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 Sunday Roger Clemens announced hes signed a contract for the remainder of the 2007 season with, no big surprise, the destitute New York Yankees. At an ancient 44, the Rocket still has a nuclear arsenal that labels him one of the games elite fantasy pitchers. In five seasons with the Bronx Bombers (1999-2003), Clemens posted a modest 3.98 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 mark. Given the bountiful run support A-Rod and company will provide, anticipate a final Rocket line around: 13 W, 3.20 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 145 K. Still available in 28 percent of Y! leagues, value him alongside marquee hurlers John Lackey and C.C. Sabathia. Look for him to make his 07 debut the last week of May.
- Broken crowned monarch Felix Hernandez is now not expected to return to the Mariners rotation until May 15 versus the Angels. On Friday, King Felix threw a positive 52-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to participate in a simulated game on Tuesday in Detroit followed by another BP session on Thursday. This will be the final week to take advantage of an injury discount.
- Dodgers three-bagger Andy LaRoche (0.01% owned) is the latest primo prospect to get a call-up in recent weeks. Replacing the downtrodden Wilson Betemit at third on Sunday, it appears Grady Little will give the 23-year-old youngster a long-term audition at the hot corner. Prior to being recalled, LaRoche posted a .235 BA, blasted three homers and knocked in 11 at Triple-A Las Vegas. LaRoche has the keen eye (46:36 K:BB in 300 Triple-A at-bats) to be a consistent .300 hitter in his prime with 25-30 homer muscle. Because third is Grand Canyon-deep, add him only in deeper 12-team formats, unless you have a bench spot available.
- Detroit Tigers flamethrower and Guitar Hero addict Joel Zumaya was placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday with a right middle finger strain. Jim Leyland said his prized setup man "heard something pop while he was throwing a fastball in the bullpen" on Saturday. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday night, and if there's evidence of a dislocation, he could be out for a month. Admittedly, not "in any hurry to be the closer," Zumaya's 3.63 ERA and 11 BBs in 17.1 IP have been somewhat of a disappointment this season. Drop him with confidence in shallow 12-team mixed leagues.
- Goggle-eyed reliever Eric Gagne, barring a setback in a bullpen session on Sunday, will be activated from the 15-day DL on Tuesday and immediately return to ninth inning duties. Rangers GM Jon Daniels commented that it appears Gagne has not "lost anything" over the past couple of weeks. Considering his injury-laden past, hang on to Akinori Otsuka in all leagues, as it seems inevitable Gagne will fall down the dugout stairs and break his hip.
- Former All-Star Garrett Anderson will miss at least a month with a torn hip flexor. Speed racer Reggie Willits will play everyday in right with Anderson out. A gritty Ryan Freel clone, Willits merits a pickup in 12-team and larger leagues. Going 12-for-his-last-27 with six runs, two ribbies and two steals, and available in 99.9 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Willits tallied a sensational .326 BA and swiped 31 bags in 353 Triple-A at-bats last year. With a watchful 7:8 K:BB in 47 at-bats this season, he's a prototype leadoff man who'll be a top-flight source of runs and steals over the next few weeks.
- The troubled Toronto bullpen could be reshuffled this week due to the continued ninth-inning tank jobs by Jason Frasor (7 ER in last 2.1 IP). Jon Gibbons will turn to Jeremy Accardo (0.16% owned), Shaun Marcum and/or Scott Downs to shut the door. Based on Accardo's outstanding 0 ER, 13 K in 13.2 IP start, along with his mid-90s heat, he appears to be the frontrunner for saves. If you're in dire straits for a closer, pick him up.
- Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Jhonny Peralta, SS, Cle (7-23, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 66.1% owned), Ryan Doumit, C/1B/OF, Pit (11-21, 2 HR, 4 RB, 0.32%), Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Col (10-27, 5 RBI 9.8%), Randy Winn, OF, SF (13-30, 7 R, SB, 0.80%)
- Whiffers o' the weak(Last 7 days): Ryan Howard, 1B, Phi (2-22, 12 K, 100% owned), Eric Chavez, 3B, Oak (2-22, 6 K, 90.3%), Curtis Granderson, OF, Det (2-16, 6 K, 97.0%), Delmon Young, OF, TB (3-20, 6 K, 99.4%), Chris Duffy, OF, Pit (2-25, 6 K, 46.0%)
- Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Shane Victorino, OF, Phi (8 SBs, 8.3% owned), Reggie Willits, OF, LAA (2 SBs, 0.02%), Nick Punto, Min, 2B/SS/3B (2 SBs, 5.2%), Willie Harris, Atl, OF (2 SBs, 0.01%)
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: Anthony Reyes (Col, at SD), Jeff Francis (at StL, SF), Wandy Rodriguez (at Cin, Ari), Ricky Nolasco (LAD, at Was), Wes Obermueller (LAD, at Was), Taylor Buchholz (at StL, SF)
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 5:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Josh Bard, SD - (at Atlanta, St. Louis)||0||18||0.000|
|Jorge Posada, NYY - (Texas, at Seattle)||3||24||0.125|
|Mike Napoli, LAA - (Cleveland, at Texas)||3||19||0.157|
|Brian Schneider, Was - (at Milwaukee, Florida)||3||17||0.176|
|Dioner Navarro, TB - (at Baltimore, at Toronto)||4||19||0.210|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Joe Mauer, Min - (Chicago White Sox, Detroit)||7||11||0.636|
|Ronny Paulino - (at Chicago Cubs, Atlanta)||11||20||0.550|
|Yadier Molina, StL - (Colorado, at San Diego)||6||11||0.545|
|David Ross, Cin - (Houston, at L.A. Dodgers)||6||11||0.545|
|Paul Lo Duca, NYM - (at San Francisco, Milwaukee)||6||12||0.500|
AL Steals Shopping: Kenny Lofton, Tex, OF (35.8% owned), Shin-Soo Choo, Cle, OF (0.21% 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 5.
- Reggie Willits