Longtime Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia announced his retirement Monday. The former MVP and four-time All-Star built himself quite the resume, though his body didn't full cooperate as he was only able to appear in three games in 2018, six in 2019 and zero in 2020.
Though he only managed eight seasons with at least 135 games, Pedroia did build himself a ledger worthy of Hall of Fame discussion, so let's take a look.
With just 1,512 games, he's bound to be light in the counting stats. He had 1,805 hits, 394 doubles, 140 home runs, 725 RBI, 922 runs and 138 steals. By Hall of Fame standards, those are all short.
On a rate basis, Pedroia hit .299/.365/.439, good for a 113 OPS+ while averaging 193 hits, 42 doubles, 15 homers and 15 steals per 162 games in his career. An excellent defender at an up-the-middle position, Pedroia produced six seasons with 5-plus WAR, including 8.0 in 2011 and 6.9 in his 2008 MVP season. We shouldn't overlook the contact aspect of his game in this day and age, either, as Pedroia never struck out more than 85 times in a season and walked more than he struck out a few times. In all, he only struck out 654 times in 6,777 plate appearances, an average of just 70 per 162 games.
Pedroia led the league in runs twice, hits once and doubles once. Most of that action came in 2008, when he led in runs, hits and doubles while hitting .326/.376/.493 and winning MVP honors.
A regular on two Red Sox World Series championship teams (he has three rings but was injured for the 2018 title run), Pedroia racked up 48 postseason hits, including 14 doubles and five home runs. He hit .345 in the 2007 ALCS and .346 the following year's ALCS.
In addition to the MVP and Rookie of the Year, Pedroia has four Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and won the 2013 overall defensive player of the year from Wilson.
In JAWS, Pedroia sits 20th among second basemen. He's one spot ahead of Jeff Kent, who just got 32.4 percent of the Hall of Fame vote last week. He's also ahead of Hall of Famers Bobby Doerr, Nellie Fox, Bid McPhee, Johnny Evers and Tony Lazzeri. On the other hand, the average Hall of Fame second baseman is well ahead of Pedroia and he trails the likes of Ian Kinsler, Willie Randolph and Lou Whitaker.
The most statistically similar players, per Baseball-Reference, to Pedroia are Howie Kendrick, Jose Vidro, Joe Mauer, Edgardo Alfonso and Daniel Murphy.
Basically, every arrow here points toward a very good player we were all lucky to have witnessed and someone who will be forever beloved by a fan base, but one that falls short of the Hall of Fame standard. Injuries cost him big gains in the counting stats and he only finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three times.
At times I find myself saying that it's not an insult to a player to say he's not a Hall of Famer. It seems ridiculous to need to say such a thing, but it bears reiteration here: Dustin Pedroia was a great player for a long time. He falls short of the Hall of Fame standard, but that's not an intended insult. Being a Hall of Famer is a high bar to clear. Pedroia didn't clear it, even if he had a better career than the overwhelming majority of baseball players.