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 influence.
Entering the season Detroit's Brennan Boesch(notes) was hardly a twinkle in any deep leaguer's eye. After all, most scouts considered the 25-year-old a fringe-average talent. Baseball America tagged him the 25th-best prospect in the Tigers organization. Jason Heyward(notes) he was not.
Surely now their tune has changed.
With Carlos Guillen(notes) disabled and utilityman Ryan Raburn(notes) cleaning roosts for the Toledo Mud Hens, the outfielder has traded in mundane for magnificent. Including Saturday's stellar 4-for-6, two-RBI performance, Boesch has quietly been very productive this month. Shifting between the outfield corners and DH, he's amassed 20 hits in 44 at-bats with two homers and 12 RBI, numbers comparable to future HOFer Manny Ramirez(notes). The instant dividends have certainly impressed Jim Leyland. From the Detroit News:
"He's an aggressive, young kid and when he gets a pitch to hit, he hits it pretty good," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's important (that he bats left), but the most important thing is that we're getting good results."
Cementing his spot behind Miguel Cabrera(notes) with every hit, Boesch, who clubbed 28 long-balls at Double-A Erie a season ago, is quickly becoming a need to know player. Though it's highly unlikely he'll sustain a BA above .300, he does possess enough raw power to accumulate above average HR and RBI numbers. Seeing boulder-sized pitches behind Miggy doesn't hurt.
Due to his unglamorous pedigree, most owners would immediately describe Boesch's scorching start as fluky. But with rumors swirling of Guillen shifting back into the infield upon activation, Tigers management believes it's holding a hidden ace.
QUICK HITTERS (Tidbits from Saturday's slate): Naturally, Ricky Romero(notes) took being tabbed a "risky start" personally. Shutting down a scorching Rangers offense, the former first-round pick whiffed 12 in a five-hit shutout. Blessed with one of the filthiest changeups in the game, he should continue to be a top-flight No. 3 in 12-team mixed formats...Romero's teammate Jose Bautista(notes), who was slathered in Noise goo Wednesday, blasted homers No. 8 and 9. He totaled five RBI. If he can continue to stiff-arm Edwin Encarnacion(notes), 30 homers are a forgone conclusion...Aramis Ramirez(notes) is showing signs of busting out of his season-long funk. The zombified slugger had a two-run double against the Buccos. He's hit safely in six of his last seven. The clearance rate won't last much longer...Brett Gardner(notes) swiped bag No. 17 on the season. The fleet-footed outfielder is on pace for 80 stolen bases. The last Yankee to surpass that mark was Rickey Henderson in 1986. No word on whether Gardner will claim he's the greatest - of anything - if the feat is accomplished.
Nyjer Morgan(notes) was gunned out for the eighth time this season. He's now 8-for-16 in stolen base opportunities. Last year, he was caught stealing 17 times in 43 attempts...Livan Hernandez(notes) hurled his sixth quality start in seven chances, limiting the Rockies to three earned over six in a 6-2 loss. Based on his unsustainable BABIP, horrific K/BB split and increase in fly-balls his inevitable doom is coming...Much anticipated top prospect Aroldis Chapman(notes) was tattooed for eight earned in Friday night's start for Triple-A Louisville. His alarming 5.40 BB/9 and rising ERA (4.63) are signs he needs plenty of minor league seasoning. Unless he dominates over a sizable stretch, don't expect him to supplant Homer Bailey(notes) or Aaron Harang(notes) anytime soon...Southpaw Jason Vargas(notes) tossed his sixth-straight quality start. The widely available starter yielded two earned over seven innings against the Rays, allowing four hits and two walks. Outside his unfavorable line-drive rate (14.0) and BABIP (.240) his underlying profile is strong. The fly-ball pitcher is worth an audition in deeper leagues...Detroit optioned Max Scherzer(notes) and Scott Sizemore(notes) to Triple-A Toledo. Somehow Grady is to blame for both of their undoings.
