Fantasy Baseball: Dustin Pedroia vs. Brandon Phillips

by Tim Heaney and Cory J. Bonini on March 11, 2010 @ 18:00:00 PDT


Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston Red Sox

Tim Heaney

Pedroia's fantasy baseball player profile

    Boston Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia
    Pedroia has room to grow ...
  • Pedroia controls the strike zone like few other hitters. His batting eye ratios in the last three seasons: 1.12, 0.96 and a whopping 1.64 last year, which ranked him behind only Albert Pujols. Phillips, meanwhile, set a career high in his batting eye last season ... with 0.59. Though Brandon Phillips' clip usually rests around decent levels, his shakier plate judgment makes him more prone to slumps.
  • Pedroia's stolen base attempt percentage has grown significantly in each of the last two campaigns. His top-notch ability to reach first should nurture his swipe opps.
  • Fantasy players often devalue the runs scored category. Pedroia has crossed the plate 115-plus times in each of the last two seasons. Batting ahead of a deep, dangerous lineup will help sustain that. Phillips has topped 80 runs just once since the '06 season started.
  • Pedroia's power hasn't reached Phillips' levels yet, and any growth might take some of his patience and batting average away (like it did after August). However, he moved his flyball rate upward in '09. Fenway Park usually suppresses dingers, but Pedroia hit more homers at home than on the road last season. Potential is there for Pedroia to come closer to Phillips' HR output.
  • The BoSox tried Pedroia in the leadoff spot last year; he hit .214 in those 24 games, knocking his season stats down a bit. Pedroia hit .311 in the two-hole. His BABIP is due for a recovery, especially since that leadoff-induced slump hurt his hit rate.
Closing argument: I'd be happy to have either of these stable, elite keystoners playing for my fake club. If I'm uneasy with my early power, I'd probably lean Phillips. However, Pedroia is trending toward top-flight five-category production and offers a high-class foundation in runs and batting average. Few fantasy assets are as stable in those two cats after first-round candidates are off the board, which gives him my approval in most cases.

Brandon Phillips, 2B, Cincinnati Reds

Cory J. Bonini

Phillips' fantasy baseball player profile

  • Cincinnati Reds 2B Brandon Phillips
    ... but Phillips is already there
    While Phillips' stolen base totals don't really trump Dustin Pedroia in the grand scheme of things, the eight-year Reds veteran has been more consistently stealing bags for a longer period of time (four straight years of at least 23 swipes). Pedroia's second half last year wasn't exactly littered with thievery.
  • It's not that Pedroia is incapable of slugging 20 homers, it's just that he hasn't yet. Phillips, on the other hand, dependably provides the 20-20 season that is difficult to find at the position.
  • Phillips has a more power-friendly home in Great American Ball Park than Pedroia does. Furthermore, Phillips' decline in power and flyballs the past two seasons after a career-best 30 dingers in 2007 can probably be attributed to injuries. Just last year, he played through a fractured wrist and several hand dings.
  • Expected to hit fourth, Phillips has averaged 90 RBIs the past three seasons (88 the past two), whereas Pedroia hasn't knocked in more than 83 in any one season of his young career (averaged 77.5 over the last two years).
  • Pedroia's power shows signs of growing, but any growth in homers would likely take away part of his elite batting average, thereby diminishing Pedroia's biggest advantage.
Closing argument: It really comes down to how you prefer to build your team when you decide between Pedroia and Phillips. I chose the latter because I like to base my offense on consistent counting stats. The deciding factors to me are Phillips' ability to play through pain and his more extensive history of producing at a high level. You may be thinking it's unfair to hold Pedroia's youth against him, but Phillips has twice as many years of strong production.

KFFL staff verdict

Analyst Dustin Pedroia Brandon Phillips
Nicholas Minnix   X
Tim Heaney X  
Bryce McRae X  
Cory J. Bonini   X
Keith Hernandez   X

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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 the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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