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:
- Twenty year-old Detroit Tigers sensation Cameron Maybin was promoted from Double-A Erie on Friday and will split time with Marcus Thames in left field over the remainder of the season. Scouts have marveled at the youngster's amazingly quick hands and tremendous athletic gifts, commenting he will eventually develop into a lethal speed and power concoction comparable to Torii Hunter. In 405 minor league at-bats this season, the metal-mouthed Maybin hit a robust .308 with 13 homers, 77 RBI and 27 steals. Although a future stat sheet stuffer, Maybin will experience some growing pains with the parent club as his 30.6 K% in the minors suggests. In two big league games, Maybin is 2-for-7 with a memorable homer off Roger Clemens. At this point, he is unquestionably rosterable in AL-only and all deep-mixed leagues (14 teams or larger). But don't expect a Ryan Braun-like explosion. Given his youthful age, work-in-progress plate discipline and bottom-dwelling spot in the Jim Leyland's order, statistical expectations for Maybin should be classified alongside Justin Upton. If the rookie logs 100 at-bats, anticipate a line around .265 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 14 R, 7 SB.
- On Saturday, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer revealed that Indians skipper Eric Wedge has relieved second baseman Josh Barfield (50 percent owned) from every-day duties. Wedge plans to platoon the glove-mighty Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Gomez in the near-term. Although blessed with a name that only a proctologist could admire, Asdrubal does have some value for those desperately seeking steals in AL-only and Grand Canyon-deep mixed leagues. In 105 combined games at two minor league stops this year, Cabrera swiped 25 bases in 30 attempts and tallied a fantastic .310 BA with a solid 50:47 K:BB split in 406 at-bats. As for the bumbling Barfield, he is droppable in all yearly leagues, but is an excellent buy low candidate in keeper formats. Only 24, Barfield still possesses the tools to be a perennial 20-20 threat. Once he sharpens his plate discipline (3.4 BB% in '07), he will become a viable top-20 two-bagger.
- The pesky injury imp has bitten Houston hurler Roy Oswalt. The bazooka-armed starter left Saturday night's tilt against the Padres with a strained right oblique. After the game Phil Garner speculated that Oswalt was not a candidate for the DL "right now." However, the three-time All-Star complained of intense pain after the game, which likely means a DL stint is likely. Oswalt, the fourth-best pitcher over the past month in Yahoo! games, has been spectacular since the break, registering five wins while compiling a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a much improved 2.29 BB/9. As Chris Young and Ryan Dempster owners know, oblique strains are not the type of injuries that magically vanish in a couple of days and usually require a two-week minimum vacation to fully heal. Concerned Oswalt owners in need of a replacement should cast a line for waiver wire saviors Wandy Rodriguez, Kyle Kendrick or Scott Baker – each of whom have very favorable matchups this week (see the two-start rundown below) and are owned in fewer than 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
- Banged-up Brave Edgar Renteria suffered a setback with his sprained ankle on Saturday and likely won't be activated until at least Friday. According to Bobby Cox's detailed description, Renteria inflamed the injury during a "figure-eight running" exercise. Thankfully Renteria didn't try a dangerous triple-axle pirouette. Flexible middle-infielder Yunel Escobar, hitting .260 since Renteria was shelved, will trot out to short and bat eighth every day again this week.
- In a post-deadline deal that knocked the earth off its axis, slugger Wily Mo Pena (0.77 percent owned) was shipped from Boston to Washington on Friday in exchange for cash considerations and the always perplexing player to be named later. Pena's value hikes upward as he could force a left-field platoon with hook Ryan Church. In his first action in red, white and blue, Pena hit in the RBI-friendly sixth spot going 1-for-4 with two runs scored against southpaw Oliver Perez on Saturday. The cavernous specs of RFK will stymie Pena's natural power number little since most of the bombs he launches are of the tape-measure variety. If Manny Acta gives him four-to-five starts per week, he could be a sneaky source of home runs over the last month of the season. The 25 year-old Pena has smacked a homer once in every 17.8 at-bats in his career.
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: Gil Meche (at ChW, Cle), Daniel Cabrera (Tex, Min), Jarrod Washburn (at Min, at Tex), Dustin Moseley (NYY, Tor), Andy Sonnanstine (Bos, Oak), Vicente Padilla (at Bal, Sea), Edinson Volquez (at Bal, Sea), Jair Jurrjens (Cle, NYY)
Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Derek Lowe (Jason Marquis (at SF, at Ari), Matt Morris (at Col, at Hou), Joel Pineiro (at ChC, Atl), Tim Redding (at Hou, at Col), Russ Ortiz (at Fla, Mil), Brett Tomko (at Phi, at NYM), Bobby Livingston (Atl, Fla), Joel Hanrahan (at Hou, at Col), Tony Armas (at Col, at Hou), Daniel Barone (at StL, at Cin), Phil Dumatrait (Atl, Fla), Elmer Dessens (Pit, Was)
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 August 17:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Josh Bard, SD – (at NY Mets, at Philadelphia)||8||73||0.109|
|Gregg Zaun, Tor – (Oakland, at LA Angels)||7||59||0.118|
|John Buck, KC – (at Chi White Sox, Cleveland)||7||41||0.170|
|Johnny Estrada, Mil – (at Arizona, San Francisco)||11||62||0.177|
|Jason Kendall, ChC – (St. Louis, at Arizona)||17||92||0.186|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Joe Mauer, Min – (Seattle, at Baltimore)||20||36||0.555|
|Yadier Molina, StL – (Florida, Atlanta)||18||34||0.529|
|Gerald Laird, Tex – (at Baltimore, Seattle)||30||77||0.389|
|Kenji Johjima, Sea – (at Minnesota, at Texas)||21||58||0.362|
|Chris Snyder, Ari – (Milwaukee, Chi Cubs)||23||65||0.353|
AL Steals Shopping: Reggie Willits, LAA, OF (29.4% owned), Shannon Stewart, Oak, OF (7.7%), Mark Ellis, Oak, 2B (17.5%), Jerry Owens, ChW, OF (1.1%)
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 Adam LaRoche is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through August 18.