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:
- Ryan Howard was placed on the 15-day DL with a left quadriceps strain. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. expected the reigning home run champ to be "100 percent and ready to go" when eligible for activation. Slapping four hits with two RBIs in Howard's stead on Saturday, Greg Dobbs (0.04% owned) figures to get an abundance of at-bats over the next two weeks. The 28-year-old former Mariners farmhand hit .314 with 13 SB at Triple-A Tacoma last season. NL-only leaguers in dire need of a short-term sparkplug at CI should bid a buck or two.
- Roll out the red carpet, "King" Felix Hernandez is set to return on Tuesday at home versus the L.A. Angels. Mike Hargrove will limit the Seattle monarch to 70 pitches in his first start with a "natural progression of 15 or so pitches" in his next couple of outings. Don't expect a royal rumble right away, but if he does stumble against the Angels, seek his services at a discount.
- Jinxed by the wicked witch of injuries, the bandaged Toronto Blue Jays, already reeling from the loses of B.J. Ryan and Roy Halladay, may also lose third baseman Troy Glaus to the disabled list. On Friday John Gibbons commented that Glaus "felt a pop" in his troubled left foot. Pending the results of an MRI, Glaus, barring a miracle, will likely be placed on the 15-Day DL on Tuesday. The unexciting combo of Jason Smith and John McDonald will split time at third in the meantime.
- Detroit Tigers bazooka Jeremy Bonderman will miss at least one start with a cut finger. Virgil Vasquez will be recalled from Triple-A Toledo and make his Major League debut under the lights of prime time Sunday night versus the Twinkies and Boof Bonser. The 23 year-old Vasquez is a reasonable spot start in AL-only leagues – he posted a spectacular 50:10 K:BB mark in 40.2 IP for the Mud Hens.
- As advertised prominently in last week's "Bringin' the Noise" Jeremy Accardo nailed down an impressive two-strikeout save on Saturday and will likely be Jon Gibbons go-to-guy in the ninth. Accardo has not allowed a run this season and has 10 strikeouts in his last five appearances. Available in a staggering 95.6 percent of Yahoo! leagues, act now – he could be this year's J.J. Putz.
- The Florida closer carousal of inflated WHIPs and endless migraines just got muddier. Marlins skipper Fredi Gonzalez backtracked from comments earlier in the week that Jorge Julio would return to the closer role. Instead, Gonzalez instituted a temporary bullpen-by-committee until his veteran gained enough confidence to take over the gig full-time. After Julio surrendered a walk-off grand slam to Ryan Zimmerman on Saturday, he will continue to give false hope to owners believing he'll generate double-digit saves. Henry Owens, out until May 25 with shoulder tendonitis, may have cemented the closer's role without lifting a finger. If you have an open injured spot and Owens is available (52.2% owend), stash him.
- Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Jack Cust, OF, Oak (7-22, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 0.04% owned), Dan Johnson, 1B, Oak (12-22, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0.32%), Luke Scott, OF, Hou (8-27, 2 HR, 7 RBI 2.1%), Chris B. Young, OF, Ari (11-23, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 10.4%), Mike Redmond, C, Min (11-21, 3 2Bs, RBI 0.48%)
- Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days): Travis Hafner, DH, Cle (3-24, 9 K, 99.9% owned), Delmon Young, OF, TB (4-24, 8 K, 96.9%), Rocco Baldelli, OF, TB (1-22, 7 K, 97.7%), Morgan Ensberg, 3B, Hou (1-20, 6 K, 61.4%), Ian Kinsler, 2B, Tex (1-21, 6 K, 99.9%)
- Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Reggie Willits, OF, LAA (9-27, 2 SBs, 0.49% owned),Willie Harris, Atl, OF (7-16, 2 SBs, 0.16%), Pablo Ozuna, 3B/OF, ChW (6-22, 2 SBs, 0.14%)
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: Jason Hirsh (Ari, KC), Micah Owings (at Col, at Pit), Jason Bergmann (Atl, Bal), Sergio Mitre (at Pit, at TB), Paul Maholm (Fla, Ari), Adam Eaton (Mil, Tor), Brett Tomko (StL, at LAA), Woody Williams (SF, Tex), Brad Thompson (at LAD, at Det), Matt Chico (Atl, Bal)
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 May 12:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Josh Bard, SD – (Cincinnati, at Seattle)||0||23||0.000|
|Jorge Posada, NYY – (at Chicago White Sox, at N.Y. Mets)||4||30||0.133|
|Jason Phillips, Tor – (Baltimore, at Philadelphia)||3||19||0.157|
|Ivan Rodriguez, Det – (at Boston, St. Louis)||3||18||0.167|
|Mike Napoli, LAA – (Detroit, Atlanta)||4||22||0.181|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Paul Lo Duca, NYM – (Chicago Cubs, N.Y. Yankees)||10||16||0.625|
|Yadier Molina, StL – (at L.A. Dodgers, at Detroit)||6||11||0.545|
|David Ross, Cin – (at San Diego, at Cleveland)||7||13||0.538|
|Ronny Paulino, Pit – (Florida, Arizona)||12||23||0.521|
|Mike Redmond, Min – (at Cleveland, at Milwaukee)||6||12||0.500|
AL Steals Shopping: Coco Crisp, Bos, OF (50.3% owned), Darin Erstad, ChW, OF (6.8% owned), Pablo Ozuna, ChW, 3B/OF (0.16% owned), Yuniesky Betancourt, Sea, SS (1.6% 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 Dan Johnson is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through May 12.