Weekly Rundown

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.

LEADING OFF

John Baker, a staple on Billy Beane's wish list in "Moneyball," a book which heavyweights in Hollywood ridiculously feel would make an interesting film, is quietly blossoming in Florida. In early action, the former Cal standout has amassed a .308 BA with a pair of threes in RBI and runs. Oblivious novices would idiotically label that stat line useless, but Baker's contributions have been much appreciated for those who play in challenging formats.

In deeper leagues, burdensome catchers can be a perpetual thorn-in-the-side, fly-in-the-ointment, Johjima-in-the-Easter-basket to fantasy owners. Their horrendous batting averages and minor statistical yields can humiliate and frustrate even the most seasoned manager.

However, the 16 percent-owned Baker is the position's magical elixir.

Acquired from Oakland in 2007 for one-bagger Jason Stokes, the 28-year-old should continue to thrive sandwiched between Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez as the Marlins' No. 2 hitter. As Baker predicted earlier this spring, he's already seen a steady diet of fastballs (58.7 percent of viewed pitches), many of which he's deposited in green spaces.

Although he'll cede playing time to Ronny Paulino against southpaws, his outstanding strike-zone judgment (career 13.9 BB%), line-drive stroke and runs-favorable lineup position should bear many fruits.

His power totals will be modest, but his overall body of work won't be. In fact, the value disparity between him and San Francisco wunderkind Pablo Sandoval could wind up being smaller than you might think. That's more than Jeremy Brown could ever sayâ¦

Fearless Forecast: 408 at-bats, .288 BA, 10 HR, 61 RBI, 70 R, 2 SB

QUICK HITTERS

As expected, a bullpen controversy is brewing in the Windy City. After Kevin Gregg had blown a save in Milwaukee the day before, Carlos Marmol, not Gregg, trotted in from the pen last night to shut the door. The dynamite Dominican freeze-framed Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder with a barrage of filthy sliders to log his first save of '09. But despite the captivating performances, Lou Piniella remains committed to giving Gregg the ball in the ninth:

"He came in and did a heck of a job. I said when the season started that there would be opportunities for both of them. Tomorrow if we get in a similar situation, Gregg will be in there."

Gregg is still likely to accumulate the most saves between the two, but a loose two-man committee could be in the works.

Popular draft day Rip Van Winkles Scott Baker and Max Scherzer will be activated from the 15-day DL and take the mound for their respective clubs this week.

Baker pitched brilliantly in his lone rehab start. Wearing Fort Myers threads (Single-A), the crafty righty yielded just one earned run in seven innings. He also posted a 3:1 K:BB split. Ron Gardenhire plans to limit the Twins' No. 3 to roughly 95-100 pitches Wednesday against Toronto. Based on the torrid start by the Blue Jays and the shackles attached to Baker's arm, it would be wise to keep him benched.

As for "Da Schiznit," his rehab start was more adventurous, but equally encouraging. In 4.2 innings for Single-A Visalia, the bazooka-armed righty was routinely clocked between 92-96 mph. He allowed one earned on one hit, but walked four. Mad Max also struck out five.

Scherzer is slated to face St. Louis Tuesday. His secondary stuff still needs more polish, but due to his high-K upside, he's worth risking this week.

Battered, bruised or should not be used: Hiroki Kuroda (strained rib muscle), Jose Guillen (groin), Scott Lewis (elbow), Geovany Soto (shoulder, day-to-day), Brandon Webb (shoulder, will likely start Friday), Garrett Anderson (calf, day-to-day), Justin Upton (destructive whiffs)

DOUBLE DIPPERS
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.

