Best-Hitting Second Baseman in Baseball - 2011
Dustin Pedroia, ASU alumnus and current Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia is a phenom with a .303 batting average going on six seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He's the best hitter to come out of Arizona State University since Barry Bonds. Better than Bonds when you look at his average and worth to his team — and there's no doubt that the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder never has done steroids. Not only is Pedroia a probable future Hall of Famer, based on his hitting; he is a stellar infielder. He's an American League Gold Glove (2008) second baseman who has committed only 28 errors since the 2006 season. It was a good bet that Pedroia would do well in the majors. During his ASU career, he hit .384, with 71 doubles, 14 homers, and 146 runs batted in — incredible stats for a college player. In addition, he was 2003 National Defensive Player of the Year while at ASU. He went on to win AL Rookie of the year in 2007, his first full season in the bigs — which coincidentally was the year that Boston won its second World Series in four years (before 2004, it hadn't won the title since 1918). On the first pitch of his first World Series at-bat, the Woodland, California, native homered over Fenway Park's Green Monster. This season, he's on a pace to hit more home runs than in any other season, with 13 since the All-Star game — as Boston led the American League East. Never known as a power-hitter, his previous HR total was 17 in 2008. Now 27, he's billed in Boston as the spark plug of his team — the proverbial little man who plays big.