Dustin Pedroia may be the best major-leaguer to come out of Arizona State University since (dare we say!) Barry Bonds — and he hasn't resorted to steroids (we think). Consider these stats from the Woodland, California native, former Sun Devil, and current second baseman for the defending champion Boston Red Sox: a .317 batting average in his first full season with the Red Sox in 2007 and .327 through 147 games of the 2008 season. After winning American League Rookie of the Year in 2007, his performance this year earned him his first spot on the American League All-Star team. In last year's League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians, Pedroia batted .345. In the seventh game, he hit a two-run homer at Fenway Park and had five runs batted in to lead his team into the World Series.
Along with fellow rookie Jacoby Ellsbury, Pedroia got the Red Sox off to a tremendous start in the fall classic. On the first pitch of his first World Series at-bat, Pedroia homered over Fenway Park's Green Monster. In helping Boston take the first three games of the series, Ellsbury and Pedroia, batting first and second in the Red Sox lineup, combined for seven hits and seven runs. Boston took game four and swept the Colorado Rockies to give the team its second World Series title in four years (before 2004, it hadn't won an MLB championship since 1918).
It was predictible that Pedroia would do so well in the majors. During his ASU career, he hit .384, with 71 doubles, 14 homers and 146 RBI — phenomenal stats for a college player. But he wasn't just an offensive marvel; Pedroia was named 2003 National Defensive Player of the Year while at ASU, and has been a stellar infielder as a pro.