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Dustin Pedroia
Ben Reiter
March 26, 2007
THE LITTLE BIG MAN
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March 26, 2007

Dustin Pedroia

THE LITTLE BIG MAN

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RED SOX G.M. Theo Epstein isn't asking for much from rookie Dustin Pedroia. "Just to hit ninth, make the adjustment to big league pitching, make all the routine plays at second base." Epstein suspects, however, that he just might get more. "We think with those relatively modest expectations that he might sneak up on people."

The 5'9", 170-pound Pedroia is often compared with the similarly diminutive David Eckstein, but Pedroia, 23, possesses more power than the Cardinals' shortstop. Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA system projects him to hit 33 doubles in 2007; Eckstein's career high is 26. Pedroia's pop, combined with his selectivity (a .396 OBP in three minor league seasons) and ability to make contact (one K per 16 plate appearances), could immediately make him one of the AL's top nine-hole hitters. And the 20 pounds of pudge he shed through rigorous off-season workouts should allow the former shortstop to expand his range, which is already above average. "I'm just trying to get on base and score runs, and to make an out [on defense]," says Pedroia.

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