PULLS, STRAINS AND REHAB GAINS (Injury updates/notes): Surprising only to cave-dwellers, Brad Lidge(notes) is again officially disabled. Jurassic-aged journeymen Jose Contreras(notes), who slammed the door cleanly Saturday in Milwaukee, will close out games with the incumbent sidelined. Amazingly, Contreras is still available in 77 percent of Y! leagues...In other closer news, Huston Street(notes) was prematurely lifted from a rehab outing with Double-A Tulsa after five pitches. Reportedly arm fatigue is to blame. It's unknown how long his derailment will last. In the meantime, Manny Corpas will continue to receive the Jim Tracy point in the ninth....Cool-lanta lump Matt Diaz(notes) was placed on the 15-day DL with a right thumb infection. Real life Marco Polo, Eric Hinske(notes), is expected to see regular at-bats over the next couple weeks. He's batting .343 with 13 RBI in 43 at-bats. Cast a line NL-only leaguers.
With John Baker(notes) disabled, Ronny Paulino(notes) is a player of interest in mixed formats. The one-percent owned backstop, who is 21-for-68 (.309 BA) on the year, has the contact profile to produce robust numbers in an expanded role...Mark DeRosa(notes) is expected to be placed on the 15-day DL as early as Sunday. Insiders speculate his deactivation could springboard Buster Posey(notes) to the bigs. The ballyhooed catchers has raked at Triple-A notching a .349/.441/.558 line...Brett Anderson(notes) and Miguel Montero(notes) both made pivotal steps in their respective recoveries this past week. Both should return to the diamond sometime in early June...Also on the rehab front, Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) is slated to begin a rehab stint with Pawtucket starting Monday. Expect to see him with the senior club in roughly one week...Brian Roberts(notes) has been cleared to restart baseball-related activities. The former All-Star is "encouraged" by his current physical status, hoping to return when eligible June 10...Heavily-owned commodities dealing with non-threatening, day-to-day setbacks: Pablo Sandoval(notes) (foot), Carlos Quentin(notes) (sack deficiencies) and Josh Willingham(notes) (groin).
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 AL Double Dippers: Josh Beckett(notes), Bos (at NYY, at Phi), Scott Kazmir(notes), LAA (at Tex, at StL), Fausto Carmona(notes), Cle (at TB, Cin), Ben Sheets(notes), Oak (Sea, SF), Rick Porcello(notes), Det (ChW, at LAD), Kevin Millwood(notes), Bal (KC, at Was), Jeremy Bonderman(notes), Det (ChW, at LAD), Dana Eveland(notes), Tor (Min, at Ari), Brad Bergesen(notes), Bal (KC, at Was), Kyle Davies(notes), KC (at Bal, Col), Freddy Garcia(notes), ChW (at Det, Fla), David Huff(notes), Cle (at TB, Cin), Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes), Sea (at Oak, SD)
Other NL Double Dippers: Derek Lowe(notes), Atl (NYM, at Pit), Randy Wells(notes), ChC (Col, at Tex), Edwin Jackson(notes), Ari (at Fla, Tor), Carlos Silva(notes), ChC (Col, at Tex), Chris Volstad(notes), Fla (Ari, at ChW), Homer Bailey, Cin (Mil, at Cle), Aaron Cook(notes), Col (at ChC, at KC), Kyle Lohse(notes), StL (Was, LAA), Zach Duke(notes), Pit (at Phi, Atl), Kyle Kendrick(notes), Phi (Pit, Bos), Bud Norris(notes), Hou (at LAD, TB), Kris Medlen(notes), Atl (NYM, at Pit), Dave Bush(notes), Mil (at Cin, at Min), John Lannan(notes), Was (at StL, Bal), Cesar Valdez(notes), Ari (at Fla, Tor), Charlie Morton(notes), Pit (at Phi, Atl), Craig Stammen(notes), Was (at StL, Bal)
FEAST OR FAMINE?
Torn between two stat-similar infielders this week? Use the pitching and hitting staff sorters below to help you decide whether or not Adam LaRoche(notes) or Carl Pavano(notes) is fantasy feast or famine. Stats are for games played through May 15:
Image courtesy of AP