Weekly Rundown

Brad Evans

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 Off
As we head into this week's action, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:

  • Unlike Al Reyes, hopefully Evan Longoria can avoid attacks from rascally clay pots. The Rays super prospect was recalled on Friday after starting three-bagger Willy Aybar was placed on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury. Longoria plodded out of the gates at Triple-A Durham, collecting just five hits, none for extra bases, in 25 at-bats. Still, his lightning quick bat, brute natural strength (18.1 AB/HR in the minors) and keen eye (12.5 BB%) labels him one of baseball's elite power-hitting prospects. Sliders and breaking balls on the outer-half of the plate will torment him at times but, with 450-plus at-bats, he has a legitimate shot at 22-27 dingers and 75-plus RBIs. For now, consider him equal to Kevin Kouzmanoff, Kevin Youkilis and Hank Blalock in fantasy value terms.
  • San Francisco punchout widget, Jonathan Sanchez, could be this season what Oliver Perez was back in 2003. Eerily similar in style and substance as Perez, the 25-year-old Dominican import has registered an otherworldly 16.20 K/9 in his first 10.0 IP. Equipped with a low-90s fastball that occasionally touches 95, a menacing slider and an average change, Sanchez has the arsenal to rack abundant strikeouts. However, his erratic control (career 4.85 BB/9) and queasy FB% (45.5) stymies his potential to sustain an ERA below 4.00. If his command improves and he keeps the ball down in the zone, his breakout chances increase tenfold. Wins will be few and far between but, scheduled for two starts this week (Ari, at StL), the 99 percent available Sanchez is a sensational plug n' play, especially in points-based H2H formats.
  • Former mullet extraordinaire, Randy Johnson, is expected to make his season debut against the pathetic San Francisco Giants on Monday. Rocky in his first rehab start, Johnson struck out seven, walked one and gave up three earned in six innings in his final Triple-A tune-up on April 9. Now 44, the Big Unit is hardly the pitcher he was in his 30s, but he should be a serviceable source of strikeouts as a No. 5 in 12-team mixed leagues. With this week an uneventful one for top-flight two-start pitchers, Johnson is a premiere double-dipper taking the mound at San Francisco and home versus San Diego.
  • The Pineapple Express, Shane Victorino, was placed on the 15-day DL April 12 with a strained left calf muscle. Last season, he was sidelined for three weeks with a similar setback. Jayson Werth and So Taguchi will see an increase in at-bats in Victorino's absence. Owners desperately seeking outfield assistance in NL-only formats should pick up Werth. In 15 plate appearances he has collected six hits and driven in three.
  • Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins is expected to return to the Phillies lineup on Tuesday. The historically durable shortstop has missed four games with a sprained ankle. Owners in weekly transaction leagues should confidently insert him into their lineups for the upcoming scoring period.
  • Ninth-inning ogre B.J. Ryan was activated form the 15-day DL on April 13. Given Jeremy Accardo's recent command struggles, it appears Ryan will immediately resume end-game duties. The 32-year-old power lefty was a bit wild in his last rehab appearance and could be erratic at times initially. However, once he shakes off the cobwebs he'll likely emerge as one of fantasy's standout stoppers. Barring a setback, expect Ryan to finish with 29-33 saves and 65-plus strikeouts.

Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Corey Patterson, Cin, OF (8-26, 3 HR, 6 RBI, SB, 37.9%), Jorge Cantu, Fla, 3B (10-25, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0.33%), Joe Crede, ChW, 3B (8-19, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 10.5%), Gerald Laird, Tex, C (6-16, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2.3%), Jonny Gomes, TB, OF (6-19, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0.61%)

Whiffers o' the weak(Last 7 days): Andruw Jones, LAD, OF (1-20, 9 K, 97.4%), Jack Cust, Oak, OF (2-19, 9 K, 16.5%), Dan Uggla, Fla, 2B (4-21, 9 K, 99.3%), David Ortiz, Bos, 1B/DH (1-21, 6 K, 100%), Jim Thome, ChW, 1B (2-19, 6 K, 99.3%)

Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Joey Gathright, KC, OF (4-24, 4 SB, 0.70%), Brian Bocock, SF, SS (4-21, 3 SB, 0.04%), Rajai Davis, SF, OF (0-7, 2 SB, 0.36%), Daniel Ortmeier, SF, OF (3-11, 2 SB, 0.06%)

This Week's Two-Start Pitchers
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.

