Instinctively, I feel Dustin Pedroia just completed one of the great seasons in Red Sox history. He won the MVP, of course, led the league in hits and runs, finished second in batting, crushed a whopping 54 doubles and posted a staggering number of extra-base hits and times on base, particularly given his light-hitting position of second base.
While the season was still ongoing, I thought we might be seeing the best season by a Red Sox second baseman ever. In the cool light of December, I’m not so sure.
My goal is to rank Pedroia in with the rest of the Top 50 seasons, assuming he belongs there. The only season by a second baseman currently represented is Bobby Doerr’s 1944, in which he posted a 165 OPS+. Since then, no Red Sox second baseman has even topped 135. I’m inclined to discount that season a bit because of the inferior wartime competition, but it’s worth noting Pedroia’s OPS+ this year was just 123. Now, OPS+ isn’t everything, but it was a general tool I used for ranking the Top 50, and even accounting for the war, that’s a huge gap. Pedroia actually ends up sixth on the list of Sox second basemen in OPS+ since Doerr’s big season. Doerr holds three of those spots, Mike Andrews holds one and John Valentin holds the fifth.
Did Dustin Pedroia have a better season in 2008 than Valentin in 1997 or Mike Andrews in 1969? I think so. But does that still qualify him for ranking in the Top 50, where the bottom two offensive season were Wade Boggs in 1988 and David Ortiz in 2007 (which is almost certainly too low)?
How about you decide. Below is the list of the Top 50, as I ranked them last offseason. I’m interested not only in where Pedroia fits on that list — if he fits at all — but if there are any other changes you would make.