Big Little Men

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If your team has been surging forward lately, it's likely that you have one of two men on your roster - Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia.

Add their two heights together and they are barely taller than Toronto reliever Jon Rauch, but their value on the field and to fantasy owners is huge.

The 5'9" Pedroia is hotter than the weather this month, batting .385 with six homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored and an OPS of 1.184. For the season, which started out slowly, Pedroia leads the league in at-bats, has his average up to .293 with 13 home runs and 50 RBI and 18 stolen bases. His current OPS of 0.860 is similar to that in his 2008 AL MVP season when he posted an OPS of 0.869.

Batting in front of Pedroia is the other half of the Boston Red Sox's dynamic duo, Ellsbury.

Ellsbury is having his best season since becoming a full-time center fielder in 2008. He's batting .316 with a career-high 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 28 stolen bases. In 15 July games, Ellsbury has batted .394 with six homers, 14 RBI, 15 runs scored and an OPS of 1.234.

It's no wonder the Red Sox have suddenly become the offensive juggernaut everyone thought they would be before the season began. Boston averaged 5.063 runs-per-game through the end of June, but behind the impressive performances of its No.1 and No.2 hitters is averaging 7.125 runs-per-game in July.

The two leadoff hitters in Boston aren't the only "little" guys getting it done.

In Philadelphia, 5'8" Jimmy Rollins has been resurgent since the All-Star break after many fantasy owners had written him off for the season. "J-Roll" is batting .393 in the six games since the "Summer Classic" with three home runs, six RBI and an OPS of 1.143.

New York Yankees' speedster Brett Gardner is also playing at a fantasy-worthy level - not just contributing to your stolen base category at the expense of all others. After batting an ugly .188 in April, the Yankees' outfielder batted .301 in May, .317 in June and .356 in July. Besides leading the league in steals (30), he's posted an OPS of 0.860 for two consecutive months. Gardner is still available as a free agent pickup in one out of every five leagues.

And in Pittsburgh, the 5'9" rookie Alex Presley, who was called up on June 28th, is batting .351 with an OPS of 0.933 as the Pirates' new leadoff man. The team is 12-7 with him in the lineup and it looks like he's going to stay there for the rest of the season. He's owned in only about 10 percent of all leagues.

Selected July Batting Statistics
Jacoby Ellsbury 74 15 26 6 14 3 0.394 0.788 1.234
Dustin Pedroia 70 17 27 6 15 3 0.386 0.729 1.184
Jimmy Rollins 68 14 26 4 11 3 0.382 0.603 1.028
Alex Presley 66 10 24 0 5 3 0.364 0.485


Brett Gardner 59 7 21 0 1 11 0.356 0.441 0.865

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