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5/31 - Yesterday, I commented that I may have had the only fantasy baseball team in the world that started Jeremey Hefner against the Yankees. That same team also started Dillon Gee last night, as he gave up only one run on 4 hits in 7.1 IP, striking out 12 Yankees. Perhaps you’re wondering how bad a fantasy team must be to have both Jeremy Hefner and Dillon Gee on the pitching staff? And of course, you’d be right to wonder that. Things haven’t gone so well until the last couple for days for those two, as the pair now sports an aggregate ERA of 5.21 and a WHIP of 1.44
Today’s MLB action returns to normal, with only one interleague series (Toronto @ SD), and only one day game (Dbacks @ Wrigley). The weather looks iffy at several midwestern venues, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the skies in Minnesota, Cleveland, and St. Louis as the day progresses.
5/30 - The Memorial Tournament is up and running. Boo Weekley is no longer the GuruGolf favorite, since he’s not there. That honor now belongs to Marc Leishman, on about 25% of all foursomes – although Matt Kuchar appears only one time less than Leishman.
The Mets have taken three straight from the Yankees, and could complete the crosstown sweep tonight. The first two games – in Citi Field – were pitchers duels, with the Mets twice overtaking the Yankees to win 2-1. Last night’s game in Yankee Stadium opened with a 5-spot on the scoreboard before the Yankees even came to the plate. I may have had the only fantasy team in the universe who started Jeremy Hefner last night, but he somehow managed to get his first win of the season. The Mets had lost every one of his previous nine starts.
5/29 - I was clicking back and forth between the Heat/Pacers game and the Yankees/Mets game. Both were coming down to the wire. Suddenly, separated by only a few minutes, two very unusual events transpired. LeBron James fouled out, and then Mariano Rivera blew a save and lost the game. It was only the second time in his career that LeBron had fouled out of a playoff game. It was Rivera’s first blown save this year – but more incredibly, it was the first time in his career that he blew a save without recording a single out.
The Memorial Tournament tees off in Ohio tomorrow. More than 100 GuruGolf teams still have inactive golfers, so get those foursomes set up! This is the next-to-last tournament in the “Spring to the Open” Contest, and both the best and worst ball formats are closely contested.
5/28 - After the Memorial Day hiatus, I need to backtrack to the weekend’s GuruGolf results. The top best ball score was posted by Long Island Divots (-51), while the worst ball results were headed by West Texas Low Ballers (+45). Boo Weekley redeemed himself from his prior week’s debacle, not only winning the tournament, but also posting the top GuruGolf stats with 24 birdies. By comparison, tournament runner-up Matt Kuchar had only 17 birdies, and no other golfer had more than 21 birdies.
Not only were all 30 MLB teams scheduled to play on Memorial Day (which is atypical for the past decode or so), but every game was an interleague game, and one was even an originally scheduled doubleheader (as opposed to one resulting from a postponement). I’ll bet that 16 interleague games on one day is a record, since prior to this year, there were only 14 teams in the American League. The A.L. went 9-7 on the day.
The Spurs dispatched the Grizzlies in four straight, and now get a 10-day layoff before the June 6th start of the NBA Finals. If the Heat can close out Indy in 5 games, they’ll be done a week before the start of the finals., and now holds a 41-36 lead for interleague play results to date
5/24 - I fully expected the Boston fans to give Terry Francona a rousing ovation on his return to Fenway. When the team showed a video tribute on the scoreboard, that was an especially classy move. And when the Indians trounced the Red Sox 12-3, well…it was a good day to be “Tito”.
Today may not be as kind, with cold, wet weather putting tonight’s Fenway game in peril. Apparently, the yucky weather is not too widespread, as the weather dashboard doesn’t show significant problems elsewhere – at least not yet. Couldn’t prove it by looking out the windows at RotoGuru World Headquarters, though.
5/23 - The Pacers hung with the Heat for the entire game, almost prevailing at the end. However, with 2.2 seconds to go, they gave LeBron a virtually uncontested layup to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Was this game a sign that the series will be closely contested throughout? Or, might this already have been the game to break the Pacers’ back? We’ll see.
In two starts this month, the Indians have scored 9 runs off of Justin Verlander in 10 innings. Unfortunately for them, they’ve given up 17 runs in those two games. So it’s not so bad that they split those two games. Ubaldo Jimenez was the Tribe starter in both of those games, and his ERA now stands at 6.04. Amazingly, Cleveland has won in six of his nine starts this year.
