2013 Red Sox community projections: Dustin Pedroia

USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Red Sox. Is he still one of their best players?

As was the case with so many other Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia did not have the best time in 2012. An injury-marred season (in which he still somehow played 141 games) saw the second baseman put up the worst offensive performance of his career, coming in with a .344 wOBA--well below his typical average.

Is it the beginning of the end? Is the Muddy Chicken cooked? Are there any laser shows left in him? In order: no, no, and of course. Pedroia's troubles are easily chalked up to the hyperextended thumb he played with. Pedroia had maintained a .800 OPS up through May 28, when the injury occured, hit .210/.282/.305 in an ill-advised but admirable attempt to play through the pain, and then hit .318/.372/.508 after finally doing his time on the disabled list.

If there's a knock against Pedroia, it's that he plays in such a way that he's more prone to picking up injuries than others, and his stubborn nature keeps him off the disabled list even when he really should be recuperating. It's part of what we love about him, but has a negative impact on his productivity none-the-less.

Can he dodge those injuries in 2013? If so, we might be looking at the MVP-level performances of 2008 and 2011 all over again. We can only hope.

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