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.
Over his vanilla seven-year career, Laynce Nix(notes) has been powered by Triple-A batteries. But the journeyman, who was a non-roster invitee this spring, has finally earned semi-regular playing time in Cincinnati. And many of the balls jumping off his bat have kept going and going...
It seems the former promising Rangers prospect has not just cracked the Quad-A ceiling, he might be breaking through it.
During the past week, the tightly-compacted lefty has notched a spectacular three homers and eight RBIs in 22 at-bats. More amazingly, he's touched or rounded second on 21 of his 30 hits this season. His searing streak has entrenched the left-fielder in the middle of the Reds order and attracted praise from his teammates. Brandon Phillips(notes), who was once no stranger to limited opportunities while in Cleveland, has spoken highly of Nix's abilities:
"Honestly, he's underrated. It's all about a guy getting a chance. He's out there taking advantage of the chance he's getting. We're thankful he's on our team. It's good to have a guy in left field that can hit the ball and who can catch the ball."
Feared ligament destroyer, Dusty Baker, has also been very complimentary:
"He's feeling more comfortable. He's getting better and making adjustments to get better. He's good people. He's very astute and listens well and he applies what you tell him."
Similar to Ryan Ludwick(notes) and Nelson Cruz(notes) before him, Nix's sudden surge proves once again not all players with noteworthy pedigrees reach peak maturity along the same developmental curve. In some cases, good things do indeed come to those who wait.
The 28-year-old will continue to split time with Jerry Hairston and Chris Dickerson(notes) in left, but should earn the majority of starts. Assuming he accumulates at least 350 at-bats, he could contribute comparable totals to Cody Ross(notes) '08. For those in baby-pool shallow formats that comparison may seem unappealing, but for those who relish the challenge solving complicated deep league puzzles, Nix is a long-ball leviathan, especially considering he plays half his games in the Great American Bandbox.
His 22.6 HR/FB percentage is likely unsustainable, but based on his favorable minor-league power output 20-plus bombs aren't unfathomable. However, because he generates plenty of whiffs (29.6 K%), his odds of maintaining an average around .280 are slim.
Still, the five-percent owned bopper could be one of the most surprising power sources for managers in Grand Canyon formats. Matched against the hopeless Nationals and Royals this week, he could also be a valuable streaming option for shallow leaguers emaciated in power categories.
Fearless Forecast (Rest of the season): 254 at-bats, .266 BA, 16 HR, 42 RBI, 43 R, 1 SB
• Matt Lindstrom's(notes) days as the Marlins closer could be numbered. Struggling with his command last night, the beleaguered stopper filled the bases with Giants allowing one hit and two walks before being yanked for Leo Nunez(notes) who pitched out of the trouble to nail down his second save of the season. After the game, Fredi Gonzalez gave Lindstrom a soft endorsement, but opened the door for a possible committee to be installed:
"My responsibility as a manager is to 25 guys, and the Florida Marlins, not just one guy. We're trying to get the win for the club."
Gonzalez has recently expressed confidence in the 23 percent-owned Nunez, which makes him the add for those desperately chasing saves. Although his command has been spotty at times (4.19 BB/9), the short reliever has the personality and stuff -- 93-95 mph fastball, slider, effective change -- to handle the job. Kiko Calero(notes) could also net occassional ninth-inning opportunities.
As for Lindstrom, owners shouldn't contract him just yet. But understand any closer with a 7.33 BB/9 likely isn't long for this world.
• Minimally owned outfielder Ben Francisco(notes) was slotted into the leadoff spot last night for the fifth time this season, a space he will likely occupy with Grady Sizemore(notes) sideliend. The grossly underappreciated outfielder, who we tabbed the most overlooked 20-20 candidate currently on a major league roster in this week's Noise, is on pace for 13 homers, 58 RBIs, 75 runs and 25 steals.
His batting average likely won't eclipse .270, but in his new hitting position a short-term steals/runs spike should be expected. If you're an owner searching for help in several categories, the 22 percent-owned across-the-board scorer should be on your radar.
• Battered, bruised or should not be used: Scott Kazmir(notes) (quad, will need 1-2 more rehab starts before activation), Jason Bartlett(notes) (ankle, will not be activated when eligible Wednesday), Carlos Quentin(notes) (plantar fasciitis, expected to begin running drills soon), Evan Longoria(notes) (hamstring, day-to-day), Justin Duchscherer(notes) (elbow, will resume throwing program next week), Troy Tulowitzki(notes) (suckitis/hand, will likely play Sunday), Geovany Soto(notes) (Sophomore slumpism, could return to lineup early next week), Jose Valverde(notes) (calf, pitching in simulated games, about 10 days away from return), Jeremy Bonderman(notes) (shoulder, will take the ball Monday against Chicago), Gary Sheffield(notes) (hamstring, day-to-day), Koji Uehara(notes) (hamstring, likely to start Thursday vs. Seattle)
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: Andy Sonnanstine(notes), TB (at NYY, Was), Brian Bannister(notes), KC (at Cle, Cin), Jason Vargas(notes), Sea (at Bal, at Col), Jeremy Bonderman, Det (at ChW, at Pit), Dontrelle Willis(notes), Det (at ChW, at Pit), Anthony Swarzak(notes), Min (at Oak, at ChC), Casey Janssen(notes), Tor (at Tex, Fla)
Other NL Double Dippers: Jordan Zimmermann(notes), Was (Cin, at TB), Brian Moehler(notes), Hou (ChC, at Ari), Billy Buckner(notes), Ari (SF, Hou), Sean West(notes), Fla (SF, at Tor), Jason Hammel(notes), TB (at Mil, Sea)
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 June 5:
Image courtesy of US Presswire