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.
As we head into this week's action, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:
Since his shocking demotion to Triple-A Omaha on May 29, the portly pounder has been a man possessed collecting 12 hits in his first 32 at-bats (.375 BA). More importantly, he's starting to drive the ball with more vigor, evident in his pair of doubles and homers with the PCL Royals. As KC skipper Trey Hillman told MLB.com June 3, his Nebraska vacation will likely be brief:
He just needs to get confidence back offensively," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "I just talked to [Omaha manager] Mike Jirschele the night before last, and he said he was better than what we reported here. He's starting to get that swagger back. Just missed a home run, was swinging the bat well and was playing a good first base."
When might Butler be expected back?
"As soon as we can see some consistency there," Hillman said.
Due to our glowing endorsement of KC's beast of burden back in March, impatient owners have understandably developed disdainful feelings toward the 22-year-old. But it's important to remember that after he was recalled in July last year, the ultra-talented DH slapped a .301 BA with seven homers and 46 RBI in 269 at-bats.
Those expecting Butler's beefy frame to crank out numerous long-balls need to understand that at this point in his very young career, he is more of the 15-20, not the 25-plus homer variety. Still, given his frenetic bat speed, superb contact rates (85.1 CT% with KC) and keen eye (9.3 BB%), the Ass-O-Meter's days of wallowing in mediocrity will soon be a distant memory. Another sensational second half could be on the horizon. Owners who have available bench space and are in the market for a BA/RBI godsend may want to stash the 10.8 percent owned "Donkey."
• To update our note from last night's rather manful Closing Time (4:58 AM EDT time stamp proves our dedication), underappreciated Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, who felt a pop in the middle finger of his right pitching hand in the sixth inning on Saturday, could miss at least one game with a finger strain. Yahoo!'s 17th-best starter described the injury to the St. Louis Post Dispatch in unsettling terms:
"The feeling is exactly like a jammed finger. It's not swollen like it's jammed, but I can't bend it like it's jammed and I can't put any pressure on it."
This is the third devastating bit of news to rock the Gateway City this week. On Friday, team officials revealed that surprising stud Todd Wellemeyer will likely have his next start skipped to rest his inflammed right elbow. Meanwhile on Saturday, it was reported that the Bowling Hall of Fame, a downtown St. Louis tourism icon for over 25 years, is packing its bags for Texas. In related news, Dick Weber, screaming down from the Pearly Gates, renounced his Cardinals allegiance.
• Wiry Cuban import Alexei Ramirez evidently has seen Fidel's face inscribed between the stitches of every June pitch. Overshadowed by Joe Crede's fourth homer in two days on Saturday, the 26-year-old went 3-for-3 with an RBI single and a run scored in the White Sox 11-2 clobbering of Minnesota. The less than one percent owned 2B/OF has five multi-hit games, two homers, seven RBIs and seven runs in his past 10 games.
It appears that Ozzie Guillen is content with playing Ramirez everyday over incumbent Juan Uribe until he cools off. However, that might not occur, because he has a higher offensive ceiling than Uribe. Sexy Alexei, the 13th-best second baseman in Y! games over the past month, is someone to pluck off waivers immediately in all 12-team and deeper mixed leagues. Given his 15-15 upside, he could post top ten 2B numbers over the remainder of the season with everyday at-bats.
• Prominent names to deactivate this week (other than Wainwright): Jeremy Bonderman (clot), Aaron Hill (concussion), Coco Crisp (pending suspension)
*Questionable commodity: Rafael Soriano (elbow)
Hidden Lumberjacks (last 7 days): Jorge Cantu, Fla, 1B/3B (11-27, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 32.5% owned), Kevin Millar, Bal, 1B (10-27, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 1.3%), Russell Branyan, Mil, 3B (5-13, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 0.22%), Casey Blake, Cle, 1B/3B/OF (9-24, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 39.9%), Macier Izturis, LAA, 2B/3B/SS (11-26, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1.2%)
Whiffers o' the weak (last 7 days): Derrek Lee, ChC, 1B (4-24, 9 K, 99.9%), Geovany Soto, ChC, C (2-18, 8 K, 99.9%), Adam Dunn, Cin, OF (3-19, 8 K, 99.9%), Adrian Beltre, Sea, 3B (4-23, 7 K, 96.5%), Ivan Rodriguez, Det, C (2-16, 6 K, 93.0%), Alex Gordon, KC, 1B/3B (2-22, 6 K, 94.3%)
Inconspicuous thieves (last 7 days): David DeJesus, KC, oF (10-25, 2 SB, 2.1%), Reed Johnson, ChC, OF (2-10, 2 SB, 0.73%), Joey Gathright, KC, OF (2-17, 2 SB, 1.9%), Jason Barlett, TB, SS (5-25, 2 SB, 2.9%)
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: Dontrelle Willis, Det (Cle, LAD), Glen Perkins, Min (at ChW, at Mil), Nate Robertson, Det (ChW, LAD), Jarrod Washburn, Sea (at Tor, Was), Luke Hochevar, KC (at NYY, at Ari)
Other NL Double Dippers: Braden Looper, StL (at Cin, Phi), Paul Maholm, Pit (Was, at Bal), Tom Glavine, Atl (at ChC, at LAA), Zach Duke, Pit (Ari, at Bal), Seth McClung, Mil (at Hou, Min), Patrick Misch, SF (at Col, Oak)
*Players highlighted in orange are this week's Big Noise Shocker Specials
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 June 7:
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 June 7: