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:
- Mr. Redlegs is about to blow a stitch. Whispers around the Queen City indicate Cincinnati top pitching prospect Homer Bailey could make his Major League debut next Saturday against intra-state rival Cleveland. According to Reds manager Jerry Narron, Bailey's potential debut "might be bigger than bobblehead night." The 21-year-old fireballer was the Reds top pick in the 2004 draft. He's equipped with a filthy repertoire, which includes a mid-90s fastball, knee-buckling 12-to-6 bender and a plus change. In nine Louisville starts this year, the flame-throwing Texan has tallied a microscopic 1.89 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and has punched out 43 batters in 52.2 IP. Owned in a tiny 1.25 percent of Y! leagues, pick him up in all 12-team formats. But tread cautiously. Bailey has had command issues at times (3.6 BB/9 at Triple-A) and will be inconsistent. If he sticks, I would anticipate numbers comparable to what Boof Bonser did last year (4.22 ERA 1.28 WHIP, 100.1 IP, 84 K).
- Four-letter network poster-child Roger Clemens had his Monday start scratched due to fatigue in his right groin. Yankees GM Brian Cashman believes the 45-year-old dinosaur will make his highly anticipated first start of '07 on either Friday or Saturday versus Pittsburgh. Broken down Daihatsu Kei Igawa is expected to start in Clemens' stead on Monday in Chicago. Igawa (14.1 percent owned) gave up four earned, whiffed six and walked one in his last Triple-A start on May 29. Command issues have bedeviled Igawa, but with a solid outing versus the White Sox he could force rookie Tyler Clippard back to the minors. Take another look in 14-team or greater mixed and AL only leagues. Given the massive run support the Pinstripe offense can provide, he could be a reasonable source of wins.
- Dinged Dodger Jason Schmidt (73.1 percent owned) is expected to return to the rotation on Tuesday versus Chris Young and the Padres. In his last bullpen session, Schmidt reportedly registered several fastballs in the low-90s, a stark improvement from his pedestrian low-80s speeds from earlier this year. If his shoulder can hold up, he could be in store for a banner run of quality starts. Pitch an offer now before his value skyrockets.
- Pittsburgh bullpen linebacker Matt Capps (9.5 percent owned) pitched a perfect ninth against the Dodgers on Saturday to convert his first save of '07. In an unexpected move, manager Jim Tracy removed Salomon Torres from the closer's role on Friday. Capps, projected to supplant Torres "no later than July 1" by yours truly in the May 2 edition of "Bringin' the Noise," will be an elite stopper in NL-only leagues and must be owned in all 12-team formats. His 95-mph gas and bulldog demeanor ranks him in a similar class as Al Reyes and Brian Fuentes.
- Minnesota's Joe Mauer ran the bases before Saturday's game and reported no soreness in his tender left quad. He is expected to play in a handful of extended spring training games this week and should return to the starting lineup on Friday. Mike Redmond will continue to don the mask in Mauer's place. If you have a surplus of starting pitching, now is a great time to buy low on Mauer. In Y! Plus leagues this week, he was dealt straight up for Rich Hill, Ben Sheets and Brad Penny.
Hidden lumberjacks (Last 7 days)
Jose Guillen, OF, Sea (7-24, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8.2% owned), Greg Dobbs, 1B/3B, Phi (4-15, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 0.20%), Brendan Harris, 2B, TB (6-20, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2.5%), Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Bos (14-22, HR, 4 RBI, 1.8%), Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Cin (9-26, HR, 4 RBI, 5.9%)
Whiffers o' the weak (Last 7 days)
Jeremy Hermida, OF, Fla (5-27, 11 K, 8.8% owned), Jim Thome, DH, ChW (3-24, 10 K, 99.6%), Sammy Sosa, OF, Tex (3-27, 9 K, 90.9%), Howie Kendrick, 2B, LAA (3-25, 8 K, 79.6%), Alex Gordon, 3B, KC (1-18, 7 K, 12.8%)
Inconspicuous thieves (Last 7 days)
Corey Hart, OF, Mil (10-22, 2 SBs, 0.94% owned), Nick Punto, 2B/SS/3B, Min (6-25, 4 SBs, 3.9%), Reggie Abercrombie, OF, Fla (3-15, 3 SBs, 0.08%), Tadahito Iguchi, 2B, ChW (7-23, 2 SB, 51.8%)
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: Kyle Davies (Fla, ChC), Wandy Rodriguez (at Col, at ChW), Jason Hirsh (Hou, at Bal), Paul Maholm (LAD, at NYY), Brad Thompson (Cin, LAA), Wes Obermueller (at Atl, TB), Mike Bacsik (Pit, at Min)
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 June 1:
|BEST AND WORST AT CATCHING BASE THIEFS (and this week's opponents)|
|BOTTOM 5 (Worst)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|Josh Bard, SD - (LA Dodgers, Seattle)||5||42||0.119|
|Jason Phillips, Tor - (Tampa Bay, at LA Dodgers)||4||31||0.129|
|Mike Napoli, LAA - (Minnesota, at St. Louis)||6||34||0.176|
|Jorge Posada, NYY - (at Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh)||9||49||0.183|
|Johnny Estrada, Mil - (Chicago Cubs, at Texas)||7||33||0.212|
|TOP 5 (Best)||CS||ATT||CS%|
|David Ross, Cin - (at St. Louis, Cleveland)||23||23||0.478|
|Ronny Paulino, Pit - (at Washington, at NY Yankees)||16||36||0.444|
|Mike Redmond, Min - (at LA Angels, Washington)||7||16||0.437|
|Kenji Johjima, Sea - (Baltimore, at San Diego)||10||24||0.416|
|Paul Lo Duca, NYM - (Philadelphia, at Detroit)||11||28||0.392|
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 June 2.