During a five-year period from 2005 to 2009, Chase Utley was one of the most valuable assets in fantasy baseball, averaging 151 games, 111 runs, 29 HRs, 101 RBI, 15 steals and a .301 batting average per season – as a second baseman.
A thumb injury which required surgery forced him to miss seven weeks last season, ending his five-year streak of awesomeness. Although Utley did return in time to post an impressive September line, Utley’s time as the top fantasy second baseman has likely ended.
This isn’t to say Utley isn’t still capable of 25 HRs, 15 steals and a .290 average. Rather, Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia have finally caught up to Utley as they both enter their prime years. Utley, on the other hand, is now 32 years old…
Before breaking his foot last June, Dustin Pedroia was on pace for a career season: 110 runs, 25 HRs, 85 RBI, 19 steals and a .288 batting average. When recently asked if his foot was fully recovered, Pedroia replied, “Does a bear shit in the woods?”
I guess that means he’s good to go.
Given a full season as Boston’s likely No. 3 hitter behind Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford and in front of Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, Pedroia is poised for a monster season…
Over the past few weeks, we’ve announced the top-20 players on our 2011 big board. To help keep these rankings easy to find, we’re recapping the 11-20 group in one short post….
Kevin Youkilis’ current ADP on Mock Draft Central is 30.89, nearly 11 spots below where we believe he belongs. The thing fantasy managers may be forgetting is that Youkilis will re-gain third base eligibility this season, which is a huge deal considering the lack of depth at the hot corner.
A few things to consider: Youkilis has a better three-year batting average than David Wright, Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Zimmerman. In fact, his three-year averages across the board top that of the favored Zimmerman, despite the fact that Youkilis has missed a total of 103 games over the last three seasons.
Still not convinced?
The Toronto Blue Jays were finally able to find a taker for Vernon Wells’ hefty contract, dealing him to the Angels last Friday in exchange for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. (Click here for fantasy perspective on Vernon Wells in Anaheim.)
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays flipped Napoli to the Rangers for relief pitcher Frank Francisco. (Click here for fantasy perspective on Mike Napoli in Texas.)
Francisco (the guy formerly known for throwing a chair into the stands) will join the recently acquired Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch in a battle this spring to determine the team’s closer for the 2011 season.
Of course nothing will be decided until March, but it’s never to early too speculate…