Rodriguez's fantasy baseball player profile
- First-round power stability: Before his injury-shortened '09, A-Rod clubbed
at least 35 homers in every season since 1997. He still smacked 30 last year
in only 444 at-bats. A-Rod reaches that plateau in his sleep.
- Hip surgery last year probably held down his stolen base count; a healthy
A-Rod should attempt more this year, especially with how frequently he takes
a base on balls. He picked up the pace last year, too, swiping 12 bags after
- Selecting Rodriguez helps you avoid picking a less reliable commodity in
a shaky third base class, which has more mid- and late-round vulnerabilities
than the second base group.
- Yes, Player B also plays in a homer-friendly park, but Rodriguez's ridiculous
digs should offset his gradually regressing flyball rate. His HR/FB percentage
parks above 20 anyway; Chase Utley hasn't reached
that level yet.
- Many say A-Rod has helped Mark Teixeira,
but you can't ignore the reverse impact. Rodriguez doesn't have to carry New
York on his own. Having a full season with Teix batting ahead of him and having
exorcised his postseason demons should help A-Rod's sometimes fragile psyche.
Closing argument: Both choices fill a scarce position with an elite commodity,
but with improved health increasing the chance for stolen bases, A-Rod will challenge
for the overall No. 1 fantasy crown, even without Kate Hudson. Don't get cute
here. A-Rod is a stable stud.
Utley's fantasy baseball player profile
- There isn't a more dependable five-cat contributor at the spot. Utley approaches
Alex Rodriguez's line, and second has less
depth, regardless of trends. Danger here is virtually zero. Third base is
becoming shallower, but A-Rod carries risk - in the first round. You can find
values at the hot corner just as easily as you can at second base.
No one plays - or works - harder. Utley trained for two months with his new
guide to increase speed and athleticism, noticeably. Hip problems are in the
past. That plus the offseason regimen and a couple of extra days off expected
ensure that Utley, 31, won't wear down or be hobbled.
Five-category stud in peak form
- A-Rod, on the other hand, was worried that his career might be over when
he underwent hip surgery last winter. He was supposed to have another procedure
performed after 2009. Now, Rodriguez, 34 (35 in July) will not need it - for
the foreseeable future. Are you clairvoyant?
- Utley's flyball rate spiked and shows no signs of dipping below 40 percent
- pretty pairing with Citizens Bank Park's short porch in right. The righty
Rodriguez can't take advantage of Yankee Stadium's similar trait as often,
and his HR/FB rate has already slipped.
- Utley's speed rating, unlike A-Rod's, has been rising. The All-Star keystone
man is rarely caught (88 percent lifetime success rate, 100 percent in 2009).
He may be even faster this season.
: Forget the defense's argument; there's still a difference
between second and third RE: the classification of "shallow." A lock for something
around .290-30-100 with 20 steals and 110 runs at the keystone is the definition
of stability. A-Rod's mental state longs for such notoriety.
KFFL staff verdict
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
Don't miss these great reports....