Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: The Red Sox are hoping a healthy Pedroia can put up the type of numbers that led to an MVP season in 2008, when he batted .326 with 54 doubles and 17 homers. Since being injured in 2010, Pedroia has struggled to stay on the field and to put up 2008-like numbers. At 29, Pedroia should be in his prime and it’s time for the three-time All-Star to show he can stay healthy and productive for a full season and get back to driving the ball on a consistent basis. His aggressive style of defense at second base remains a strength provided it doesn’t contribute to further injuries.
Robinson Cano, Yankees: This could be the final season for the offensive juggernaut in New York as Cano approaches free agency in 2014. The Gold Glove Award-winning second baseman put up first-rate numbers with a .313/.379/.550 line with 33 homers and 94 RBIs in 2012, finishing in fourth place in the AL MVP vote. On the downside, the 30-year-old Cano struggled with runners in scoring position during the season and endured a record-setting 0-for-29 postseason slump last year.
The edge: Yankees. Cano is the Yankees’ best offensive player and Pedroia has yet to prove he can stay healthy and get back on an MVP track.