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.
As we head into this week's action, here's the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:
• Rampant speculation regarding the imminent promotion of Dodgers pitching phenom Clayton Kershaw continues to gain momentum. When asked late last week whether the baby-faced 20-year-old would replace injured starter Esteban Loaiza, Joe Torre was noncommittal, telling the LA Times, "You'll have to wait and see." Fanning the flames further, the Press-Enterprise reported May 10 that the Dodgers are undecided whether Kershaw should pitch out of the bullpen in his outing for Double-A Jacksonville on Monday. If he doesn't toe the rubber in the first, it's a forgone conclusion he will be promoted and inserted into the L.A. rotation sometime this week, presumably May 17 at Anaheim. Kershaw's outstanding repertoire – low-90s fastball with deceptive movement, developing change and knee-bending curve – is jaw-dropping. In 33.1 IP with the Suns, he's posted a 9.99 K/9, 2.97 BB/9 and microscopic 1.08 ERA. He's not as polished as Max Scherzer, but his high-strikeout potential makes him a top waiver commodity. When Kershaw hits waivers in the Yahoo! game, absolutely spend your No. 1 waiver priority, but expect plenty of turbulent times. Because the youngster has his own innings decree, his '08 ceiling is likely Tim Lincecum '07 (146.1 IP, 7 W, 4.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 150 K).
• The Canadian Loonie, still recovering from the '07 Wellsian recession, plummeted on May 10 with news that underachiever Vernon Wells will miss the next 6-8 weeks with a broken wrist. On pace for 22 homers and 107 RBI, Wells was undergoing a resurgence, but, as we've seen historically with wrist injuries to power hitters (e.g. Derrek Lee), his long-ball totals will most certainly fall well short of expectations this year. While the 29-year-old outfielder mends, recently acquired hook Brad Wilkerson and bucket head Kevin Mench will platoon in right. Neither is rosterable in 12-team mixed leagues, although AL-only owners needing a two-month power rental should employ their services.
• Angels Speed Racer Chone Figgins was finally placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 4 with a strained hamstring. With Macier Izturis and Howie Kendrick (hamstring) currently unavailable, the unexciting trio of Brandon Wood, Robb Quinlan and Sean Rodriguez will continue to log at-bats. Wood (24 HR in '07) and Rodriguez (17 HR in '07) have significant power upside but neither warrants consideration in mixed leagues at this time.
• The Don King of poultry pugilism, Pedro Martinez, tossed a successful 60-pitch bullpen session on Friday. Mets GM Omar Minaya said the organization is "very encouraged by Pedro's progress." There is no timetable set yet for the eight-time All-Star's return, but the New York Daily News speculates that he could see simulated game action sometime this week. Unless he suffers a setback, the earliest the 36-year-old hurler would return appears to be early June. Owners with tenuous rotations in shallow mixed leagues may want to stash the 65 percent-owned Martinez.
• Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Ryan Ludwick, StL, OF (11-21, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 29.9% owned), Milton Bradley, Tex, OF (5-22, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4.2%), Eric Bruntlett, Phi, SS (8-24, 1 HR, 8 RBI, SB, 0.12%), Chris Iannetta, Col, C (7-18, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 0.29%), Brandon Boggs, Tex, OF (8-26, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0.10%), Mark Kotsay, Atl, OF (8-22, 2 HR, 6 RBI, SB, 0.42%)
• Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days): Alex Rios, Tor, OF (5-21, 13 K, 99.9% owned), Curtis Granderson, 5-28, 12 K, 99.7%), Carlos Pena, TB, 1B (4-22, 11 K, 98.2%), David Wright, NYM, 3B (5-24, 9 K, 100%), Pat Burrell, Phi, OF (3-19, 8 K, 99.9%)
• Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Ryan Freel, Cin, 3B/OF (7-22, 2 SB, 2.7%), Joey Gathright, KC, OF (3-9, 2 SB, 2.4% owned), Scott Podsednik, Col, OF (2-14, 2 SB, 0.29%), Ryan Sweeney, Oak, OF (3-10, 2 SB, 0.07%)
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.
Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Jon Lieber, ChC (SD, Pit), Nelson Figueroa, NYM (Was, at NYY), Burke Badenhop, Fla (at Cin, KC), Odalis Perez, Was (at NYM, at Bal), Barry Zito, SF (Hou, ChW), Carlos Villanueva, Mil (LAD, at Bos), Paul Maholm, Pit (at StL, at ChC), Jo-Jo Reyes, Atl (at Phi, Oak), Brandon Backe, Hou (at SF, at Tex), Phil Dumatrait, Pit (Atl, at ChC), Dave Bush, Mil (StL, at Bos), Shawn Estes, SF (at ChC, at Sea)
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 26:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Josh Bard, SD - (at Chi Cubs, at Seattle)||6||39||0.154|
|A.J. Pierzynski, ChW - (at L.A. Angels, at San Francisco)||4||23||0.174|
|Yorvit Torrealba, Col - (at Arizona, Minnesota)||5||27||0.185|
|Brian McCann, Atl - (at Philadelphia, Oakland)||4||21||0.218|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Paul Bako, Cin - (Florida, Cleveland)||8||19||0.421|
|Jason Kendall, Mil - (L.A. Dodgers, at Boston)||11||27||0.407|
|Victor Martinez, Cle - (Oakland, at Cincinnati)||8||20||0.400|
|Geovany Soto, ChC - (San Diego, Pittsburgh)||10||25||0.400|
|Kurt Suzuki, Oak - (at Cleveland at Atlanta)||9||23||0.391|
AL Steals Shopping: Erick Aybar, LAA, 2B/SS (51.4% owned), Ryan Sweeney, Oak, OF (0.07%)
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.