You think the shortstop carousel we’ve had since 2004 is frustrating? What about second base? Since 1992, only Scott Fletcher (2) and Jose Offerman (3) have been considered full-time Red Sox second basemen that served more than one year in said capacity.

To suddenly end the decade with Dustin Pedroia manning the position for three years and having already captured a Rookie of the Year award, Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, MVP and World Series ring, then… well, it kind of makes it a no-brainer that Dustin Pedroia is our All Aughts Team of the Decade second baseman.

Pedroia was selected in the second round with Boston’s first pick of the 2004 draft out of Arizona State University, having won the Golden Spikes award. The MLB scouting report at the time said he “plays well above tools,” and is an “headsy baseball rat with plus instincts.” Sounds like Pedroia to me.

Royals vs. Red Sox

The reason Pedroia dropped in draft charts and no one projected him to contribute at the big league level is because of his height and his lack of projectability — or upside. While Boston was high on Pedroia from the start and thought he could contribute at the major league level, I’m doubtful they saw the heights Pedroia would ascend, and quickly.

After an apprenticeship in the minors, Pedroia arrived as a doughy-faced green ballplayer in 2006, hitting for a .561 OPS in 89 at-bats. There were reports that many around the game felt vindicated with this poor start. As if one month of a rookie should be indicative of anything.

Those fears seemed to be doubly justified on the day of May 3, 2007 as Pedroia struggled to a .172/.294/.224 line in full-time duty, raising thoughts that Alex Cora should take over at second base. Nope, Terry Francona stuck with him. A .336/.391/.471 remainder of the year netted him Rookie of the Year honors as the BoSox went on to win the World Series. People were singing his praises left and right.

2008 was even better. Pedroia cranked 213 hits and 54 doubles en route to winning the MVP. He then signed a six year, $40.5 million contract that will keep him with Boston through 2014.

This is where “lack of upside” factors in, I think: Pedroia is Pedroia. He has had similar skills since day one, so while his MVP season is likely his high-water mark, he should end up a remarkably consistent ballplayer over the next several years without fear of drop-off. I also think he won’t drop off as severely as players tend to do — he’ll age well. I say this because of his advanced plate discipline and not having to rely on power to bolster his game.

With his tremendous hand/eye coordination and peripheral vision, he has the talent to stay in the game a long time. He’ll probably dip to fringe All-Star status as he advances into his 30s (.750 OPS-ish) but I see him as a starter deep into his career, although likely with a David Eckstein-ish ending.

But this is a look back, not a look forward.

2009 was a bit of an off-year for him as he sank to a .296 batting average. On the plus side, he really advanced his plate discipline to a rate stat 10.6 percent, a fantastic jump. For a comparison, here are his percents for 2006, 7 and 8: 7.3, 8.3, 7.1.

As you can see, his patience actually dropped during his MVP year, and it was a concern of mine. He’s erased that concern and posted a fantastic K/BB ratio of 74/45. Pedroia is likely more of a .300 hitter than the .320s he was over the last two years, but couple that with 15 home runs, 20 stolen bases, well over 100 runs scored and gap power and you have a human dynamo that should be a centerpiece for Boston for years to come.

Much like we will start the new decade with no consistent answer at shortstop, we started the millennium with a rotating cast of castoffs and miscast starters. Jose Offerman was supposed to lead us to the promised land. Instead, he became Jose Awfulman who later incited a brawl with bat in hand.

Now, what Boston has is it’s own Derek Jeter, for all intents and purposes. Immediate success, similar game… the only difference is Jeter being paid out the nose and overrated defensively for his prime years. (Funnily enough, Jeter is actually a solid defender at short now.)

I gotta tell you, it feels good to have scrappy Dustin Pedroia manning second for years to come. In fact, don’t be surprised if he makes the Teens Team of the Decade either.

Players who played second base for the Red Sox from 2000-9, sorted by last name: Manny Alexander, Carlos Baerga, Mark Bellhorn, Alex Cora, Cesar Crespo, Jeff Frye, Tony Graffanino, Nick Green, Ricky Gutierrez, Willie Harris, Damian Jackson, Mike Lansing, Jed Lowrie, Alejandro Machado, Lou Merloni, Doug Mientkiewicz, Bill Mueller, Bry Nelson, Jose Offerman, Pokey Reese, Donnie Sadler, Freddy Sanchez, Rey Sanchez, Angel Santos, Chris Stynes, Ramon Vazquels, Gil Velazquez, Todd Walker, Chris Woodward, Kevin Youkilis