When Jacoby Ellsbury left the Boston Red Sox, he took with him an extremely important piece of the Red Sox puzzle. The leadoff spot hasn’t been the subject of debate for quite some time in Boston, because of the fact that Ellsbury had that spot locked down. A speedy, contact hitter who could set the table during a game. However, once Ellsbury signed with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox had to fill such an important role on the team.
Dustin Pedroia wasn’t one of the first players to come to mind to fill that lead off spot. Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava or even Grady Sizemore were the more likely candidates to take the job. Early season struggles from Nava and Sizemore put those ideas to rest. Victorino being sent to the DL really brought this problem to the forefront. So the Red Sox went with plan D, Dustin Pedroia (plan D for Dustin not intended.)
Since moving to the leadoff spot, Pedroia has had 78 at bats while notching 22 hits, seven doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs. Throw in two stolen bases and you got yourself a poor man’s version of Ellsbury. Pedroia is doing exactly what is expected of a leadoff hitter, which is getting on base. His .385 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter is just another testament to show that Pedroia can truly hit anywhere in the Red Sox lineup.
One stat that really sticks out to me are the walks. While batting second, Pedroia walked three times in 70 at bats. As a leadoff hitter, in 78 at bats, those walks jumped to 13. With the Red Sox struggling to hit with men on base, it’s so critical for Pedroia to be getting on base as much as possible. It’s such a relief to see that he can handle this job and handle it well. The Red Sox now have one less position to worry about and consider making a trade for.
So while the Red Sox may miss Ellsbury as their reliable leadoff hitter, Pedroia is doing the perfect job to make that thought a thing of the past.