These are my 2012 player projections. I’ll be unveiling my entire list of MLB player projections soon over at FantasyBaseball365.com.
2011 stats: .307/.387/.474, 21 HR, 26 SB, 102 R, 91 RBI
2011 projection: .300/.377/.477, 15 HR, 21 SB, 112 R, 76 RBI
2012 Projection: .304/.380/.475, 19 HR, 24 SB, 106 R, 88 RBI
Before last season, Pedroia was coming off of a major foot injury and some of his numbers from 2010, specifically his high home run rate, had come into question. Despite those question marks, I posed the question “Is Pedroia Headed for a Career Year?”. Sure enough, Pedey exceeded just about everyone’s expectations and posted career highs in OBP, home runs, stolen bases and RBI.
Now the question becomes: Was that Pedroia’s career year, or is the best yet to come?
It’s a tough question to answer. Pedey’s age suggests that he is still in his prime and he certainly has the lineup around him to at least have an opportunity to once again produce outstanding run and RBI numbers. However, trying to predict those counting stats is a daunting task. Lineup cunstruction changes throughout the course of the year and in order to have the opportunity to score and drive in runs, one has to rely on the performance of those players hitting around them. At least we now have two consecutive seasons in which Pedroia has sustained an 11.4 percent HR/FB rate. I questioned whether the spike in that rate in 2010 was sustainable – his career HR/FB rate was aroudn 7 percent at the time and spiked to 11.4 in an in jury shortened season — and since Pedroia hadn’t hit more than 17 home runs in any given season, I projected only 15 for 2011. I did, however, suggest in an article for ESPN’s Sweet Spot that due to the way Pedroia was learning to play to his strengths at Fenway Park, I wouldn’t be surprised by a 20/20 season. Those trends clearly continued — Pedey hit 13 of his 21 dingers at home and slugged .525 at home compared to .423 on the road — so there is definitely reason to believe that Pedroia’s power production will hold somewhat steady.
When it comes down to it, Dustin Pedroia is a very safe player to project. Given his age and assuming that he can stay relatively healthy, he should keep plugging along at the near MVP level of play for the 2012 season.