Known as the Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides head-to-head owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups in an attempt to help solve lineup conundrums. While reading, keep in mind matchups are subject to change due to managerial moves, unforeseen injuries and Mother Nature's influences.
LEADING OFFAlex Gordon(notes), it's time to swap the Burger King crown for a jeweled diadem.
In his very brief three-year career, the once cherished rookie has generated more excitement in the sportscard than fantasy industry. Anyone who challenges Billy Ripken for the title of "Greatest Mistake on Crease-able Cardboard" deserves recognition.
But for virtual owners allured by the riskiness of unproven prospects, Gordon has been the ultimate Royal pain.
Back in 2006, the Nebraska product's arousing skill set drove manager libidos wild. As a member of the Wichita Royals, he posted a .325-29-101-111-22 line. Due to his sensational efforts, several pundits immediately anointed him the AL's version of David Wright(notes).
Unfortunately, his transition from the minors to majors wasn't seamless. His overly aggressive, pull-happy demeanor yielded generally fruitless results. In 2007, he finished 25th-best among three-baggers in the Y! game. Though he made noticeable strides in walks and contact percentage the following year, he failed to break the top 30.
Now fully recovered after missing three months with torn cartilage in his right hip, the once cherished talent might be the post-hype sleeper of the second half for deep-thinking owners. Remember, this is the same player numerous scouts compared to Chipper Jones(notes) when he was selected No. 2 overall - one spot behind Justin Upton(notes) - in the '05 draft.
Still, it's important not to go overboard. Despite his impressive rehab performance (.351 BA, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 5 R, 0 SB) and "I'm 100 percent" claim, KC plans to follow a cautious approach:
"I don't anticipate him being in the lineup more than two or three days in a row at first. It might be a month or so before we see him running at his accustomed level. Or we may not see it until next year. We'll be conservative with it."
Batting seventh Friday against the Rays, the 25-year-old went 1-for-4 with one punchout. The spot and effort was unimpressive, but the 39 percent-owned Gordon is worth taking a chance on in leagues where corner infield resources are limited. Steals will likely be a rarity, but he has the power upside to enter the Adam LaRoche(notes)/Nick Swisher/Pedro Feliz(notes) class of corners. Shallow leaguers understandably would describe that group as listless, but owners in demanding formats believe otherwise.
Regardless of your situation, the immature Gordon is definitely an intriguing option to watch.
• Instability has been the norm, not the exception for the backend of the Yankees rotation. The Wanger was miserable pre- and post-injury. Phil Hughes(notes) has proven more valuable in late-inning situations. And in only one start, swingman Alfredo Aceves(notes) made Carl Pavano's(notes) days in pinstripes seem legendary.
Now, journeyman Sergio Mitre(notes), coming off Tommy John surgery and a drug suspension, will be given an opportunity to provide some consistency. Based on his stellar minor league totals and past serviceability with the Marlins, he could be more than just a short-term solution.
In 45 innings with Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the righty posted an otherworldly 7.00 K/BB with a 2.40 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He also notched a dynamite 2.96 GB/FB ratio. Overall, Joe Girardi has been impressed with Mitre's make-up:
"He's a sinker-curveball-changeup guy. He's going to throw a lot of strikes, and he's going to get a lot of ground balls. I always thought he had kind of a bulldog attitude. He's a pretty thick guy. I never though he shied away from contact."
Girardi is right. Player thickness really is a grossly overlooked characteristic when assessing talent. Mitre may not possess Sabathian girth, but due to his groundball-inducing arsenal and marvelous control, he's acquirable in deeper mixed formats. Though he's currently not available in the Y! game, he will likely be pressed into the system prior to Tuesday's start against Baltimore. Only the iron-stomached should employ his services against the O's, but his second scheduled start of the week against the languid A's is very attractive.
• Your opportunity to turn a profit on Rick Porcello(notes) likely expired two starts ago, but the heavily-owned rookie is a commodity to shop before all value is completely lost. According to Jim Leyland, the tender 20-year-old's season will be terminated early:
"He's got 15 starts left. No matter how it works out, it was definitely the thing to do."
The strict start limitation enforced by the Tigers front office isn't unexpected. Porcello only tossed 125 innings last season in his professional debut.
For owners with dreams of a champagne shower, the youngster should be immediately dealt. Because of his surly 1.52 K/BB and 5.02 FIP, the stretch run could ocassionally yield rough results. This week he attracted Andrew Bailey(notes), Franklin Gutierrez(notes) and Casey McGehee(notes) in one-for-one Plus league trades.
• Battered, bruised or should not be used: Vernon Wells(notes) (illness, day-to-day), Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) (illness, day-to-day), Carlos Guillen(notes) (shoulder, rehabbing; roughly 4-8 days from activation), Mark DeRosa(notes) (wrist, will need surgery at season's end, but plans to play through pain), Alfonso Soriano(notes) (suckitis/dislocated finger, will return to lineup once swelling subsides), Mike Gonzalez(notes) (elbow, day-to-day), Carlos Quentin(notes) (plantar fasciitis, likely another 4-7 days away)
For stream conscious owners who want to push the innings-pitched envelope this is the list for you. Run support, ballpark factors, historical and recent trends, opposing offenses, opposing SPs, managerial tendencies and meteorological influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.
Other AL Double Dippers: Jeff Niemann(notes), TB (at ChW, at Tor), Clayton Richard(notes), ChW (TB, at Det), David Hernandez(notes), Bal (at NYY, at Bos), Sean O'Sullivan(notes), LAA (at KC, Min), Garrett Olson(notes), Sea (at Det, Cle)
Other NL Double Dippers: Todd Wellemeyer(notes), StL (at Hou, at Phi), Micah Owings(notes), Cin (at LAD< at ChC), Brian Moehler(notes), Hou (StL, NYM), Rodrigo Lopez(notes), Phi (ChC, StL), Tim Stauffer(notes), SD (Fla, at Was), Virgil Vasquez(notes), Pit (Mil, at Ari)
FEAST OR FAMINE?
Torn between two stat-similar infielders this week? Use the pitching and hitting staff sorters below to help you decide whether or not Adam LaRoche or Rick Porcello is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through July 17:
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