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:
- Future fantasy superstar Hunter Pence was recalled by the Astros from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday and has officially taken over center field duties from Chris Burke. The 24-year-old Pence raked a .304 career BA in the minors and was hitting a robust .341 with three homers, 19 RBI and two steals in 85 Round Rock at-bats. He's worth a top waiver priority in all leagues given his .310 BA, 20 HR, 15 SB upside.
- Seattle royal Felix Hernandez said he felt good after a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday and is hopeful he'll return either May 4th or 5th at New York. King Felix has a 6.94 ERA versus the Yankees in two career starts.
- South Side slugger Jim Thome was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained rib cage on Saturday. Alex Cintron, Pablo Ozuna, Brian Anderson and possibly top prospect Ryan Sweeney could get additional at-bats in Thome's absence. Sweeney, recalled on Sunday from Triple-A, tallied a .296 BA with 13 HR and 70 RBI in 449 at-bats in Charlotte last year.
- On Friday, Yankees starter Mike Mussina threw a 60-pitch side session comfortably. He's expected to return to the New York rotation maelstrom on Thursday at Texas. Moose has a 4.09 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and five wins in 11 career starts at Ameriquest Field.
- After a bullpen session on Saturday, Brewers manager Ned Yost said Ben Sheets "feels fine" and if his re-evaluation on Sunday proves positive, the Milwaukee ace will likely return for his scheduled start Tuesday versus St. Louis. In his last start against the Cardinals on April 15, Sheets was torched for 7 ER in 5 IP. With Sheets expected to log two starts this week, owners in weekly transaction leagues need to start him with confidence.
- Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 Days): Mike Lowell, 3B, Bos (10-26, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 16.1% owned), Pedro Feliz, 3B, SF (6-18, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 23.5%), Kelly Johnson, 2B/OF, Atl (11-19, 3 HR, 8 RBI , 35.4%), Sammy Sosa, OF, Tex (3 HR, 8 RBI, 28.8%), Khalil Greene, SS, SD (8-21, HR, 9 RBI, 28.1%)
- Whiffers o' the weak: Bobby Abreu, OF, NYY (1-22, 8 K, 99.9% owned), Adam Dunn, OF, Cin (2-18, 7 K, 99.9%), Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, SD (2-18, 6 K, 0.64%), Brandon Inge, 3B, Det (3-22, 9 K, 41.8%), Mike Cameron, OF, SD (4-22, 8 K, 70.0%)
- Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Kenny Lofton, OF, Tex (5 SBs, 23.2% owned), Chris Duffy, OF, Pit (3 SBs, 44.9%), Elijah Dukes, OF, TB (2 SBs, 4.8%)
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 NL Two-Start Pitchers: Livan Hernandez (at LAD, NYM), Zach Duke (ChC, at Mil), John Patterson (at SD, at ChC), Russ Ortiz (Col, Phi), Josh Fogg (at SF, at Cin), Matt Albers (Cin, at StL), Tony Armas (ChC, at 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 April 28:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Josh Bard, SD – (Washington, at Florida)||0||11||0.000|
|Brian Schneider, Was – (at San Diego, at Chicago Cubs)||1||14||0.071|
|Mike Napoli, LAA – (at Kansas City, Chicago White Sox)||2||16||0.125|
|Jorge Posada, NYY – (at Texas, Seattle)||3||23||0.130|
|Dioner Navarro, TB – (Minnesota, Oakland)||3||16||0.187|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Yadier Molina, StL – (at Milwaukee, Houston)||5||9||0.555|
|Joe Mauer, Min – (at Tampa Bay, Boston)||5||9||0.555|
|Ronny Paulino, Pit – (Chicago Cubs, at Milwaukee)||8||16||0.500|
|Bengie Molina, SF – (Colorado, Philadelphia)||3||7||0.428|
|Russell Martin, LAD – (Arizona, at Atlanta)||7||18||0.389|
AL Steals Shopping: Kenny Lofton, Tex, OF (23.1% owned), Pablo Ozuna, ChW, 3B/OF (0.14% owned),
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 fiery first basemen Dimitri Young is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through April 28.