Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia is set to return to the Boston Red Sox early in the 2019 season. The former MVP was out of commission for most of the 2018 season recovering from consistent knee problems. Even though the Red Sox are confident in Pedroia’s return, who could take his place if his knee issues return in the future?
One option for second base is Tony Renda. Renda is best known for scoring the winning run in extra innings against the New York Yankees to complete a four-game Red Sox sweep in August 2018. Renda spent 68 games with the Red Sox Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, batting .318/.373/.453.
While Renda doesn’t have much power, he has speed on the bases. Renda has not had a single year in the minors in which he stole less than 10 bases, his single-season record being 30.
Even though Renda has shown he can hit and he can steal, troubles come with his fielding. Throughout his seven seasons in the minors, Renda has a .966 fielding percentage at second base. As one of the team’s non-roster invitees to spring training Renda has a chance to show the Red Sox if he is capable of being a starting second baseman or not.
Marco Hernandez has been recovering from a shoulder injury since mid-2017 but was activated from the disabled list in November. While Hernandez has only spent 61 games in the Majors, he has hit .284/.328/.349. Like Renda, Hernandez lacks power but was once a good baserunner.
However, unlike Renda, Hernandez has seemingly lost his ability to steal bases, stealing only nine bases in the minors since 2015. Hernandez is a decent second baseman, with a .974 fielding percentage over four years in the minors.
Brett Netzer was drafted in 2017 but has already made his way to High-A-Ball. Throughout each level of A-Ball Netzer has hit .275/.322/.354 with only two home runs. Netzer is also a decent fielder, with a .972 fielding percentage. Netzer likely isn’t the next star second baseman, but he could be a decent addition to the team at some point.
Jarren Duran was only drafted in 2018, but he has crushed his first year of professional baseball. Duran played 67 games in A-Ball and Low-A-Ball and hit an astounding .357/.394/.516 while hitting three home runs and driving in 35 runs. Duran follows the trend of second base depth with his low power but great ability to run. In 2018 he stole 24 bases and hit 11 triples.
Duran was a second baseman throughout college but was transitioned into a full-time right fielder with the Greenville Drive. While this may only be Duran’s first season playing professional baseball, if he continues to perform with such skill in higher levels, he could potentially be the next star player for the Red Sox.