Pedroia's glovework saves game

It took 14 innings for the Boston Red Sox to outlast the Tampa Bay Rays, something that would not have happened without the defense of second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Pedroia made two huge plays in key spots -- a catch on a popup and a snag of a bunt-hit attempt -- to preserve the tie game.

Pedroia picked up another Web Gem from "Baseball Tonight," giving him five this season. That’s second-most among second basemen behind Brandon Phillips, who has seven.

Pedroia’s Plays

Pedroia entered Monday with eight "defensive runs saved" (DRS) -- the most in the majors among second basemen (for an explanation of the stat, click here).

Pedroia’s 37 DRS dating back to the start of the 2011 season also rank most among second basemen. In fact, only three players have more than that at any position in that span -- Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan (50), Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (47) and Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (39).

Most Defensive Runs Saved
2nd Basemen (Last 3 Seasons)

What makes Pedroia so good is that he maximizes great plays while minimizing his mistakes.

Baseball Info Solutions does video tracking, crediting fielders for more than 30 categories of good fielding plays (think Web Gem nominees) and penalizing them for more than 50 categories of defensive misplays & errors.

Pedroia’s ratio of good plays to misplays & errors is 40 to 6 (he’s yet to make an error this season). By comparison, three of the game’s best defensive second basemen -- Barney, Phillips and Robinson Cano -- all have ratios of about 3-to-1. In other words: about half of Pedroia’s ratio.

Pedroia’s defensive value is integral to what he brings to the game. And he’s recognized for it. Entering Monday, Pedroia was worth 3.7 WAR (wins above replacement) this season, edging out Miguel Cabrera for the highest among position players in the American League.