury history? It’s a tough sell. He was at least consistent throughout the season:
Still, expecting him to match this type of elevated mark would seem like a mistake. Considering he also doesn’t have the speed he once did, a drop in his line drive rate is going to mean a drop in his BABIP/average. Is it going to fall off a cliff? No, thanks to his ability to make contact, but .290ish is a much more reasonable expectation.
Couple that drop with the lineup around him getting a little bit weaker and 90 runs scored sound fair.
A .290 hitter with 90 runs scored is a fine second baseman, but what else does he bring us? As we’ve said he’s no longer a stolen base threat. He’s only topped last season’s 15 HR twice in his career, so expecting anything more there doesn’t seem likely. RBI? More of a top of the order hitter with little power and an average drop expected… Does that sound like a formula to drive in many runs?
It would be easy to get excited about Pedroia, considering his name and the 2016 campaign he posted. However it’s nearly impossible to expect him to replicate his success. A step back across the board is likely coming, and considering the higher upside options that are starting to emerge at the position that makes Pedroia more of an afterthought.
Don’t let the name appeal skew your judgment.
Source – Fangraphs