Weekly Rundown

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.

Leading Off
As we head into this week's schedule of games, here’s the nitty-gritty on a handful of notable names:

  • Blue Jays M.D. Roy Halladay (appendectomy) is expected to return to the Toronto rotation on Thursday almost two weeks ahead of schedule. After back-to-back marginal performances it appears Jesse Litsch will lose his rotation spot when Halladay is activated. Doc, currently sporting an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA, is a superb buy low player right now. His outstanding ulterior numbers (1.40 BB/9, 0.62 HR/9, .263 BAA) suggest a return to a sub-3.50 ERA is probable once he rounds back into form. Buy on a bear market.
  • Venemous Arizona rookie Mark Reynolds (98 percent available) went 5-for-5 with two homers and four RBI against the Houston Astros on Friday night. Advertised prominently in last week’s “Bringin’ the Noise” as a “quality source of HR and RBI,” it appears the youngster will remain in the cleanup spot until Bob Melvin is forced to make a decision when Chad Tracy returns from the DL. Tracy (rib cage) fielded grounders and took 25 swings off a tee without any setbacks on Saturday. There is no timetable set for his return. With Connor Jackson and Tony Clark batting a combined .250 on the year, Reynolds’ fiery lumber could force Melvin to eventually move Tracy to first where he has played nine games since 2006. If Reynolds logs 400 at-bats, 25 homers and 80-plus RBI are attainable.
  • Milwaukee rookie sensation Ryan Braun clubbed his first big league homer and swiped his first career bag on Saturday. Braun was recalled on Friday to replace the incredibly exciting duo of Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell and will be a permanent fixture in the two-hole in Ned Yost’s lineup. Braun packs 25 homer wallop and double-digit stolen base speed making him a must own in all 12-team leagues. He’s expected to clear waivers in Yahoo! leagues on Monday and is worth a top priority. In terms of value, he should be placed in the same class as Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Teahen.
  • Yahoo! fantasy coverboy Johnny Damon could miss the next four-to-five days with cramping in both calves and an irritated right Achilles. Damon has been limited by a menagerie of injuries this season (leg cramps, back strain, hamstring pull), which has ballooned his strikeout rate to an all-time high 17.1 K%. Owners have grown frustrated by Damon’s inability to remain in the lineup, which bodes well for discount seekers. He’s still drawing a large number of free passes (13.1 BB%) and is on a 34 SB pace. Fire a lowball offer if you have a need for speed.
  • Talent-rich Cincinnati outfielder Josh Hamilton, dropped in over 1200 Plus leagues this past week, is scheduled to begin an extensive rehab assignment at Triple-A Louisville on Monday and is expected to be activated from the DL on June 5. Reds skipper Jerry Narron hinted that once Hamilton regains his wind he will be reinserted in the lineup promptly. Jump back on the bandwagon if you’re hunting for a quality 25-30 HR, 15 SB outfielder.
  • Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days): Casey Blake, 3B, Cle (8-24, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 15.9% owned), Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, SD (7-20, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0.42%), Matt Stairs, OF, Tor (6-18, 3 HR, 6 RBI 0.10%), Ramon Vazquez, SS/3B, Tex (8-16, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 0.05%), Casey Kotchman, 1B, LAA (11-19, HR, 5 RBI 1.4%)
  • Whiffers o’ the weak(Last 7 days): Jack Cust, OF, Oak (2-19, 10 K, 68.8% owned), Jeremy Hermida, OF, Fla (2-23, 9 K, 8.5%), Adam Dunn, OF, Cin (3-21, 8 K, 99.9%), Khalil Greene, SS, SD (1-20, 6 K, 31.4%), Jose Reyes, SS (3-23, 6 K, 100%)
  • Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days): Fred Lewis, OF, SF (3-19, 2 SBs, 2.7% owned), Kazuo Matsui, SS, Col (3-17, 2 SBs, 6.5%), Tony Gwynn, OF, Mil (4-17, 2 SBs, 0.53%), Nook Logan, OF, Was (8-27, 2 SB, 0.10%)

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.

