All year, both Dustin Pedroia and Martin Prado have been falling down my monthly tiered second-base rankings, to the point where I couldn’t recommend either in anything but AL/NL-only leagues or very deep mixers. Over the last few weeks, both Pedroia and Prado have put themselves back into mixed-league consideration — in the last 30 days, Pedroia was the No. 10 fantasy second baseman, with Prado at No. 15.
So who would you rather own rest-of-season? Both are aging second-sackers with steadily fading production, but both are coming off pretty good months:
- Pedroia (Last 30 days) – .325 AVG, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 17 R, 3 SB
- Prado (Last 30 days) – .253 AVG, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 12 R, 1 SB
I have consistently ranked Pedroia ahead of Prado all season, and might have continued to do so had Prado not been traded to the Yankees. Even including his slow 7-for-43 start in New York, Prado has seemed rejuvenated now that he’s moved from the basement-dwelling Diamondbacks into the playoff hunt with the Yanks:
- w/ARI (436 PA) – .270/.317/.370, 5 HR, 2 SB
- w/NYY (73 PA) – .271/.301/.486, 3 HR, 1 SB
The big problem with Arizona was that his power was completely gone — he was on his way to his first sub-.100 ISO season. For reference, his previous worst full-season isolated power mark was .125 in 2011, when he still launched 13 bombs. Since joining the Yankees, his ISO is all the way up to .214. That’s obviously not a sustainable figure for Prado, but it’s still worth noting that 37.5% of his homers, and 26.1% of his doubles, have come in the 14.3% of 2014 he’s spent with New York.
Two of Pedroia’s three stolen bases over the last month came on consecutive pitches in the 14th inning of Boston’s 5-4 loss to the Angels on August 9th. Those two steals came against Hank Conger, who doesn’t throw anyone out. On the season, Conger has thrown out just 25.4% of base-stealers after nabbing 24.2% of would-be thieves last year. Against catchers not named Hank Conger, Pedroia is still 3-for-9 in stolen-base attempts this year.
The reason I harp so much on Pedroia’s flukish two-pitch SB sample is because, in fantasy, a steal is roughly equivalent to a homer in value. If you remove those two steals against noodle-arm Conger, you’ve got a guy who’s really only helped you in two categories over the last month, just as he has all season long. That two-pitch sample threw a whole lot of noise into Pedroia’s recent fantasy production.
Furthermore, while Prado is at least showing signs of life in the power department, Pedroia has basically been Nick Punto in that area lately. Over the last two months, he’s hitting .304/.342/.370 — pretty much the definition of an empty batting average.
All year, I’ve had Pedroia above Prado. I’m far from alone in this — the guys at CBS have Pedroia an average of 11 spots higher than Prado rest-of-season, while ESPN’s Tristan Cockcroft has Pedroia as his No. 7 2B and Prado at No. 23. I’m far from a Martin Prado apologist, but doesn’t this seem a bit ridiculous?
Rest-of-season, give me Prado over Pedroia. When I first thought of this topic, I thought this would be far from a controversial opinion, but I guess it runs more against the grain than I thought it did.
Scott Strandberg started writing for Rotographs in 2013. He works in small business consultation, and he also writes A&E columns for The Norman Transcript newspaper. Scott lives in Seattle, WA.