Fantasy Baseball: Alex Rodriguez vs. Chase Utley

by Tim Heaney and Nicholas Minnix on February 25, 2010 @ 03:25:46 PDT

 


Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees

Tim Heaney

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 June.
  • 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.

Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

Nicholas Minnix

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.
  • Philadelphia Phillies 2B Chase Utley
    Five-category stud in peak form
    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.
  • 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.
Closing argument: 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

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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, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.


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