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Jon Lester, Bos

at Oak

vs. Bal

Compiled 2.35 ERA in 42.2 IP versus Oak/Bal last year

2

Scott Kazmir, TB

vs. NYY

vs. ChW

Brillant at home a year ago - 2.90 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8 W

3

Kevin Slowey, Min

vs. Tor

vs. LAA

Afflicted by gopheritis in first start -- 2 HR, 4:11 GB:FB split

4

AJ Burnett, NYY

at TB

vs. Cle

Uncharacteristically accurate in debut -- 6:1 K:BB, 2 ER, W

5

Zack Greinke, KC

vs. Cle

at Tex

Mowed down Rangers last season - 13 IP, 2 ER, 14 K

6

Matt Garza, TB

NYY

ChW

Superb in inagural '08 outing - 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, W at Bos

7

Jon Danks, ChW

at Det

at TB

Filthy southpaw road warrior a year ago - 2.92 ERA, 7-3 mark

8

Fausto Carmona, Cle

at KC

at NYY

Unusual 0.75 GB/FB ratio in first start; needs splitter to work

9

Chien-Ming Wang, NYY

at TB

vs. Cle

Humiliated April 8 at Baltimore - 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 0:3 K:BB split

10

Gavin Floyd, ChW

at Det

at TB

7 IP, 9:2 K:BB, 2 ER vs. KC shows '08 wasn't a fluke

11

Jesse Litsch, Tor

at Min

vs. Oak

Pounded by Detroit's big boppers last week - 3 HR, 5 ER, 6 IP

12

Vincente Padilla, Tex

vs. Bal

vs. KC

Suprisingly effective in spurts last year but only 3-5 at home

13

Koji Uehara, Bal

at Tex

at Bos

Wang-like in terms of minimal Ks, but a control freak

14

Glen Perkins, Min

vs. Tor

vs. LAA

Sensational start vs. Sea Apr 9 squandered by zero support

15

Dallas Braden, Oak

vs. Bos

at Tor

A's opening day starter has yielded 6 ER in 6 IP vs Bos/Tor

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Chad Billingsley, LAD

vs. SF

vs. Col

$100 Bills worth every penny in debut -- W, 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 K

2

Javier Vazquez, Atl

vs. Fla

at Pit

Earned no decision in 12-11 L at Phi Apr 8 - 6 IP, 3 ER, 5 K

3

Yovani Gallardo, Mil

vs. Cin

at NYM

First P ever to go yard on Unit; W, 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 K at SF

4

Chris Carpenter, StL

at Ari

at ChC

Carp's one-hit gem proved dynamite spring wasn't a mirage

5

Edinson Volquez, Cin

at Mil

at Hou

Paid price for walk-heavy ways Apr 8 - 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4:4 K:BB

6

Ted Lilly, ChC

vs. Col

vs. StL

Punished by long-ball at Hou (4 HR) but earned W

7

Randy Johnson, SF

at LAD

vs. Ari

Rocky first start vs. Mil but 7:1 K:BB shows value potential

8

Chris Volstad, Fla

at Atl

at Was

Control will plague him at times but K upside feeds value

9

Jamie Moyer, Phi

at Was

vs. SD

Grandpa Moyer dominated Was last year - 2.54 ERA in 5 GS

10

Mike Pelfrey, NYM

vs. SD

vs. Mil

Always fond of home crowd -- 3.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in '08

11

Zach Duke, Pit

vs. Hou

vs. Atl

Impressed in chilly St. Louis -- 6.1 IP, ER, 4:2 K:BB

12

Doug Davis, Ari

vs. StL

at SF

Double-D has posted saggy numbers at AT&T -- 5.23 ERA

13

Todd Wellemeyer, StL

at Ari

at ChC

Tattooed by Pit Apr 8 -- 12 HA, 5 ER; 3.32 ERA vs ChC in '08

14

Daniel Cabrera, Was

vs. Phi

vs. Fla

Walking disaster yielded 5 ER in 6 IP at Florida April 8

15

Walter Silva, SD

at NYM

at Phi

Admirable 2 ER in 5 IP vs. LAD last week, but 1:4 K:BB ugly

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – American League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Jon Lester, Bos

at Oak

vs. Bal

Compiled 2.35 ERA in 42.2 IP versus Oak/Bal last year

2

Scott Kazmir, TB

vs. NYY

vs. ChW

Brillant at home a year ago - 2.90 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8 W

