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Weekly Rundown

Brad Evans
Yahoo Sports

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

John Baker, a staple on Billy Beane's wish list in "Moneyball," a book which heavyweights in Hollywood ridiculously feel would make an interesting film, is quietly blossoming in Florida. In early action, the former Cal standout has amassed a .308 BA with a pair of threes in RBI and runs. Oblivious novices would idiotically label that stat line useless, but Baker's contributions have been much appreciated for those who play in challenging formats.

In deeper leagues, burdensome catchers can be a perpetual thorn-in-the-side, fly-in-the-ointment, Johjima-in-the-Easter-basket to fantasy owners. Their horrendous batting averages and minor statistical yields can humiliate and frustrate even the most seasoned manager.

However, the 16 percent-owned Baker is the position's magical elixir.

Acquired from Oakland in 2007 for one-bagger Jason Stokes, the 28-year-old should continue to thrive sandwiched between Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez as the Marlins' No. 2 hitter. As Baker predicted earlier this spring, he's already seen a steady diet of fastballs (58.7 percent of viewed pitches), many of which he's deposited in green spaces.

Although he'll cede playing time to Ronny Paulino against southpaws, his outstanding strike-zone judgment (career 13.9 BB%), line-drive stroke and runs-favorable lineup position should bear many fruits.

His power totals will be modest, but his overall body of work won't be. In fact, the value disparity between him and San Francisco wunderkind Pablo Sandoval could wind up being smaller than you might think. That's more than Jeremy Brown could ever sayâ¦

Fearless Forecast: 408 at-bats, .288 BA, 10 HR, 61 RBI, 70 R, 2 SB

QUICK HITTERS

As expected, a bullpen controversy is brewing in the Windy City. After Kevin Gregg had blown a save in Milwaukee the day before, Carlos Marmol, not Gregg, trotted in from the pen last night to shut the door. The dynamite Dominican freeze-framed Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder with a barrage of filthy sliders to log his first save of '09. But despite the captivating performances, Lou Piniella remains committed to giving Gregg the ball in the ninth:

"He came in and did a heck of a job. I said when the season started that there would be opportunities for both of them. Tomorrow if we get in a similar situation, Gregg will be in there."

Gregg is still likely to accumulate the most saves between the two, but a loose two-man committee could be in the works.

Popular draft day Rip Van Winkles Scott Baker and Max Scherzer will be activated from the 15-day DL and take the mound for their respective clubs this week.

Baker pitched brilliantly in his lone rehab start. Wearing Fort Myers threads (Single-A), the crafty righty yielded just one earned run in seven innings. He also posted a 3:1 K:BB split. Ron Gardenhire plans to limit the Twins' No. 3 to roughly 95-100 pitches Wednesday against Toronto. Based on the torrid start by the Blue Jays and the shackles attached to Baker's arm, it would be wise to keep him benched.

As for "Da Schiznit," his rehab start was more adventurous, but equally encouraging. In 4.2 innings for Single-A Visalia, the bazooka-armed righty was routinely clocked between 92-96 mph. He allowed one earned on one hit, but walked four. Mad Max also struck out five.

Scherzer is slated to face St. Louis Tuesday. His secondary stuff still needs more polish, but due to his high-K upside, he's worth risking this week.

Battered, bruised or should not be used: Hiroki Kuroda (strained rib muscle), Jose Guillen (groin), Scott Lewis (elbow), Geovany Soto (shoulder, day-to-day), Brandon Webb (shoulder, will likely start Friday), Garrett Anderson (calf, day-to-day), Justin Upton (destructive whiffs)

