RED SOX G.M. TheoEpstein isn't asking for much from rookie Dustin Pedroia. "Just to hitninth, make the adjustment to big league pitching, make all the routine playsat second base." Epstein suspects, however, that he just might get more."We think with those relatively modest expectations that he might sneak upon people."
The 5'9",170-pound Pedroia is often compared with the similarly diminutive DavidEckstein, but Pedroia, 23, possesses more power than the Cardinals' shortstop.Baseball Prospectus's PECOTA system projects him to hit 33 doubles in 2007;Eckstein's career high is 26. Pedroia's pop, combined with his selectivity (a.396 OBP in three minor league seasons) and ability to make contact (one K per16 plate appearances), could immediately make him one of the AL's top nine-holehitters. And the 20 pounds of pudge he shed through rigorous off-seasonworkouts should allow the former shortstop to expand his range, which isalready above average. "I'm just trying to get on base and score runs, andto make an out [on defense]," says Pedroia.