Best Heavy Hitter

Dustin Pedroia
Woodland’s Dustin Pedroia made the “Who’s Hot” section of The Sacramento Bee sports pages so many times this year that even his fans lost count—and here’s why: In just two years with the Boston Red Sox, he’s risen to the top as one of the best hitters in baseball. Last year, Pedroia set a major league record for the highest batting average by a rookie second baseman, helping him to win American League Rookie of the Year honors. He also was the second player in baseball history to lead off the World Series with a home run. This year, the 25-year-old 2008 All-Star kept the momentum going with the second highest batting average in the league. And all this from a guy who once was dismissed as being too small (5 feet 9 inches) to make the majors.