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:
- On Friday, Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau suffered a bruised lung after he train-wrecked with 6-foot, 220-pound backstop Miguel Olivo in a bang-bang play at the plate. Luckily, tests revealed no broken bones, but Morneau coughed up blood after the collision, which has hospitalized the reigning AL MVP for three days. Unless additional X-Rays reveal significant damage, he could return later this week, but a DL stint cannot be ruled out. Jeff Cirillo (0.12 percent owned) has gone 4-for-10 with two RBI filling in for Morneau and is a serviceable one-week BA play in AL-only leagues. The 37-year-old utility infielder has slapped a .333 BA in 45 June at-bats.
- Cubs closer Ryan Dempster will likely be sidelined until at least Wednesday with a strained oblique. The undervalued Dempster has only blown two saves this season and is currently the 13th-best stopper in Yahoo! leagues. Owners in dire straits for saves should peruse the wire for interim closer Bob Howry (2.5 percent owned). The 33 year-old workhorse throws a darting 92-94 mph fastball and has saved 59 games in his career. Over the weekend, Howry slammed the door against his former employer, the Chicago White Sox, for back-to-back saves. Interestingly, Lou Piniella has recently hinted that Carlos Marmol would be a potential long-term solution if Dempster were befallen by a significant injury. However, with Sean Marshall's emergence as the Cubs fifth starter, thoughts of moving Dempster into the rotation have been squashed.
- Floundering Southside outfielder Jermaine "Live and Let" Dye will likely head to the 15-Day DL with a nagging right quadriceps injury. Dye, who has homered only once in his past 84 at-bats, first suffered the strain on June 18 and complained on Saturday that his leg "hurt real bad." Even if the soon-to-be free agent dons different team threads soon, those in search of a power bat for a second half run may want to pitch a lowball offer for his services. Over the weekend, he was swapped straight up for Brad Penny, Mike Lowell and Delmon Young in Y! Plus leagues. With Dye and Darin Erstad on the shelf, Andy Gonzalez, Rob Mackowiak and Luis Terrero will split time in center and right. None of them are worthy of ownership in mixed leagues at this time.
- On Sunday, Blue Jays mutton chops wearer Dustin McGowan (1 percent owned) lost a no-hitter in the ninth against Colorado after Jeff Baker laced a screaming liner into center. Impressively, the youngster kept his composure and finished off the Rockies for his first career complete game shutout. Before owners anoint the 25 year-old top prospect man-crush material understand that his command has vanished at times this season (3.5 BB/9) and extraordinary performances like this are a rarity. However, he's developed into a desirable back-of-the-rotation starter in 12-team mixed leagues. If you take away his six earned run implosion versus the Dodgers on June 19, McGowan has notched a sparkling 2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and a respectable 6.8 K/9 since May 23. With a lively mid-90s fastball and a tight-spinning mid-80s slider, he has favorable odds to notch an ERA around 3.50 over the second half. Concerned Curt Schilling owners looking for a replacement should scour the wire for his services.
- Oakland's Rich Harden (94.2 percent owned) was activated from the DL on Friday and will throw out of the bullpen. A's manager Bob Geren said he will build up his shoulder strength with several short-inning stints until he feels comfortable Harden "can go four or five innings." As of now, the 25 year-old will likely return to the rotation shortly after the All-Star Break. Because Alan Embree has been masterful in the ninth (8-for-9 in save opportunities), it appears Harden will not see any end-game duty. Geren wants to get Harden regular work this week and may have him pitch multiple two-inning sessions if in-game circumstances allow. Be sure to activate him in all formats as hell be a terrific source of ERA, WHIP and Ks working in middle-relief.
- Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Aaron Miles, StL, 2B (13-25, 4 R, 0.21% owned), Alex Gordon, KC, 3B (11-26, 2 RBI, SB, 13.9%), Jonny Gomes, TB, OF (10-25, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2.6%), Matt Stairs, Tor, 1B/OF (10-19, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2.7%), Troy Tulowitzki, Col, SS (9-20, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 9.8%)
Whiffers o the weak (Last 7 days): Adam LaRoche, Pit, 1B (3-25, 9 Ks, 46.3%), Kelly Johnson, Atl, 2B/OF (3-21, 7 K, 97.4%), Aubrey Huff, 1B/3B/OF, Bal (3-18, 6 K, 34.2%), Hideki Matsui, NYY, OF (4-24, 5 Ks, 99.6%), Dave Roberts, SF, OF (4-27, 4 Ks, 25.1%)
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: Jeff Weaver (Bos, Tor), J.P. Howell (ChW, at Cle), Vicente Padilla (at Det, at Bos), Kameron Loe (at Det, at Bos), Scott Baker (Tor, at Det), John Thomson (at LAA, ChW)
Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Rodrigo Lopez (at ChC, at Hou), Chad Billingsley (at Ari, SD), Kyle Kendrick (Cin, NYM), Paul Maholm (at Fla, Was), Edgar Gonzalez (LAD, at SF), Todd Wellemeyer (at NYM, at Cin)
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 22:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Gary Bennett, StL - (at New York Mets, at Cincinnati)||1||19||0.052|
|Jason Phillips, Tor - (at Minnesota, at Seattle)||4||44||0.090|
|Jason Varitek, Bos - (at Seattle, Texas)||3||24||0.125|
|John Buck, KC - (at LA Angels, Chicago White Sox)||4||23||0.173|
|Jorge Posada, NYY - (at Baltimore, Oakland)||13||68||0.191|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Joe Mauer, Min - (Toronto, at Detroit)||9||17||0.529|
|David Ross, Cin - (at Philadelphia, St. Louis)||15||31||0.483|
|Kenji Johjima, Sea - (Boston, Toronto)||14||35||0.400|
|Chris Snyder, Ari - (LA Dodgers, at San Francisco)||12||30||0.400|
|Ronny Paulino, Pit - (at Florida, Washington)||19||48||0.395|
NL Steals Shopping: Norris Hopper, Cin, OF (0.10% 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 Sasquatch Richie Sexson is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through June 23.