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:
- Cubs slugger Aramis Ramirez is likely out until at least midweek, along with second baseman Mark DeRosa (back), with tendonitis in his right wrist. Drag racer Ryan Theriot (5-for-his-last-8 with 3 RBI and 2 SBs) will fill the void at third. Owned in a microscopic 0.53 percent of Y! leagues, Theriot, who's eligible at 2B/OF/3B, is waiver wire gold this week.
- MRI results on baneful closer Octavio Dotel's strained oblique came back negative, but privately Royals insiders believe he won't return until at least mid-May. Joakim Soria (0.04 percent owned) will continue to get a bulk of the save opportunities in Dotel's absence.
- Toronto super-prospect Adam Lind went 3-for-5 with a double batting second in place of injured outfielder Reed Johnson in his big league debut on Saturday. Available in 0.05 percent of Y! leagues Lind – utility-only eligible – is a sensational source of BA, R and RBI with Johnson out for the next couple of weeks with a herniated disc. br>
- Toronto remains optimistic that sore-heeled hot corner Troy Glaus will return to the lineup on Tuesday. If you're in a daily league keep him benched – the Jays are scheduled to face the uber-filthy Daisuke Matsuzaka.
- Astros hurler Jason Jennings will miss at least his next two starts due to shoulder tendonitis and will likely log DL time. Fernando Nieve (2-3, 4.67 ERA as a starter) is expected to move into the rotation.
- Wounded Yankees pitchers Mike Mussina (hamstring) and Carl Pavano (forearm) were placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday. Prospect Chase Wright, who sported a spectacular 19:1 K:BB in 14 Double-A innings, is expected to fill one of the vacancies. The rookie southpaw is worth a flier in deep mixed and AL-only leagues as he will likely get two starts this week.
- Former mullet connoisseur Randy Johnson was clocked at 92 MPH eight times in his 87-pitch, six-inning rehab appearance at Triple-A Tucson on Friday. Although he is undecided, Johnson will likely make one more rehab start before returning to the D-Backs rotation as early as this weekend at San Francisco. This might be your last chance on an injury buy low.
- Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez announced on Saturday that he will officially go to a migraine-inducing closer-by-committee. Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Randy Messenger, Henry Owens and Taylor Tankersley are all apart of the end-game group. Once Tankersley gets back to 100 percent, he has the best shot to emerge from the closer carousel given his previous experience (3 saves with Florida in '06). For this week, trust only Owens or Tankersley as a third reliever in very deep NL-only or mixed leagues.
- Closer B.J. Ryan was placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday with a strained elbow. Jason Frasor will take over temporary duties and is worth an immediate add in all leagues.
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: Barry Zito (at Col, Ari), John Maine (at Phi, Atl), Oliver Perez (at Phi, Atl), Jason Hirsh (SF, SD), Clay Hensley (at ChC, at Col), Matt Belisle (Mil, Phi), Brett Tomko (at Ari, Pit), Sergio Mitre (at Hou, Was), Jamie Moyer (NYM, at Cin), Wandy Rodriguez (Fla, at Mil), Jason Marquis (SD, StL), Jerome Williams (Atl, at Fla), Edgar Gonzalez (LAD, at SF), Wade Miller (SD, StL), Eric Milton (Mil, Phi), Matt Chico (Atl, at Fla)
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 2006 end-season totals:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Bengie Molina, SF – (at Colorado, Arizona)||15||83||0.180|
|Michael Barrett, ChC – (San Diego, St. Louis)||21||110||0.190|
|A.J. Pierzynski, ChW – (Texas, at Detroit)||25||90||0.217|
|Brad Ausmus, Hou – (Florida, at Milwaukee)||17||60||0.221|
|Jason Kendall, Oak – (LA Angels, Texas)||31||102||0.304|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Ivan Rodriguez, Det – (Kansas City, Chicago White Sox)||26||51||0.510|
|Gerald Laird, Tex – (at Chicago White Sox, Oakland)||21||46||0.457|
|Yadier Molina ,StL – (Pittsburgh, at Chicago Cubs)||29||66||0.439|
|Miguel Olivo, Fla – (at Houston, Washington)||30||78||0.385|
|Joe Mauer, Min – (at Seattle, at Kansas City)||22||58||0.379|
AL Steals Shopping:Kenny Lofton, Tex, OF (18.0% owned); Macier Izturis, LAA, 3B/SS (11.0% 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 Dimitri Young is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through April 14.