Known as the Sacagawea of fantasy primers, the Weekly Rundown guides head-to-head owners through a forest of obscure stats and exploitable matchups in an attempt to help solve lineup conundrums. While reading, keep in mind matchups are subject to change due to managerial moves, unforeseen injuries and Mother Nature's influences.
Last season, Andruw Jones' days in Dodger Land were highlighted by numerous whiffs and Pink's hot dogs. Many worried the once cherished outfielder's ballooned body was bound to float out into space, becoming a celestial entity the likes of which astronomers had never viewed before. Jupiter and Saturn feared they would become moons of Planet Andruw.
But substituting bananas for burritos this past offseason, a slimmed-down Jones is on the brink of fantasy relevance again. Honest. We're not joking. No, really.
Ron Washington plans to bat Andruw Jones fourth when he plays this season, primarily as the designated hitter against left-handed starters.
Batters in the fourth hole usually see a heavy dose of off-speed pitches, and Jones struggled against junk last season and has at times this spring. But changes to his swing have allowed him more time to pick up pitches, and he has become more selective.
"Earlier I think he was chasing a lot of it," Washington said. "He's able to recognize a little better. He's done it all his career. I don't think everything he's done is all on fastballs."
Obviously, the chances of a gigantic rebound are highly improbable, but for owners in daily leagues, the three-percent owned Jones could prove stream-valuable. The former Bravo has accumulated just a .264 BA against southpaws in his career, but nestled into the cleanup spot in arguably the deadliest lineup in baseball could bear many fruits. He did collect a .300 BA with three homers and eight RBIs in 60 spring at-bats. However, his 19:3 K:BB split reminds us of his impatient ways.
The Rangers open against reigning AL Cy Young champ, Cleveland lefty Cliff Lee, on Monday. If Washington indeed slots Anpoo into the four-spot, the 31-year-old could provide instant power production. But be aware, a donut disaster is also possible.
• After a spectacular spring (.433 BA, 7 HR, 14 RBI, 3 SB), Mark Teahen (35 percent owned) is expected to see ample time at second base, batting third in KC's revamped order. If the versatile commodity, also eligible at 1B, 3B and OF, carries over his torrid spring, it's certainly possible he'll eclipse his career best totals from '06 (.290 BA, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 70 R, 10 SB). For that to happen, he must reduce his 1.60 GB/FB ratio from a year ago.
• If you happen to bump into Elijah Dukes anytime soon, duck. The hotheaded outfielder, and popular fantasy sleeper, will not trot out to right field opening day. Austin Kearns (one percent owned), who worked tirelessly this past offseason and spring on his swing mechanics, has won the job. Kearns outperformed the Nationals firebrand in Grapefruit action, posting a .279 BA with four homers and 10 RBIs (Dukes: .212 BA, HR, 6 RBIs). Dukes, who is droppable in shallow leagues (12-team mixed and smaller), will serve as the No. 2 at all three outfield positions until Kearns inevitably flops.
For 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 meteorological influences are painstakingly taken into account to give you the top double dippers of each week.
Other NL Double Dippers: Brett Myers, Phi (Atl, at Col), Aaron Harang, Cin (NYM, Pit), Paul Maholm, Pit (at StL, at Cin), Wandy Rodriguez, Hou (ChC, at StL), Randy Wolf, LAD (at SD, at Ari), Ian Snell, Pit (at StL, at Cin), Kyle Lohse, StL (Pit, Hou), Aaron Cook, Col (at Ari, Phi), John Lannan, Was (at Fla, at Atl), Scott Olsen, Was (at Fla, at Atl), Jeff Suppan, Mil (at SF, ChC)
Note: With no official stats accumulated, some elements ("To Catch a Thief" and "Feast or Famine?") will return next week.
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