DOUBLE DIPPERS
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
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Jon Lester, Bos at Oak vs. Bal
Compiled 2.35 ERA in 42.2 IP versus Oak/Bal last year
2 Scott Kazmir, TB vs. NYY vs. ChW
Brillant at home a year ago - 2.90 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8 W
3 Kevin Slowey, Min vs. Tor vs. LAA
Afflicted by gopheritis in first start -- 2 HR, 4:11 GB:FB split
4 AJ Burnett, NYY at TB vs. Cle
Uncharacteristically accurate in debut -- 6:1 K:BB, 2 ER, W
5 Zack Greinke, KC vs. Cle at Tex
Mowed down Rangers last season - 13 IP, 2 ER, 14 K
6 Matt Garza, TB NYY ChW
Superb in inagural '08 outing - 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, W at Bos
7 Jon Danks, ChW at Det at TB
Filthy southpaw road warrior a year ago - 2.92 ERA, 7-3 mark
8 Fausto Carmona, Cle at KC at NYY
Unusual 0.75 GB/FB ratio in first start; needs splitter to work
9 Chien-Ming Wang, NYY at TB vs. Cle
Humiliated April 8 at Baltimore - 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 0:3 K:BB split
10 Gavin Floyd, ChW at Det at TB
7 IP, 9:2 K:BB, 2 ER vs. KC shows '08 wasn't a fluke
11 Jesse Litsch, Tor at Min vs. Oak
Pounded by Detroit's big boppers last week - 3 HR, 5 ER, 6 IP
12 Vincente Padilla, Tex vs. Bal vs. KC
Suprisingly effective in spurts last year but only 3-5 at home
13 Koji Uehara, Bal at Tex at Bos
Wang-like in terms of minimal Ks, but a control freak
14 Glen Perkins, Min vs. Tor vs. LAA
Sensational start vs. Sea Apr 9 squandered by zero support
15 Dallas Braden, Oak vs. Bos at Tor
A's opening day starter has yielded 6 ER in 6 IP vs Bos/Tor
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
RNK PLAYER OPP1 OPP2
1 Chad Billingsley, LAD vs. SF vs. Col
$100 Bills worth every penny in debut -- W, 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 K
2 Javier Vazquez, Atl vs. Fla at Pit
Earned no decision in 12-11 L at Phi Apr 8 - 6 IP, 3 ER, 5 K
3 Yovani Gallardo, Mil vs. Cin at NYM
First P ever to go yard on Unit; W, 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 K at SF
4 Chris Carpenter, StL at Ari at ChC
Carp's one-hit gem proved dynamite spring wasn't a mirage
5 Edinson Volquez, Cin at Mil at Hou
Paid price for walk-heavy ways Apr 8 - 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4:4 K:BB
6 Ted Lilly, ChC vs. Col vs. StL
Punished by long-ball at Hou (4 HR) but earned W
7 Randy Johnson, SF at LAD vs. Ari
Rocky first start vs. Mil but 7:1 K:BB shows value potential
8 Chris Volstad, Fla at Atl at Was
Control will plague him at times but K upside feeds value
9 Jamie Moyer, Phi at Was vs. SD
Grandpa Moyer dominated Was last year - 2.54 ERA in 5 GS
10 Mike Pelfrey, NYM vs. SD vs. Mil
Always fond of home crowd -- 3.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in '08
11 Zach Duke, Pit vs. Hou vs. Atl
Impressed in chilly St. Louis -- 6.1 IP, ER, 4:2 K:BB
12 Doug Davis, Ari vs. StL at SF
Double-D has posted saggy numbers at AT&T -- 5.23 ERA
13 Todd Wellemeyer, StL at Ari at ChC
Tattooed by Pit Apr 8 -- 12 HA, 5 ER; 3.32 ERA vs ChC in '08
14 Daniel Cabrera, Was vs. Phi vs. Fla
Walking disaster yielded 5 ER in 6 IP at Florida April 8
15 Walter Silva, SD at NYM at Phi
Admirable 2 ER in 5 IP vs. LAD last week, but 1:4 K:BB ugly

Remaining NL Double Dippers: Brian Moehler, Hou (at Pit, Cin)

Remaining AL Double Dippers: Carlos Silva, Sea (LAA, Det), Carl Pavano, Cle (at KC, at NYY), Zach Miner, Det (ChW, at Sea), Rickey Romero, Tor (at Min, Oak), Shane Loux, LAA (at Sea, at Min)

Note: Due to technical difficulties with our blog software, the conventional form of the Weekly Rundown is only temporary. Look for it next week in our Roto Arcade blog.

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