The Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups to help the indecisive resolve 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 schedule of games, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:
- Colorado stopper Brian Fuentes has a new nickname – "Daisy." Rockies skipper Clint Hurdle has temporarily removed Fuentes from the closer's role. Since June 22, Fuentes has blown four saves, allowing an abhorrent eight ER in his past 2.1 innings pitched. Hurdle did not divulge how long Fuentes would be relegated to middle relief, but a siesta until the All-Star break seems the most plausible scenario. In "Daisy's" place, the always exciting closer-by-committee will be installed. End-game veterans Jorge Julio and LaTroy Hawkins will be in the mix along with Panama import Manny Corpas (0.12 percent owned). Since Julio and Hawkins have blown more career saves (77 combined) than Bob Wickman has consumed Big Macs in a given week, Corpas is the most appealing candidate to net a bulk of ninth-inning opportunities. The 22 year-old has an effective arsenal comprised of a low-90s fastball, dipping change and adequate slider. He had 28 career saves in the minors and has allowed only two runs since June 7. Those in dire straits for saves need to scour the waiver wire to retrieve the floating Corpas.
- Primo Snakes prospect Justin Upton could slither his way onto the big league roster earlier then expected. On Friday, Bob Melvin told the East Valley Tribune that B.J.'s little brother "could potentially be a help at some point this year." Upton is not currently in the Yahoo! fantasy games database, but is someone to consider saving a top waiver priority for – especially in keeper formats. The top pick in the 2005 draft is an ultimate five-tool prospect whose drawn comparisons to Ken Griffey Jr. In 165 at-bats at Double-A Mobile the baby-faced 19-year-old has tallied an impressive line: .309 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 7 SB, 36:18 K:BB. The odds of Upton being an everyday player are relatively slim, but if Carlos Quentin's season-long swoon (.220 BA) continues, it will be difficult for Melvin not to give the ultra-talented youngster an audition in right before September. Keep him on your radar. In his prime, he'll be a perennial .300 BA, 35 HR, 25 SB rawhide god.
- Baltimore Swiss Army knife Aubrey Huff joined elite company on Friday night by becoming the first Oriole, third overall, to hit for the cycle since 1984. Legends Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. are the only other two to accomplish the milestone in orange and black. For those familiar with the adventures of Huff, in predictable fashion, he's heated up in the month of June batting .314 with two homers and 14 RBI. In his six-year career, Huff has always been a superb second-half player, averaging a .296 BA, 17 homers and 55 RBI. Eligible at 1B, 3B and OF in Y! leagues, he's available on nearly 67 percent of waiver wires. His soaring 50.0 FB% since June 19 is a definite sign for another second-half revival.
- Texas two-bagger Ian Kinsler, the bane of many owners' existence since his scorching April, might be placed on the 15-Day DL on Monday with what could be a stress fracture. If an MRI conducted on Sunday or Monday does discover a fracture, he could be sidelined for several weeks. Triple-A Oklahoma second baseman Tug Hulett (.245 BA, 4 HR, 31 RBI, 11 SB in 274 at-bats) would likely be recalled and split time with Jerry Hariston Jr. in Kinsler's absence. Similar in stature and grit as Chicago Cubs infielder Mike Fontenot, Hulett is a scrappy player who should be considered in deep AL-only leagues for those in search of cheap speed.
- On Friday, historically disgruntled outfielder Milton Bradley (15.1 percent owned) was traded from Oakland to San Diego for minor league pitcher Andrew Brown. The peanut brittle Bradley has battled a quadriceps injury for the past week, but feels he's "turned a corner" in his rehabilitation and could see his first action with the Pads on Monday. Bradley is worth a $20-30 FAAB bid in NL-only leagues. With Jose Cruz batting an abysmal .227 since May 1 and Terrmel Sledge troubled by a thumb injury, the door is wide open for Bradley to become the everyday left fielder. The 29-year-old Bradley could be a low double-digit source of homers and steals after the break and is worth a pick-up in deeper (14-team or larger) mixed leagues.
Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Mike Fontenot, ChC, 2B (14-26, HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB, 1.2% owned), Shannon Stewart, Oak, OF (15-32, 3 HR, 4 RBI, SB, 0.39%), James Loney, LAD, 1B (12-26, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 2.1%), Jack Cust, Oak, OF (9-28, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6.8%), Marlon Byrd, Tex, OF (9-23, HR, 7 RBI, 0.43%)
Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days): Jim Thome, ChW, 1B/DH (6-29, 14 K, 96.3% owned), Adrian Gonzalez, SD, 1B (2-23, 10 K, 99.9%), Carlos Pena, TB, 1B (2-17, 7 K, 91.8%), Nick Swisher Oak, 1B/OF (3-27, 6 K, 98.5%), Troy Glaus, Tor, 3B/SS (2-20, 5 K, 99.6%)
Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Jason Bartlett, Min, SS (10-28, 7 SB, 0.50% owned), Willie Harris, Atl, OF (3-10, 3 SB, 2.8%), Michael Bourn, Phi, OF (6-21, 3 SB, 0.08%), Joey Gathright, KC, OF (7-17, 3 SB, 0.29%)
This Week's Two-Start Pitchers
For those steadfast, 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 weather influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.
Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Boof Bonser (at NYY, at ChW), Nate Robertson (Cle, Bos), Kevin Millwood (LAA, Bal), Andy Sonnanstine (at Cle, at KC), Kason Gabbard (Tex, at Det), Lenny DiNardo (Tor, Sea), Brandon McCarthy (at Bos, Bal), Josh Towers (at Oak, Cle), Ryan Feierabend (at KC, at Oak)
Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Jeff Suppan (at Pit, at Was), Scott Olsen (at SD, at LAD), Jamie Moyer (at Hou, at Col), David Wells (Fla, Atl), Braden Looper (Ari, SF), Adam Eaton (at Hou, at Col), Zach Duke (Mil, ChC), Jason Hirsh (NYM, Phi), Kyle Davies (at LAD, at SD), John Van Benschoten (Mil, ChC), Anthony Reyes (Ari, SF), Woody Williams (Phi, NYM), Jason Simontacchi (ChC, Mil), Micah Bowie (ChC, Mil)
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 29:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Jason Phillips, Tor – (at Oakland, Cleveland)||4||47||0.085|
|Jason Varitek, Bos – (Tampa Bay, at Detroit)||4||28||0.142|
|Gary Bennett, StL – (Arizona, San Francisco)||3||21||0.142|
|Brian McCann, Atl – (at LA Dodgers, at San Diego)||7||37||0.189|
|Jason Kendall, Oak – (Toronto, Seattle)||13||66||0.196|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Joe Mauer, Min – (at NY Yankees, at Chicago White Sox)||10||20||0.500|
|David Ross, Cin – (San Francisco, Arizona)||17||35||0.485|
|Yorvit Torrealba, Col – (NY Mets, Philadelphia)||10||26||0.384|
|Ronny Paulino, Pit – (Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs)||20||52||0.384|
|Chris Snyder, Ari – (at St. Louis, at Cincinnati)||13||34||0.382|
Feast or Famine?
Torn between two stat-similar corner infielders this week? Use the pitching staff sorter below to help you decide whether or not Adam LaRoche is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through June 30.