Pedroia to SS?

Here’s an interesting twist to the Red Sox off-season; Peter Gammons reports that they have asked Dustin Pedroia whether he would be willing to move to shortstop next year, and he told Gammons that he’s all for it. Shifting Pedroia to the left side of the infield would allow Boston to pursue a second baseman, which are plentiful this off-season, rather than being forced to meet Marco Scutaro’s demands to land the only decent shortstop on the market.

Could Pedroia play shortstop effectively? It seems likely.

His career UZR/150 at second base is +7.4, and the observed effect of players shifting between the two middle infield positions is between 5 to 10 runs. Pedroia’s UZR would suggest that he would be something like an average defensive shortstop.

The fan’s scouting report offers a similar picture. Pedroia graded out as the fifth best second baseman in the game, coming in above average in every single category. Often times, arm strength is a reason a shortstop is moved to second base, but the fan’s think his arm is just fine.

Experience wouldn’t be a problem, either. He played shortstop in college at Arizona State, then played an additional 132 games at the position in the minor leagues. He actually played more SS than 2B in the minors. While he hasn’t played the position in three years, he wouldn’t be learning a new position – he’s spent most of his life playing shortstop, and the reactions would come naturally.

Ironically, Scutaro himself may be providing the necessary optimism for why this move could work. He was primarily a second baseman early in his career, but was shifted to play mostly shortstop in 2005 at the age of 30, and has held his own at the position since. Alexei Ramirez also made the transition across the bag last year with success, so this isn’t a move without some precedent.

This move won’t make Pedroia significantly more valauble, as what he adds in offensive scarcity compared to the average shortstop, he’ll probably give back with the glove, but it would give the Red Sox significantly more flexibility this winter. Rather than having to pay for Scutaro, they could set their sights on a second baseman such as Orlando Hudson, Placido Polanco, or Felipe Lopez.

It sounds like it is still in the conversation stages, but it is an idea with merit, and the Red Sox should strongly consider going forward with Pedroia as their starting shortstop.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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JoeR43
Member
JoeR43

Also a slight litmus test of how tough playing 2B actually is.
Most everyone thinks Pedroia is a top 5 defensive 2B, we may find out what that means in terms of shortstops.

Tom B
Guest
Tom B

i don’t see how this is going to work he was moved from SS to 2b because he can’t make the throw in the 3b hole.

JoeR43
Member
JoeR43

Neither can Jeter, he did ok for himself.

CH
Guest
CH

Francona described Pedroia’s throwing style from SS as “tossing grenades.”

Maybe he was just joking, but it doesn’t inspire confidence.

Steve
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Steve

I read this at first as “Francessa” and I wondered why anyone cared…

CH
Guest
CH

If anyone cites Francessa as a legit source, ban the IP address immediately.

Boxkutter
Guest
Boxkutter

Actually he was moved from SS to 2B in the minors because the BoSox had Hanley Ramirez playing SS in their minors at the time.