In GuruGolf, Boo Weekley remains the popular favorite, in spite of last week’s +11. Once again, he tees off in the afternoon, so we’ll have to wait to see whether GuruGolf patience is rewarded.
5/22 - Mike Trout has been somewhat overshadowed this season by Miguel Cabrera and by the woeful start of the Angels. But after Trout hit for the cycle last night I looked him up on the ESPN Player Rater for the RIBC and was surprised to see that Trout is now ranked #3. So while he may not quite be producing at last season’s ridiculous levels, those who drafted him #1 should be relatively satisfied so far.
Cabrera, of course, is ranked at the top. The real stunner is the player ranked #2: Jean Segura. He’s flashing 5-tool talent for the first quarter of the season, with a .964 OPS and 14 steals. Can he sustain that pace? RotoWire projects him for only a .682 OPS for the rest of the season. Accuscore projects .788. BaseballHQ.com projects .755. So I guess the “experts” aren’t believers. He was only a 14th round pick in the RIBC drafts this spring. One school of thought would be that if you have him, now is the time to “sell high.” Or, you could just hold on and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts, figuring that at this point, you’re playing with house money.
The Crowne Plaza Invitational tees off tomorrow morning. Make sure your GuruGolf foursomes are set.
5/21 - The NBA draft lottery takes place tonight, the opening act before game #2 of the Western Conference finals. There’s not much suspense this year, since there’s not even a dominant consensus top pick. But if you’re looking to find a conspiracy theory to support whichever team the lottery ultimately favors, here you go.
I thought I might have jinxed the Indians yesterday when I commented on their early season prowess. They took a 6-5 lead into the 8th inning, but Seattle homered in the top of each of the 8th, 9th, and 10th innings. Undaunted, the Tribe tied it up in the bottom of the ninth on a 2-out pitcher’s fielding error, and then won in the 10th on a 3-run homer. This is the team that also stole a win several weeks ago when the umpires inexplicably failed to call an obvious home run after reviewing instant replay. Something magical may be at play here.
5/20 - Every now and then, the Cleveland Indians are decent. Usually not when they are expected to be. And sometimes it’s fleeting. Which is one reason why I feel compelled to point out that they are now 8 games over .500 with a two game lead in the AL Central, even though we’ve only completed one-quarter of the season. History suggests that by the time we get to the midpoint, it might be too late to gloat. Off-season acquisitions Mark Reynolds and Nick Swisher are key components of the success, while Justin Masterson has already been involved in four shutouts, two of them complete game 1-0 gems. And is Terry Francona also a reason for the success? Who knows?
Boo Weekley was the most widely owned GuruGolfer this week, so his +11 didn’t go unnoticed by many. Unsurprisingly, the weekly winners were Weekley-free, with two Boo-less teams tied for the top best ball score (-48). On the worst ball side, top scoring Masters (+48) was able to make better use of Weekley, who personally contributed +12 to that team’s score, in spite of sitting out the weekend.
5/17 - With only one series remaining in the second round of the NBA playoffs, it’s likely that daily contests for NBA games have come to an end for this season. I’ve been maintaining the sortable stats for hoops throughout the playoffs so far, but will be ending that now. Even if some of the contest sites offer 2-day contests with just two games on back-to-back nights, the sortable stats aren’t really a useful tool for analysis with such limited choices. So, if you’ve been using the sortable stats for hoops this season, and especially if you’ve been playing at any of the affiliated contest sites after registering under my referral code, thanks for the support.
Yesterday produced a tough outing for the guy who was the consensus #1 starter in preseason drafts. Justin Verlander failed to survive the 3rd inning in Texas while getting shelled for 8 earned runs. That increased his ERA from 1.93 to 3.17. Last year, he never failed to work at least 5 innings, and only once was tagged for as many as 8 ER.
On the flip side, Stephen Strasburg surrendered only one earned run in 8 innings in San Diego, raising his W/L record to 2-5, while lowering his ERA to 2.83 – now 0.34 lower than Verlander’s! I was surprised to learn that this was the first time Strasburg has ever pitched into the 8th inning of a major league start. Last year, he only went 7 innings 5 times in 28 starts. Yesterday’s pitch count of 117 was not a career high, however, as he threw 119 pitches over six innings in a game at Fenway last June.
5/16 - Well, now that the Bulls have been eliminated, we don’t have to hear the daily “news” that Derrick Rose will not play in next game. At least, not until the fall.
In round 9 of the RIBC draft this March, I took C.J. Wilson as my first starting pitcher, when Jon Lester was still available. I recall that Lester was definitely on my radar, too, but I just didn’t trust him after last year’s 4.38 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Guess that decision didn’t work out so well. At least, not so far.
Boo Weekley is the popular favorite in GuruGolf this week, on one-third of active foursomes for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. He doesn’t tee off until afternoon, so as of this moment, we don’t know how that seems to be working out.
5/15 - Earlier this week, I added a feature to the Batter vs. Pitcher report at DailyBaseBalldata.com that produces the underlying data in a comma-separated-value text file, suitable for import into a spreadsheet. If you prefer to manipulate your own data, you may find this to be useful.
The HP Byron Nelson Championship tees off tomorrow morning in Irving, Texas. The field has undergone some modest revisions since the beginning of the week, so be sure to recheck your GuruGolf foursome if you set it early in the week.
5/14 - It’s a rare day when the RotoGuru Quote of the Day is from the NHL – but when the Bruins come from 3 behind in the 3rd period (and down 2 in the last 90 seconds or regulation) to win in overtime in a Game 7, that seems like the event to feature.
In baseball, the Indians managed to score only one run in 18 innings of a twin bill against the Yankees – and yet they finished 1-1 on the day. That’s when you know things are going well.
5/13 - The golf battle between Tiger and Sergio was coming down to the wire and the NBA game between the Spurs and Warriors was heading into overtime. Thank goodness for TiVo!
Kudos to Danny Noonan, who not only posted the top GuruGolf score (-49) by three strokes in the PLAYERS Championship, but did so with a roster value of less than $4000. Individually, the top golfer of the Senden-Leonard-Kelly-Sabbatini foursome finished only 37th at -2 (Kelley). But they meshed well as a team.
The top worst ball team was SANFORDORS4 (+55).
The Knicks played in Indiana in the later game on Saturday, followed by the Spurs at Golden State in the only game on Sunday. That’s an awful lot of yellow T-shirts in back-to-back games!
5/10 - Last night’s Angels@Astros game required 4 hours and 7 minutes to complete, a 6-5 9-inning win for the Angels. It was the longest 9-inning game in the history of Minute Maid Park. Houston, welcome to the American League!
One reason for the long game was a dispute over pitcher substitution in the 7th inning, as the Astros tried to (and were allowed to) replace a pitcher who had not yet faced a batter. The umpires got it wrong, based on all authoritative accounts I’ve heard. After the umpiring debacle in Cleveland the night before (which MLB acknowledged as an incorrect call), it has not been a good week for umpires.
Tonight’s weather in Cincy (vs. Milwaukee) looks problematic. Plan accordingly.
5/9 - I can confirm Bob Melvin’s assertion that even the Cleveland announcers thought that last night’s disputed call should have been a home run. I was driving at the time and listening to the Cleveland announcers call the play live (on XM radio). Within seconds after the play, they commented that the call would obviously be overturned and ruled a HR, after which they rambled on about the consequences of Masterson’s no-decision and Perez’ blown save. So they were as flummoxed as Melvin when the umpires returned to rule that the replay was inconclusive. Good for Cleveland! Not so good for the umpires, or for baseball in general, as that call then became the focus of discussion on ESPN for the rest of the night and into this morning.
The Miami Heat put a beatdown on the Bulls last night in Miami, to no one’s big surprise. The Warriors surged to a 19-point lead at halftime in San Antonio, but this time managed to hold on for a 9-point win, evening that series – and certainly giving the Warriors confidence that they really can advance past the Spurs. Imagine if the Western Conference finals come down to Golden State and Memphis. Could happen!
No NBA playoff games are scheduled tonight. What’s up with that?
5/8 - Interleague play started way back in 1997, so at first blush, it seems surprising that yesterday was only the 4th all-time meeting between the Mets and the White Sox. I’m sure it’s because the Mets always face the Yankees, and the White Sox always face the Cubs, and those forced matchups often end up canceling out the normal rotational matchups. In any event, after facing Matt Harvey last night, I’m sure the White Sox have no inclination to see more of the Mets.
My RIBC team has had a tough start this season, with my top three picks – Stanton, Reyes, and Bourn – all on the DL. Fortunately, I snagged Harvey in round 12, and after last night, my team has moved up to 9th place. Not what I am shooting for, but at least my pitching is propping up my hitting for the time being. Steals are especially problematic, with Reyes and Bourn both on the shelf. So much for getting an early jump on that category.
The PLAYERS Championship tees off early tomorrow morning. Be sure to get your GuruGolf foursomes set.
