The Red Sox have raced to a big lead in the American League East, and two reasons why are first baseman Kevin Youkilis and rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The pair were recent guests on the Players Talk show and discussed the transitions they've made in going from top prospects to impact players on one of the league's best teams.

Pedroia has been touted as a bright star in the Red Sox organization since being selected out of Arizona State in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Players Draft. After struggling at the plate early on this season, he rebounded in May, batting at a .415 clip en route to AL Rookie of the Month honors.

Pedroia credited hard work and perseverance for his amazing offensive turnaround.

"Big league pitching is tough," Pedroia said. "You just have to make adjustments, work hard, and do the little things to make yourself a better ballplayer. I've been doing that since I got called up and now the results are starting to show."

Youkilis's season has in many ways mirrored that of Pedroia. Hitting .280 with just two home runs on May 4, Youkilis proceeded to run off a 23-game hitting streak, over which he had 43 hits, six home runs and 21 RBIs.

The road to stardom was not easy for Youkilis, however. Since debuting for the Sox in 2004, the third-turned-first-baseman bounced between the Majors and the Minors before becoming a full-time starter last season. Youkilis says that while it was a difficult time for him, the experience was worth it.

"There was a time when I wasn't in the lineup every day and I was miserable," Youkilis said. "You have to be patient; your time will come, and when it does, you have to jump on it and give it your best."