Pedroia, 24, is the reigning American League Rookie of the Year. But while the criticism of him has almost completely faded, Pedroia remains a symbol of the divide between the scouting and statistical communities — a divide that can be as bitterly partisan as the Republican-Democrat split that is apparent even in Congressional hearings about steroids.
The political knuckleheads might never come around, but baseball people need not follow. The rise of Pedroia only reinforces that player evaluation is an imperfect science. Scouts miss, analysts miss, writers miss and even the best general managers miss, too. That’s what happens when you judge human beings.
“I think all that’s funny,” Pedroia says, referring to the scouts’ criticisms. “Those people don’t play anymore. They just try to evaluate. Whatever they say, that’s fine. They can have their opinion. If they win a World Series, good for them. But guess what? I already have.”
..."That’s what baseball is — performance,” Pedroia says. “Call it ‘Moneyball’ or whatever. I just call it playing baseball. When that book came out, they started drafting guys who can play, like Youk. Youk was a big focus in that book. Look at him. He’s a great baseball player. He doesn’t have the body of this guy or that guy. But he gets it done.
“Scouts are going to say whatever: ‘I like the guy who looks good in a uniform, hits home runs in batting practice, runs fast.’ But when 7 o’clock hits, what’s he going to do then? That’s what matters. Nothing else matters but that.”
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