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:
• Move over Dick Pole, San Diego heartthrob Chase Headley is now the most porn-tastic name in baseball.
As we foreshadowed on Friday, the Padres premiere farmhand was recalled on Saturday from Triple-A Portland. Coming into this week, the third baseman, and soon-to-be-eligible outfielder, was owned in a microscopic 0.20 percent of Y! leagues.
Headley is arguably the most major league-ready prospect next to Cincinnati's Jay Bruce to join the senior circuit this season. Blessed with lightning quick hands, prodigious 30-homer power and a sweet stroke, the 24-year-old switch-hitter could take the NL West, and fantasy leagues, by storm.
In 259 at-bats with the Beavers, the uber-confident rookie notched a .305 BA with 13 HR (HR per 19.9 at-bats), 40 RBI and 34 extra-base hits. His 9.8 BB% was also respectable.
Although the Padres have performed better of late offensively, inconsistent production from the three-headed ferret of Paul McAnulty, Scott Hairston and Justin Huber in left prompted GM Kevin Towers to make the move. Because San Diego is very unlikely to play into October, Headley will become the everyday leftfielder immediately. He is also expected to occasionally spell Kevin Kouzmanoff, who has played in 69 of 70 games this year, at third base.
So what kind of production can you expect from San Diego's "classy" commodity?
As with just about any rookie – Bruce so far the lone exception – transitioning from the minors to the majors is a volatile exercise. Telling MLB.com earlier today, Towers believes Headley will experience some ups and downs:
"He's never really had a down year. How that translates up here, I wouldn't be surprised if there's a learning curve here, where it takes him a while to get familiar with the pitching and the ballparks, learn the pitching staffs."
Given his incredible raw talents and wide availability, Headley must be fished out of the free agent pool pronto. He could easily make a cannonball splash in his debut, but, all in all, his inexperience (18 MLB at-bats in total) will stymie his value. However, it's not unfathomable that he will be equally as productive as Evan Longoria from this point forward. Anticipate an end season line around: 340 at-bats, .272 BA, 15 HR, 40 RBI, 35 R.
• Fo' shizzy. Izzy is back in the hizzy.
Mechanically maligned stopper Jason Isringhausen was activated from the 15-day DL today. Eight saves short of 300 for his career, the 35-year-old is expected to be eased back into ninth-inning duties, remarking to MLB.com:
"Once I start getting people out, I'll be back in the ninth inning. I have no doubts about that."
Bothered by a lacerated hand, flawed mechanics and a bruised ego earlier this season, Isringhausen tossed 3.2 innings, striking out three, in a very brief rehab stint between Single and Double-A. Back in his "happy place" mentally, Isringhausen has regained his confidence and appears determined to stake claim as the Cards' paramount end-game option.
Owned in just 63 percent of Y! leagues, Izzy should be added in shallow formats promptly. However, given his advanced age and history of injuries, it might be wise to deal him before the break if he strings together numerous strong performances. Eventually, flamethrower Chris Perez (7.5 percent owned), who has yielded just two earned in his first 11.1 IP, not Ryan Franklin, will become Tony LaRussa's cardinal door-slammer.
• Upon hearing the news of "The Schiznit's" (Max Scherzer) demotion Friday, we poured one out in honor of our fallen man-crush. Our brown-bagged Colt 45 never tasted so bitter.
On the surface, many would assume Scherzer was dismissed because of recent command woes (5.63 ERA, 6.75 BB/9 since May 30), but, according to D' Backs skipper Bob Melvin, his inexperience was the reason behind the removal. Per the East Valley Tribune:
"Max wasn't optioned down because of his performance. His performance was terrific," D-Backs manager Bob Melvin said. "The past couple days, we've needed back-to-back days out of guys, and we are just not there with him yet."
This is a sage move by the Arizona front office, one that will benefit Scherzer and his devoted supporters in the long run. Although he was highly effective in middle relief, he's more valuable in the rotation, as his starts against the Cubs and Tigers on May 10 and 17 respectively attest (11 IP, 0 ER, 11 K). Getting him regular work every fifth day in Tucson will keep his arm and mind well-oiled.
Command over his secondary pitches evaded Max at times with Arizona, astonishing when you consider he posted a 9.58 K/9, 2.90 ERA and 1.50 GB/FB ratio in 31 big league innings. Embarrassing Triple-A batters will undoubtedly boost his confidence in those pitches. The fantasy possibilities are limitless if he returns more polished.
Yes, Mad Max is expendable in shallow mixed leagues, but owners with adequate bench space should keep the electric youngster stashed. Inevitably, Doug Davis or Randy Johnson will be felled by injury or ineptitude, which would permanently entrench Scherzer in the rotation. We're guessing that happens no later than July 31.
• Prominent names to deactivate this week: Brad Penny (Shoulder), Moises Alou (calf), J.J. Putz (elbow), Alfonso Soriano (hand), Tom Glavine (elbow)
• Questionable: Jim Thome (back)
Hidden Lumberjacks (last 7 days): Luke Scott, Bal, OF (8-20, 4 HR, 5 RBI, 1.9%), Jason Kubel, Min, OF (7-20, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 0.92%), Kelly Shoppach, Cle, C (6-16, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 0.20%), Jamey Carroll, Cle, 2B/SS/3B (11-19, 3 RBI, 0.13%), Mark Ellis, Oak, 2B (10-25, HR, 6 RBI, 9.2%)
Whiffers of the weak (last 7 days): Adam Dunn, Cin, OF (3-22, 10 K, 99.9%), Kevin Kouzmanoff, SD, 3B (3-20, 9 K, 54.9%), Justin Upton, Ari, OF (2-14, 8 K, 85.6%), Matt Holliday, Col, OF (3-16, 8 K, 99.9%), Joey Votto, Cin, 1B/OF (4-25, 7 K, 89.6%)
Inconspicuous Thieves (last 7 days): Jason Bartlett, TB, SS (6-21, 4 SB, 2.9%), Endy Chavez, NYM, OF (7-23, 2 SB, 0.16%), Maicer Izturis, LAA, 2B/SS/3B (9-26, 2 SB, 7.1%), Brendan Ryan, StL, 2B/SS/3B (4-15, 2 SB, 0.24%)
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: None
Other NL Double Dippers: Mike Pelfrey, NYM (at LAA, at Col), Brandon Backe, Hou (at Bal, at TB), Greg Reynolds, Col (Cle, NYM)
*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 13:
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 13:
Full Slate (teams with 7 games): Atlanta, Colorado