2019 Steamer Projection: 518 PA, .272/.344/.390, .321 wOBA, -1.5 Batting Runs, -1.8 Baserunning Runs, 4.0 Fielding Runs, 2.0 WAR
Going into his age 35 season, it remains to be seen what Pedroia has left in the tank after missing most of 2017. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that his batting line will be close to the Steamer projection, but many Sox fans will take the over if he’s healthy. Also, depending on his knee’s health, he could provide even more value on defense and hopefully, even be a positive on the basepaths.
He’s earning $15 million in 2019, so if he’s just a 2 win player, he’s earned it. He earns $13 million in 2020 and $12 million in 2021. It’s not like Pedroia is an albatross, but it would be really nice to see him finish his career as at least a league-average regular before bowing out after 2021.
2019 Steamer Projection: 105 PA .260/.340/.375, .315 wOBA, -0.80 batting runs, .1 baserunning runs, -0.2 fielding runs, 0.3 WAR
As a super-utility player is meant to do, Holt kept the Red Sox at least respectable at second base in 2018. He was actually 6th in position player WAR for the 2018 Red Sox. One of the best utility men in baseball in 2014 and 2015, he was mediocre in 2016 and terrible in 2017. Only 30 years of age, Holt is very likely to match his projection, and possibly beat it in overall value if he racks up the plate appearances. Struggles from Rafael Devers at third could mean more time for Holt, as well. He was worth 1.4 WAR in 2018, and it’s not impossible for him to be worth that again - although hopefully the majority of that value is distributed among other positions, too.
2019 Steamer Projection: 63 PA .284/.318/.424, .319 wOBA, -0.3 batting runs, -0.1 baserunning runs, -0.2 fielding runs, 0.2 WAR
Nunez was a great pickup for the 2016 Sox. It wasn’t hard to see why the Red Sox signed him to a $6 million one-year deal with a $5 million player option - which Nunez picked up in late October 2018. Unsurprisingly, Nunez isn’t expected to receive many plate appearances at second base with Pedroia and Holt around. If he does have a batting line close to his career average - which is what he’s projected to do - and continues to be neutral on the bases and in the field, he’ll be easily worth his $5 million. He still serves as insurance for Pedroia, as long as he doesn’t repeat a -14 Defensive Runs Saved at second...
Tzu-Wei Lin and Marco Rodriguez are also in the second base picture, but if the team has to give them at-bats, something has gone wrong. They are depth you hope you don’t find yourself having to test. Overall, this is a group that projects for about 2.5 WAR, and the over is not hard at all to see if Pedey is actually healthy.
2019 ZiPS Insights
With the release of the 2019 ZiPS projections from Dan Szymborski, there are a few more projections to consider. The most interesting is the departing Ian Kinsler. He had a decent 2018 season overall, although he struggled badly with the bat with the Sox. He projects for .252/.317/.386 plus 8 defensive runs for 1.9 WAR over a full season. It’s unlikely they reunite with Pedroia locked up, though.
Farm hand Tony Renda projects about replacement level, as does Ivan De Jesus. Chad La Guerra and Brett Netzer aren’t looking to help at the MLB level any time soon, either. Second base is definitely a position that has little depth after Pedroia and Holt - Nunez is a stretch as we saw in 2018 at the position. Still, if Pedroia is capable, this is a position where the Sox should be fine.
Red Sox Second Basemen - Solid B