- From: "Dano" <janeanddano@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2006 21:56:42 -0500
"gnork" <gnork44@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:4pqch.6197$tM1.3146@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
"Dave Bismo" <bismo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
On Sat, 02 Dec 2006 14:50:28 -0500, Ron <rsen01@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>Dave Bismo wrote:
>> I accidentally deleted Gnork's post before trying to reply....He
>> mentioned wanting Durham as a second baseman and playing Pedroia at
>> shortstop. (Durham, as Gnork noted, re-signed with the Giants, which
>> also may have cost the Red Sox two draft pick, since Loretta had
>> previously been expected to sign with San Francisco.)
>> I've seen Pedroia play both 2B and SS. I think he's a plus defender
>> at 2B. Maybe not a Gold Glover, but surprisingly good range, very
>> reliable, and improving at turning the DP. I'd say almost as reliable
>> as Loretta, but he makes up for it by covering more ground.
>> At short, I'd say that Pedroia is about average, or maybe a shade
>> below. He doesn't look pretty, particularly when he throws, and he
>> doesn't have ideal range, but he can make the routine plays and won't
>> do anything stupid.
>> So I agree somewhat with Gnork. I think Pedroia can play SS in the
>> majors, at least for now, but his skills translate a lot better to 2B,
>> IMHO. All else being equal, I'd rather play Pedroia at 2B and acquire
>> a SS. It would certainly be better for the defense. But given
>> Boston's possible cold feet on Lugo after he was offered arbitration
>> and the lack of attractive options at SS, it might not be a bad idea
>> for the team to look at getting a second baseman and playing Dustin at
>> short. One possibility might be Marcus Giles, who's supposedly been
>> on the block. I hope they don't re-sign Loretta, who's a solid pro,
>> but who really has sub-par range at this point. I'd want the 2B to be
>> at least average defensively if he has to be paired with Pedroia (not
>> a knock on the kid, but even his fans don't think he'll be much more
>> than average at SS).
>You are a knowledgeable fan, but I STRONGLY disagree with your
>assessment of Pedroia at second. Why? He has major issues on balls to
>his right and turning the pivot because he (unconsciously) tries to
>avoid the backhand, which 1) reduces his range and 2) repeatedly has
>drawn him off the bag if throws to him aren't perfect. This can cost not
>only one out but two. There hasn't been anything to suggest that his
>offense can compensate for this.
>Can he learn this/be 'retrained'? I don't know. However, I wouldn't
>consider this persistent behavior that of a plus defender. Do I have
>tape on this? No. But anybody who watches the game has seen him do this
>on multiple occasions.
I've seen him play several times in the minors and majors and honestly
haven't noticed any big problems on balls hit to either side--at least
in the games I attended. He didn't look smooth like Orlando Hudson,
but he seemed to make all the plays. I agree that he was tentative at
first on the pivot, but I thought he showed improvement later in the
There were 22 ML 2nd basemen listed as qualifiers for fielding stats. Ray
Durham was 15th, quite acceptable for one with his offense. Also, it is a
tight shot group from 6th to 19th reflecting once again that there isn't a
hell of a lot of difference in fielding ability. However, Aaron Hill of
Toronto was a runaway number 1, beating #2 by 28 points. By contrast the 14
players ranked from 6th to 19th are separated by just 30 points. Oh yeah,
Adam Kennedy was 16th, Mark Loretta 17th and *ahem* Orlando Hudson was 18th.
Marcus Giles was #21 and Jose Castillo was 22nd. Among the non-qualifiers
Pedroia played 27 games at 2nd and his ZR was .857. Had he played enough
games to be a qualifier and maintained that number only TWO (Hill and Jamey
Carroll of Colorado) would have had a better number. It seems that in his
limited time Pedroia did an excellent job defensively at second.
The free agent market for decent middle infielders is down to one player,
Julio Lugo. (unless you are a big Tomas Perez fan). The Red Sox will either
sign him, trade for someone, go with Cora as the regular to start the season
or look for a gem among the debris of minor league free agents or among
players eligible for the Rule 5 draft. That covers it unless there is a good
middle infielder suddenly available from the Japanese leagues or the Mexican
League or perhaps an aging Little League kid with a family to support from
Taiwan or the Bronx.
While it's probably not plan A I still think Pedroia is perfectly capable of holding his own at SS. The overwhelming reason he was shifted to second was to accomodate a young fellow who was just the NL rookie of the year, not because he couldn't handle the position. Yes...I know all the very reasonable arguments for him at second and that may be the best position for him...I'm no expert, but I did see him at Pawtucket a little and he looked a lot more solid in person. He's simply a very good hard working player. He has a little speed and more pop in his bat than most people realize. Honestly it's hard to put my finger on it. It's more the little things, the way he hustled on every single thing he did. I think it's going to be fun to watch him grow into whatever role they ask him to fill. If they want him to play short...he'll be just fine.
Even if these are problems--and it sounds like you saw more of him
than I did--I'm confident that they're the kinds of things that can be
corrected by instructors like Luis Alicea and teammates like Alex
Cora. Most converted shortstops turn into good defensive second
basemen, because even though some angles and the pivot take time to
learn, the overall skill set is very adaptable to the position.
Pedroia reminds me a bit of Jody Reed, who was basically an average
shortstop but became a really good second baseman.
For what it's worth--maybe not much--Pedroia's minor league defensive
stats are quite good at 2B and pretty good at SS. A recent
sabermetric study by a guy named Jeff Sackmann at
minorleaguesplits.com credited Pedroia as making 9 more plays than an
average 2B last season at Pawtucket--a rate of +43 per 150 games.
His major league numbers are also very good.
Pedroia was also +5 at shortstop (+9 per 150 games). These numbers
are just one metric and can't be taken as gospel, but they are at the
very least encouraging. (They also rank Jacoby Ellsbury as the best
defensive CF in all of the minors, claiming he made 44 more plays than
an average defender--and a staggering +65 per 150 games.)
These numbers are meant to represent "plays" and not "runs saved,"
like UZR, though I guess the statheads are trying to figure out how to
convert the numbers.