3

Kevin Slowey, Min

vs. Tor

vs. LAA

Afflicted by gopheritis in first start -- 2 HR, 4:11 GB:FB split

4

AJ Burnett, NYY

at TB

vs. Cle

Uncharacteristically accurate in debut -- 6:1 K:BB, 2 ER, W

5

Zack Greinke, KC

vs. Cle

at Tex

Mowed down Rangers last season - 13 IP, 2 ER, 14 K

6

Matt Garza, TB

NYY

ChW

Superb in inagural '08 outing - 7 IP, 1 ER, 5 K, W at Bos

7

Jon Danks, ChW

at Det

at TB

Filthy southpaw road warrior a year ago - 2.92 ERA, 7-3 mark

8

Fausto Carmona, Cle

at KC

at NYY

Unusual 0.75 GB/FB ratio in first start; needs splitter to work

9

Chien-Ming Wang, NYY

at TB

vs. Cle

Humiliated April 8 at Baltimore - 3.2 IP, 7 ER, 0:3 K:BB split

10

Gavin Floyd, ChW

at Det

at TB

7 IP, 9:2 K:BB, 2 ER vs. KC shows '08 wasn't a fluke

11

Jesse Litsch, Tor

at Min

vs. Oak

Pounded by Detroit's big boppers last week - 3 HR, 5 ER, 6 IP

12

Vincente Padilla, Tex

vs. Bal

vs. KC

Suprisingly effective in spurts last year but only 3-5 at home

13

Koji Uehara, Bal

at Tex

at Bos

Wang-like in terms of minimal Ks, but a control freak

14

Glen Perkins, Min

vs. Tor

vs. LAA

Sensational start vs. Sea Apr 9 squandered by zero support

15

Dallas Braden, Oak

vs. Bos

at Tor

A's opening day starter has yielded 6 ER in 6 IP vs Bos/Tor

Top 15 Two-Start Pitchers – National League

RNK

PLAYER

OPP1

OPP2

1

Chad Billingsley, LAD

vs. SF

vs. Col

$100 Bills worth every penny in debut -- W, 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 K

2

Javier Vazquez, Atl

vs. Fla

at Pit

Earned no decision in 12-11 L at Phi Apr 8 - 6 IP, 3 ER, 5 K

3

Yovani Gallardo, Mil

vs. Cin

at NYM

First P ever to go yard on Unit; W, 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 K at SF

4

Chris Carpenter, StL

at Ari

at ChC

Carp's one-hit gem proved dynamite spring wasn't a mirage

5

Edinson Volquez, Cin

at Mil

at Hou

Paid price for walk-heavy ways Apr 8 - 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 4:4 K:BB

6

Ted Lilly, ChC

vs. Col

vs. StL

Punished by long-ball at Hou (4 HR) but earned W

7

Randy Johnson, SF

at LAD

vs. Ari

Rocky first start vs. Mil but 7:1 K:BB shows value potential

8

Chris Volstad, Fla

at Atl

at Was

Control will plague him at times but K upside feeds value

9

Jamie Moyer, Phi

at Was

vs. SD

Grandpa Moyer dominated Was last year - 2.54 ERA in 5 GS

10

Mike Pelfrey, NYM

vs. SD

vs. Mil

Always fond of home crowd -- 3.02 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in '08

11

Zach Duke, Pit

vs. Hou

vs. Atl

Impressed in chilly St. Louis -- 6.1 IP, ER, 4:2 K:BB

12

Doug Davis, Ari

vs. StL

at SF

Double-D has posted saggy numbers at AT&T -- 5.23 ERA

13

Todd Wellemeyer, StL

at Ari

at ChC

Tattooed by Pit Apr 8 -- 12 HA, 5 ER; 3.32 ERA vs ChC in '08

14

Daniel Cabrera, Was

vs. Phi

vs. Fla

Walking disaster yielded 5 ER in 6 IP at Florida April 8

15

Walter Silva, SD

at NYM

at Phi

Admirable 2 ER in 5 IP vs. LAD last week, but 1:4 K:BB ugly

Remaining NL Double Dippers: Brian Moehler, Hou (at Pit, Cin)

Remaining AL Double Dippers: Carlos Silva, Sea (LAA, Det), Carl Pavano, Cle (at KC, at NYY), Zach Miner, Det (ChW, at Sea), Rickey Romero, Tor (at Min, Oak), Shane Loux, LAA (at Sea, at Min)

Note: Due to technical difficulties with our blog software, the conventional form of the Weekly Rundown is only temporary. Look for it next week in our Roto Arcade blog.

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