That’s What He Said- Dustin Pedroia

In my last post, I looked at a quote from Carlos Silva, in which he attributed some of his success to the abnormally high run support he had been receiving.  I thought that was pretty cool, so I’ve decided to do this more often.  I’ll take a quote from a player, reporter, coach, or whoever and try to prove them right or wrong using statistics.  I hereby dub this group of posts “That’s What He Said” (sorry ladies, I promise there will be a “That’s What She Said” when Eri Yoshida makes it).  

And so, I bring you Dustin Pedroia.  If you follow the Red Sox closely then you’ve probably heard this before, but I think enough time has passed since he said it to evaluate appropriately: 

“David’s fine.  He’s one of our teammates.  It could have been me who hit into a double play.  It happens to everybody.  He’s had 60 at-bats.  A couple of years ago I had 60 at-bats and I was hitting .170 and everybody was ready to kill me too.  What happened?  Laser show.” 


This fantastic quote was uttered following this game on May 4th of this year.  The double play that Pedroia is referring to is the one that David Ortiz hit into in the 8th inning.  The Red Sox rallied for 4 runs that inning to win the game in spite of Ortiz, whose double play appeared to cost Boston the game at the time.  As a side note, if you are new to navigating Baseball-Reference’s box scores, if you follow the link above and scroll to the bottom you will find the play-by-play for the entire game.  
As most fans will recall, Ortiz was not the most popular member of the team just 26 days ago.  Pedroia guessed 60 at-bats, which was pretty close.  Here are Ortiz’s 2010 numbers through May 4th (scroll down to the box after the highlighted games).  Ortiz in fact had 67 at-bats, with just 10 hits, 3 home runs, 6 RBI, and a .149 batting average.  As far as Pedroia goes, a couple of years ago would have to mean 2008, right?  But in 2008, Pedroia sported a .311 batting average through 15 games and 61 at-bats en route to winning the AL MVP Award.  Maybe he meant 2009?  Not likely either, as he was hitting .286 through 15 games and 63 at-bats last year.  
Ah, so he must mean 2007, his rookie season.  Now this begins to make sense.  Through 61 at-bats and 22 games in 2007, Pedroia was hitting just .180 with 11 hits and 3 RBI.  What happened???  Pedroia finished the season hitting .317 and went on to become AL Rookie of the Year.  Also, courtesy of tauntr.com, there is significant photographic evidence that Pedroia did actually provide a laser show by the end of the year.

PedroiaLazers2.gif

I’m actually pretty surprised at how accurate Pedroia was with his own numbers here.  Sure, he said “a couple years” instead of “a few” but he was just .010 off of his actual batting average at the start of his rookie season.  But the comparison to 2010 Big Papi?  Not sure if I buy it.  I think it’s a different kind of worrying when your rookie phenom has a rough first month and when your $12.5 mil veteran DH has an even worse first month for the second consecutive season.  There is one area where Pedroia hit the nail on the head though and that is the one that most people care the most about: 2010 David Ortiz has arrived.  Ortiz enters tonight’s action with a .267 average, 10 home runs, and 28 RBI.  Since Pedroia’s quote, that’s .382 with 7 home runs and 22 RBI.  Sounds like a laser show to me.
To recap, Pedroia nailed the rebirth of Ortiz and was remarkably close on the numbers he cited as well, although I’m not sure if I buy the comparison between his 2007 season and Ortiz’s 2010.  But I’m not going to complain while Ortiz continues to hit the ball like he used to in the good old days.  
I’ve taken a few different angles now on this blog, whether it be looking at a current event’s historical significance, looking at some historical events, or this new quote idea.  Some of the other ideas I’ve had for posts are some introduction to newer statistics (such as WAR, GameScore, or UZR), some more BU baseball history, or some game previews or recaps.  Of course I don’t have time to write all of this at once, so if you feel strongly about any of these or there’s anything else you’d like me to write about then by all means let me know and I would be thrilled to do that first.  
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