Dustin Pedroia is a lovable guy, unless you are a Yankees fan, I suppose. He plays hard, never complains, puts in lots of work, plays excellent defense, has good plate discipline, and is a smart baserunner. If you've owned him in a fantasy league in the last two years, none of that matters to you, because he has disappointed you and you are probably done with him. He once possessed the rare combination of good power and speed, with excellent batting averages and very high run totals hitting second or third in a potent Red Sox lineup. Let's review his downfall with the following table:
|5/29/12||thumb injury (DTD)|
|6/5/12||returned to lineup|
|6/20/12||right thumb injury (DTD)|
|6/21/12||returned to lineup|
|7/4/12||thumb injury (DTD)|
|7/5/12||placed on 15-day DL with sprained right thumb|
|7/19/12||activated from 15-day DL|
|10/1/12||finger injury (DTD)|
|10/2/12||returned to lineup|
|4/13/14||sore left wrist (DTD)|
|4/15/14||returned to lineup|
|5/31/14||right hand injury (DTD)|
|6/1/14||returned to lineup|
|8/18/14||returned to lineup|
|9/5/14||returned to lineup|
|9/9/14||left hand injury (out for season)|
"It was just frustrating," he said of the injury that nagged him during the season. "The year before, I found a way to perform, playing nicked up. The year before it was a loose feeling — I tore that ligament in my thumb and everything just felt loose, so I was able to figure it out and let the ball travel more and just try to slap balls the other way and get hits and not try to drive the ball. This year it was more, I was restricted. I didn’t have any motion. It was so swollen and tight all year, I couldn’t get a feel of how to get through it. It was tough. I fought it all year.
"Now that it’s fixed, it’s night and day. I can already tell that. There’s a lot of IOU’s to hand out to people, so I’m pretty excited about it."
Added Pedroia: "I feel great. I’m back to a hundred percent. I’m doing all my lifts and everything. My rehab’s going good. I’m full strength and I’m pretty excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been myself. It’s going to be a lot of fun next year."
Pedroia (wrist) reports he's "full go," telling WEEI.com that he's been hitting since before Christmas. "If [spring training] started tomorrow, I'm ready," Pedroia said. "I've got all my strength back. I'm lifting like a maniac. I'm pretty excited. Last year at this time I couldn't hit yet. It's obvious a lot different offseason this year than last year." (1/15/2015)
Now, I'm not delusional. I don't think he will suddenly become a 20/20 candidate again. Even if he is going to be fully healthy this season all year, he is three years older than he was in 2011 and past his peak athletically. But, that being said, I am bullish on his outlook compared to many out there who think his days as a top 5 second baseman are over. Below you will find Steamer's projection for 2015 along with my own.