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League
1 Zack Greinke at Sea Oak
Zack a fantasy preppy - 15 IP, 1 ER, 5 K
2 Shaun Marcum at Bal Det
Shaun knockin' 'em dead - 10.29 K/9 in 14 IP
3 Dustin McGowan at Bal Det
McGrowin' with each start - 9.0 K/9 in 11 IP
4 Andy Pettitte at TB at Bal
Combined 4.93 ERA, 1.73 WHIP vs. TB/BAL ('07)
5 Jeremy Bonderman Min at Tor
James Bond vs. Min/Tor in '07 - 2.16 ERA in 4 GS
6 Ervin Santana at Tex Sea
Only 4 QS away from Anaheim last year
7 Jon Lester at Cle Tex
Lester pested by hideous 5.63 BB/9 in 3 starts
8 Kevin Millwood LAA at Bos
Three straight QS to open the season - 1.29 ERA
9 Edwin Jackson NYY ChW
Finally delivering on big promise, 1 ER in 14 IP
10 Mark Buehrle Oak at TB
Frigid temps in Chicago could lead to P duel
11 Jake Westbrook Bos at Min
West a GB freak - 53.1 GB%, 2.76 ERA in 2 GS
12 Dana Eveland at ChW KC
Chilly conditions Tues. will aid Eveland; 0.68 ERA
13 Ian Kennedy at TB at Bal
Yank'ed early in lone start – better than 13.50 ERA
14 Nate Robertson Min at Tor
Buddy Holly crashed in 2 starts - 9 ER in 10.1 IP
15 Scott Baker at Det Cle
Whippin' up QS and Ws - 2 W, 9:1 K:BB in 2 GS
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
1 Aaron Harang at ChC Mil
Always overlooked - 2.14 ERA, 15 K in 21 IP
2 Hiroki Kuroda Pit at Atl
Muh-muh-muh-my Kuroda - 2.13 ERA, 46.3 GB%
3 Jair Jurrjens at Fla LAD
Marlins on a tear, but will have no answer for Jair
4 Ryan Dempster Cin Pit
Dominated paltry Pirates Apr 9 - 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
5 Randy Johnson at SF SD
Unit resurrected - 7 IP, 3 ER, 7 K in last rehab start
6 Randy Wolf Col at Ari
Werewolf in Petco, aaarooo! - 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K Apr 3
7 Jonathan Sanchez Ari at StL
Could be Oliver Perez '04 - 16.20 K/9 in 10 IP
8 Braden Looper Mil SF
Looper is April-icious - 2.23 ERA in '07/08
9 Hong-Chih Kuo Atl at Pit
Replaces ineffective Loaiza - 8 K in 6.2 IP
10 Mike Pelfrey Was at Phi
Boocoo run support makes him stream o' the week
11 Scott Olsen Atl Was
Quick-tempered Scott 4.62 career home ERA
12 Kyle Kendrick Hou NYM
Double-K terribly unlucky - .379 BABIP, 8:1 K:BB
13 Dave Bush at StL at Cin
Bushwhacked - 10 ER in first 10.2 IP
14 Zach Duke at LAD at ChC
The Duke has been dealin,' but 6.17 rd. ERA in '07
15 Ubaldo Jimenez at SD at Hou
Can't seem to find command - 7.36 BB/9 in 2 GS

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: John Danks (Oak, at TB), Tim Wakefield (at Cle, Tex), Andy Sonnanstine (NYY, ChW), Nick Blackburn (at Det, Cle), Paul Byrd (Bos, at Min), Miguel Batista (KC, at LAA), Jarrod Washburn (KC, at LAA), Jason Jennings (LAA, at Bos), Greg Smith (at ChW, KC), Dustin Mosley (at Tex, Sea), John Bale (at Sea, at Oak), Matt Albers (Tor, NYY), Steve Trachsel (Tor, NYY)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Odalis Perez (at NYM, at Atl), Shawn Chacon (at Phi, Col), Adam Eaton (Hou, Col), Chris Sampson (at Phi, SD)

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 April 11:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
Mike Napoli, LAA - (at Texas, Seattle) 1 8 0.125
Victor Martinez, Cle - (Boston, at Minnesota) 1 7 0.142
Josh Bard, SD - (Colorado, at Arizona) 2 13 0.153
Bengie Molina, SF - (Arizona, at St. Louis) 2 10 0.200
Geovany Soto, ChC - (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh) 3 11 0.272
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Jose Molina, NYY - (at Tampa Bay, at Baltimore) 6 12 0.500
Ivan Rodriguez, Det - (Minnesota, at Toronto) 3 7 0.428
Joe Mauer, Min - (at Detroit, Cleveland) 2 5 0.400
Gerald Laird, Tex - (L.A. Angels, at Boston) 5 13 0.385
Jason Kendall, Mil - (at St. Louis, at Cincinnati) 4 11 0.363

AL Steals Shopping:Jose Lopez, 2B, Sea (24.4% owned), David Murphy, Tex, OF (2.2%), Nick Punto, Min, 2B/SS/3B (0.36%)

NL Steals Shopping: Jeff Keppinger, Cin, 3B/SS (24.6% owned), Ryan Freel, Cin, 3B/OF (3.9%), Nyjer Morgan, Pit, OF (0.10%), Scott Podsednik, Col, OF (0.10%)

Feast or Famine?
Torn between two stat-similar corner 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 April 12.

Detroit 5.42 Min at Tor
Cleveland 5.10 Bos at Min
Chi. White Sox 4.81 Oak at TB
Kansas City 2.82 at Sea at Oak
Oakland 3.21 at ChW KC
Minnesota 3.31 at Det Cle
Florida 5.45 Atl Was
Colorado 5.06 at SD at Hou
Washington 4.96 at NYM at Atl
Arizona 2.57 at SF SD
St. Louis 2.94 Mil SF
Cincinnati 3.05 at ChC Mil
Detroit 240 Min at Tor
Cleveland 241 Bos at Min
Texas 244 LAA at Bos
L.A. Angels 293 at Tex Sea
Toronto 268 at Bal Det
Minnesota 264 at Det Cle
Washington 230 at NYM at Atl
Colorado 231 at SD at Hou
Houston 233 at Phi Col
San Diego 282 Col at Ari
Arizona 279 at SF SD
Atlanta 274 at Fla LAD