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.
• (long annoying beep)...
The Yahoo! Fantasy Sports Service has issued a Price watch for your league. A Price watch means conditions are favorable for baseball's much ballyhooed pitching prospect to enter our waviers system soon. Bountiful strikeouts, appreciable ERA and WHIP totals and massive head explosions are anticipated. Owners desperately seeking mound assistance should stay tuned to the Y! Sports Network for potential updates and warnings...like this one.
Tonight against West Tennessee, Rays prodigy David Price hurled seven brilliant innings, yielding four hits, zero walks and one run. He whiffed a career high 10. According to the Biscuits announcing team, Price embarrassed one Diamond Jaxx hitter after another with a deadly mixture of hard-biting mid-80s sliders and 90-93 mph fastballs. The No. 1 overall pick in 2007 has yet to lose a decision in 14 outings this season.
Splitting time between Single and Double-A, the Vandy Dandy has tallied a 1.98 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 1.98 BB/9 and phenomenal 8.87 K/9 in 86.2 IP. He's also compiled an eye-catching 1.38 GB/FB ratio.
Speculation about an imminent Price promotion has begun to gain momentum. Tampa Tribune beat writer Joe Henderson believes he will be recalled at some point, although it's still anyone's guess exactly when that will occur and what role he'll undertake. Some insiders have suggested he'll be used exclusively out of the pen, which seems absurd. The Rays haven't issued any Price 'rules' or 'decrees,' which indicates they're not worried about workload. Because he missed the first six weeks of the season recovering from an elbow injury, Price's arm is plenty lively.
Sure it's possible the Rays could institute a similar strategy with Price as the Yankees did with Joba Chamberlain, but the filthy southpaw would be a rotation upgrade over Edwin Jackson or Andy Sonnanstine.
With the Rays clinging to a slim lead in the AL East, it would makes sense for Price to be promoted within two weeks in whatever capacity. Even in a relief role he would bear ample Ks.
The 22-year-old should be the sole reason why you're hoarding a top waiver priority.
• Ubaldo Jimenez is Colorado's mean Mr. Clean.
The flamethrowing righty has waxed the competition in recent weeks. Since July 2, the 24-year-old has won seven of eight decisions, posting an obscene 1.49 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. More eye-opening, he's notched a 7.29 K/9 during that stretch.
Still, despite the string of stellar outings and No. 1 pitching ranking in Y! games over the past 30 days, he's owned in a mere 50 percent of Y! leagues. Surprisingly, Jimenez has also attracted unspectacular names - Hunter Pence, Howie Kendrick and BJ Ryan - in recent Plus league solo trades.
The reason for Jimenez's sudden evolution from stream-exclusive to top-of-the-rotation starter stems from improved command. In his past seven starts, he's issued 3.36 walks per nine, down significantly from the 4.92 BB/9 mark he totaled in 17 previous starts. Because Jimenez routinely burns nostril hairs with numerous 94-98 mph fastballs, his increased ability to accurately locate secondary pitches - mid-80s change, drop-down slider, curve - has proved lethal. That, coupled with his growing confidence pitching on the road has turned him into one of fantasy's most consistent and dominating strikeout sensations. As Clint Hurdle told the Rocky Mountain News after Ubaldo's latest masterpiece versus Florida August 1:
"He's not afraid to do things that are creative, because they are things he knows he can do. He is throwing a 98 mile-per-hour fastball. He falls behind 2-0 and is throwing sliders, to left-handers...the biggest at-bat [against Hanley Ramirez], and he throws that Juan Marichal slider, where he drops down three-quarters. He does it once a game, and the hitter has no chance. That's why Jimenez is elite."
Because of his cerebral advancements, nasty stuff, sharpened play on the road and sterling 2.04 GB/FB ratio (55.6 GB%), Jimenez could easily maintain a top-ten starter ranking over the season's final two months. Owners in yearly, and especially keeper, leagues looking to bolster their rotations for a championship run this season and beyond should pitch an offer for the Dominican import while the sticker price is affordable.
Fearless Forecast (remaining games): 66.2 IP, 5 W, 2.34 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 57 K
• At this point in his illustrious career, Ken Griffey may be known more for numismatic pranks than fantasy contributions, but that view could soon change.
In his first South Side game, Junior smacked two singles in three at-bats, driving in his first American League RBIs this century. Although he'll likely continue to bat near the bottom of the order - however he strangely batted second today - Sox GM Ken Williams expects the 38-year-old slugger to roam centerfield nearly everyday. Griffey, reinvigorated by the address change, hopes to be productive. Per the Arlington Daily Herald:
"I'm just trying to get off to a good start here. Just trying to be patient. I've been able to fix a mechanical flaw that I had earlier this season, and that's seemed to help."
Sure, Griffey's current numbers are underwhelming compared to his prior achievements, but there are many indications the 13-time All-Star could undergo a statistical revival of sorts in Chicago.
For starters, U.S. Cellular field is a lefty hitter's haven, even more so than the Great American BandBox. His 42.8 FB% and healthy 11.7 HR/FB% implies that 7-10 homers down the stretch is very attainable, especially with several vulnerable AL staffs, most notably, KC, Sea and Bal, on the Sox August schedule. Also, the table-setters in front of him - Carlos Quentin, Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome and Alexei Ramirez - are far more prolific than those he had in Cincinnati, which could lead to abundant RBI opportunities. Grizzly Behrens would certainly disagree, but it's not like Griffey's peripherals have eroded away to Paul Konerko levels.
It might be difficult to steal Griffey given his rich history, but inquiring about his services is worth exploring if you're searching for a No. 5 outfielder with pop in 12-team mixed leagues. Over the past 48 hours he's been swapped straight up for Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew and Casey Blake in Y! Plus league one-for-one transactions,.
Hidden Lumberjacks (last 7 days): Jose Lopez, Sea, 2B (12-28, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 66.5% owned)), Omar Infante, Atl, 2B/SS/3B/OF (11-32, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0.16%), Fernando Tatis, NYM, CI/OF (11-25, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2.1%), Kelly Shoppach, Cle, C (10-21, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 14.5%), Joe Mather, StL, OF (9-28, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0.03%)
Whiffers o' the weak (last 7 days): Cody Ross, Fla, OF (4-23, 10 K, 20.9%), JJ Hardy, Mil, SS (2-25, 7 K, 97.9%), Aaron Rowand, SF, OF (4-21, 6 K, 79.4%), Luke Scott, Bal, OF (3-19, 6 K, 10.3%), Chase Headley, SD, 3B/OF (3-17, 6 K, 5.4%)
Inconspicuous Thief (last 7 days): Rajai Davis, Oak, OF (2 SB, 18 on season, 0.10%)
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 NL Double Dippers: Bronson Arroyo, Cin (Mil, Hou), Wandy Rodriguez, Hou (at ChC, at Col), Tim Redding, Was (at Col, at Mil), John Lannan, Was (at Col, at Mil), Mike Hampton, Atl (at SF, at Ari), Brian Moehler, Hou (at ChC, at Cin), Yosian Herrera, Pit (at Ari, at Phi)
TO CATCH A THIEF
Unrelated to the "Dateline NBC" predator stories, the "Rundown" investigates the best and worst base burglar matchups for the upcoming week. Stats reflect numbers through August 1:
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 Scott Olsen is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through August 1:
Full Slate (teams with 7 games): Arizona, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Colorado, Houston, New York Yankees, Oakland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Texas, Tor, Was