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League
1 Brad Penny at Was at Pit
  • Pit/Was combined .244 BA, 3.8 RPG
2 Oliver Perez SF Ari
  • Man-crush - 3W, 1.17 ERA L3
3 Ben Sheets Atl Fla
  • Holy Sheets – 1.05 WHIP at home
4 Tim Lincecum at NYM at Phi
  • Mighty Mouse – 20:3 K:BB L3
5 Ian Snell at Cin LAD
  • 2 ER in 14 IP vs Cin/LAD
6 Tom Gorzelanny SD LAD
  • May maestro – 1.95 ERA
7 Dontrelle Willis at ChC at Mil
  • 3.34 ERA, 1.39 WHIP on road
8 Jeff Francis StL Cin
  • 4 straight QS; 1.54 ERA
9 Chris Capuano Atl Fla
  • Abysmal 9.45 ERA L3
10 Braden Looper at Col at Hou
  • 40% ERA spike away
11 Doug Davis at Phi at NYM
  • Ugly 4.9 BB/9, but 6 QS
12 Freddy Garcia Ari SF
  • 5.14 ERA in Citizen’s Bank
13 David Wells at Pit at Was
  • Boom time – 2 ER last 15 IP
14 Chuck James at Mil at ChC
  • Chucky away – 4.64 ERA
15 Sean Marshall Fla Atl
  • Shocker special – 0.06% owned
Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League
1 Johan Santana ChW at Oak
  • Sick 24:3 K:BB since May 17
2 Jeremy Bonderman at TB at Cle
  • 1st game back – 8 IP, 0 ER, 6K
3 Ervin Santana Sea Bal
  • Homebody – 3 W, 2.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
4 Bartolo Colon Sea Bal
  • Eats opponents at home – 2.14 ERA
5 Andy Pettitte at Tor at Bos
  • Five QS and only 8 BB since Apr 27td>
6 Chad Gaudin Tex Min
  • QS robot – 5 since Apr 17
7 Curt Schilling Cle NYY
  • Spanked by Yanks – 10 ER in 13 IP
8 Cliff Lee at Bos Det
  • Tattooed for 14 ER in L3
9 Jeremy Guthrie at KC at LAA
  • 4 ER in last 28.1 IP – 2% owned
10 Jon Garland at Min at Tor
  • May bloomer – 2.83 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
11 Jon Danks at Min at Tor
  • Three straight Ws with 1.89 ERA
12 Chad Durbin at TB at Cle
  • Fifth in the AL with 8.03 RS
13 Jeremy Sowers at Bos Det
  • Back? 7 IP, ER, BB on May 24
14 Shaun Marcum NYY ChW
  • In rotation 2.84 ERA, 0.84 WHIP
15 Robinson Tejeda at Oak at Sea
  • Pitcher parks play

Remaining AL Two-Start Pitchers: Steve Trachsel (at KC, at LAA), Miguel Batista (at LAA, Tex), Casey Fossum (Det, KC), Dustin McGowan (NYY, ChW), Scott Elarton (Bal, at TB)

Remaining NL Two-Start Pitchers: Jason Jennings (Cin, StL), Matt Belisle (at Hou, at Col), Kyle Lohse (Pit, at Col), Kip Wells (at Col, at Hou), Byung-Hyun Kim (at ChC, at Mil), Taylor Buchholz (StL, Cin), Jason Simontacchi (LAD, SD)

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 26:

BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)
Josh Bard, SD – (at Pittsburgh; at Washington) 4 39 .102
Jason Phillips, Tor – (NY Yankees; vs. Chicago White Sox) 4 24 .167
Mike Napoli, LAA – (Seattle; Baltimore) 5 30 .167
Jorge Posada, NYY – (at Toronto; at Boston) 9 45 .200
Dioner Navarro, TB – (Detroit; Kansas City) 6 29 .207
TOP 5 (Best) CS ATT CS%
Joe Mauer, Min – (Chicago White Sox; at Oakland) 7 11 .636
Yadier Molina, StL – (at Colorado; at Houston) 8 14 .571
David Ross, Cin – (Pittsburgh; at Colorado) 11 23 .478
Ronny Paulino, Pit – (at Cincinnati; LA Dodgers) 16 34 .470
Paul Lo Duca – (San Francisco; Arizona) 11 25 .440

AL Steals Shopping: Darin Erstad, ChW, OF (6.3% owned), Esteban German, KC, 2B/3B/OF (1.1% owned), Pablo Ozuna, ChW, 3B/OF (0.14% owned), Yuniesky Betancourt, Sea, SS (1.8% owned)

NL Steals Shopping: Chris Duffy, Pit, OF (36.1% owned), Nook Logan, Was, OF (0.06% 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 27.

Tampa Bay 5.42 Det KC
Texas 5.24 at Oak at Sea
Kansas City 4.72 Bal at TB
Oakland 3.47 Tex Min
Boston 3.64 Cle NYY
LA Angels 3.68 Sea Bal
Colorado 4.69 StL Cin
Cincinnati 4.63 at Hou at Col
Philadelphia 4.55 Ari SF
San Diego 3.06 at Pit at Was
New York Mets 3.38 SF Ari
LA Dodgers 3.68 at Was at Pit