5/7 - FanDuel has been a leader in the daily fantasy arena for many years. The scoring formula is simple and intuitive. Baseball lineups are simple and focused, with only one starting pitcher and no relievers. Salary caps can be standard or at a lower “expert” level, which appeals to those whose strength is in finding bargains among cheaper players. The site features heads-up contests as well as 5- and 10-player formats with entry fees ranging from $1 to $535. The user base is deep, so you don’t have to play against the same names day after day, and for head-up contests, you can see the opponent for open challenges before entering.
FanDuel data (player points and salaries) are incorporated in the RotoGuru sortable stats, which is a useful tool for evaluating daily lineup decisions. Note that the sortable stats also provide filtering for daily starting pitchers and opposite handed hitters. When used with the other tools available at DailyBaseballData.com, there is a lot of home-grown info to work with.
If you have never tried FanDuel, they also offer free games so that you can try it out. Register using this FanDuel link, and if/when you decide to deposit funds, you’ll be eligible for a bonus based on the size your first deposit - $5 on a $10 deposit, $10 on a $25 deposit, $20 on a $100 deposit, $30 on a $200 deposit. And you’ll be supporting RotoGuru.net in the process!
5/6 - Phil Mickelson finished bogey-bogey, and tour rookie Derek Ernst slid by to win the Wells Fargo Championship. Mickelson was on 12 GuruGolf foursomes; Ernst was on none. Playoff loser David Lynn was actually on more GuruGolf foursomes than either of them – 17 – and he helped to propel Cyberwahoo6 (-45) to the top best ball performance of the GuruGolf weekend. Worst ball honors went to pfb (+50).
I guess Rick Pitino won’t be getting a Kentucky Derby winner’s tattoo. Not this year, at least.
5/3 - After reviewing starting pitchers yesterday, today I took a gander at the current fantasy point rankings for hitters. To be sure, there are some predictable names near the top, including Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Justin Upton, and Bryce Harper. All six are among the top ten hitters so far, and all were consensus first round draft picks in the RIBC leagues. If you drafted any of them, you’re getting what you paid for.
But there are a few other names who are producing way above their ADPs. Here is my lineup of overachievers (average RIBC draft round in parentheses):
All currently rank in the top 30 hitters in YTD DraftStreet points. Some – maybe all - are unlikely to maintain their April pace. But that list looks like a pretty sweet draft. And the 14th round looks like the value round.
5/2 - Most top MLB starting pitchers now have six starts in 2013. I looked at results using several different fantasy point systems, and the current top five were the same in all systems: Clay Buchholz, Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey, Anibel Sanchez, and Adam Wainwright. The only one of those who was among the top ten drafted starting pitchers in the five RIBC leagues is Yu Darvish, who was the 10th. Wainwright was 14th, and the highest of the other three was Sanchez (38th). Arguably, Matt Moore (drafted 27th) should be on the list, since his 6th start isn’t until tomorrow, and his average per-start stats would rank him third overall. Also, the ESPN player rater (rankings based on 5x5 roto scoring) has Jordan Zimmerman (drafted 21st) ranked fourth, ahead of Wainwright and Sanchez.
Obviously, six starts does not a season make. But the correlation between fantasy ADP and subsequent performance doesn’t look very strong so far.
The GuruGolf foursomes for the Wells Fargo Championship are reasonably diverse this week. Boo Weekley is the most popular GuruGolfer, but he’s on less than 30% of active foursomes. Jimmy Walker is the only other golfer who appears on at least 20% of foursomes. Weekley currently shares the early lead at -3 through 13 holes, so that seems to be working out so far. Walker tees off this afternoon.
5/1 - May Day came early for Roy Halladay, as Cleveland touched him up for 8 runs (with 3 long balls) in less than 4 innings last night, raising Halladay’s season ERA to 6.75. He’s had a Jekyll & Hyde season so far. In three of his six starts, he’s given up only one or two runs. In the other three, he hasn’t lasted longer than 4 innings and hasn’t surrendered fewer than 5 earned runs. Certainly not a pitcher to be feared – unless perhaps you’re a Philly fan, in which case he may make you want to hyde.
Two more NBA series seem likely to end tonight, as the Knicks and Thunder can close out 3-1 series leads at home. And then there is the Hawks-Pacers series, currently at 2-2. With apologies to fans of those two teams, that seems to be the series that no one wants to watch – although by Sunday it might be the only series still in play.
The Wells Fargo Championship tees off early Thursday morning. Get your GuruGolf foursomes in place. If you’re looking ahead, a list of qualifiers for next week’s THE PLAYERS Championship (BTW, why is “THE PLAYERS” always capitalized?) is here.
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed toGuru<email@example.com>.
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