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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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6/30 - Yesterday was more notable for what happened off the field than on.

First, the Yankees-Indians trade was a surprise. It could end up working out for both teams, depending on who the two "later named" players turn out to be, and what other moves this allows each team to make.

Next, the DL. Two high profile players were moved to the disabled list. The big name is Pedro Martinez, and if nothing else, that will cause some significant adjustments in most teams' pitcher rotation planning. The lesser name is Erubial Durazo, who was just activated a week ago. At least this move was conveniently timed for SW managers, since new hitter trades should provide Durazo owners some flexibility.

Small World Midseason prices are now integrated in the RotoGuru sortable stats and the Assimilator. In each case, the Midseason game is treated as a separate game option. For now, the latest price change for the midseason game shows the difference between the midseason price and the full season SW price. That allows you to more easily identify the biggest (and smallest) differences.

You'll note that the midseason prices are generally lower than their full season counterparts. On average, the discount seems to be in the 70%-80% neighborhood, although that is not as true for some of the cheaper (bargain) players in the full season game. Thus, $50 million in the midseason game should be sufficient to draft the equivalent of $65-70 million of full season players. This makes sense, given the shorter season length, and the reduced ability that teams will have to accumulate gains. In a sense, we're all just getting a coordinated head start.

Finally, a weekend alert. I will not be updating prices on Saturday and Sunday until much later in the day than usual. Expect the updates to occur in the evening each day. On Saturday, I'll be at the Greater Hartford Open golf tournament during the day, and on Sunday I'll be attending a wedding. So just enjoy the afternoon games, and do your price-dependent planning at night (or the following morning).

6/29 - Jeff Cirillo had a good week last night. Three homers and a double, 5 runs scored, and 6 RBIs (all with 2 outs). Oh yeah, and a walk. That works out to 127 SWP and 136 EBP. I don't recall if that's the biggest hitting game for the season, but it's certainly up there.

The Rockies beat the Giants in a wild 17-13 Coors Field game, and the fantasy points show it. In addition to Cirillo, seven other hitters from that game had 40 or more SWP.

On the pitching side, Jay Witasick shut down the ailing Indians for 145 SWP and 177 EBP, while David Wells matched that SWP total against the Devil Rays.

It appears that Smallworld has released their Midseason Baseball site. I've been having some internet connectivity problems last night and this morning, and haven't been able to register or check out prices yet, but I hope to have things worked out later today. If all goes well, I should have the new prices available as a separate game option in both the sortable stats and the Assimilator by this evening.

6/28 - After a couple days of being at the extremes of pitching vs. hitting (im)balance, last night produced very average results. Todd Ritchie had the pitching gem, a complete game 3-hit shutout. Jim Thome was the hitting stud, just 2 SWP shy of triple digits.

Thome has certainly had an up and down week. He is the top producing hitter over the past seven days. But check out the consistency in his 7 day SWP pattern: 71, 0, -1, 88, 5, 5, 98. The second place 7-day hitter, Bret Boone, also has a few big days, but he hasn't fallen below double-digits on any day over the past week. Boone also had his first SW price gain of the year yesterday, albeit a paltry $10K. Thome is still awaiting his first price uptick. Ditto for the third most productive 7-day hitter, Tony Clark.

Meanwhile, some of the players recently returning from injuries have had decent price gains this week, but they haven't done much on the field to give those gains much staying power. Erubiel Durazo has managed 38 SWP in four days, and 40 of those came on one swing. Ricky Gutierrez has averaged -1 SWP/G since returning. Mark Quinn has fared the best of the three, with an average just over 10 SWP/EG over the past week, but even that isn't going to satisfy most managers for long. If you own any of these guys, keep your eyes open.

Carl Pavano was put on the DL yesterday, and has already earned his red cross of doom. Time to duck if you own him. He won't return until after the all star break.

6/27 - So much for the Monday pitching effect.

Until yesterday, Mondays had typically been characterized by good pitching and poor hitting. For the season, the average game has produced a total (both teams) of 230 hitting SWP and 127 pitching SWP, for a gap of 103 SWP. But on Mondays the average gap had been only 46 SWP, less than one-half the season average.

Last night, the average game produced 297 hitting SWP, and only 66 pitching SWP. The hitting average was the highest for any day this season, and the pitching average was the second lowest. The gap of 231 was also the maximum for the season, and only the second instance over 200 SWP.

Don't ask me to explain it. Just one of those things, I suppose.

Out of 14 starters, two managed to crack triple digit SWPs. The top game was by Armando Reynoso, whose 115 SWP brought his 7 day total up to -5 SWP.

On the hitting side, the points were well distributed. Benny Agbayani led the parade with 70 SWP, but there were 9 players with 50 or more SWP, and another 11 in the 40's.

Food for thought: I heard a stat mentioned on Sunday night's ESPN broadcast that was startling. The Rockies are scoring an average 9 runs per game at home, and only 4 per game on the road. That's an amazing difference. I wondered how that was translating in SWPs for the leading Rockie hitters - so here are the SWP/G splits for their top 7 (averaging over actual games played, not eligible games):

Colorado SWP/G through June 26, 2000
Hitter      All    Home   Away
Helton       24     32     16
Cirillo      17     23     10
Hammonds     22     30     12
Goodwin      17     22     12
Lansing      15     23      9
Walker       17     22     12
Perez        10     16      4
For example, Helton averages 32 SWP/G at home, vs. 16 on the road. The hitting differentials look pretty consistent with the team scoring differential, don't they? If you put any credence in this split, be aware that Colorado starts a 10 game road trip this Friday. Hmmm....

6/26 - It was a busy weekend for many of the most popular pitchers. Randy, Pedro, KB, Kile, Dempster, Ankiel, Benson, Maddux... Unfortunately, in SWP terms, only Brown achieved triple digits. The top outing of the weekend belonged to Benson's pitching opponent, Mike Hampton, with a complete game shutout. Every now and then he shows signs of reverting to last year's "near Cy Young" form. But before you get too excited about yesterday's result, recognize that Hampton only produced 145 SWP in his prior 4 starts combined. Definitely a Jekyll & Hyde season so far.

Actually, on the SW pitching front, the big weekend story was the huge price swing between Pedro and Randy on Sunday. Randy dropped $520K while Pedro gained $440K. This was the result of highly concentrated trading on a very light trading day. Randro swappers can reverse the trade today and pocket a cool $960K. Not bad for two trades. Too bad the points didn't keep pace with the price action. Neither of the two superstuds have been pitching up to expectations lately, but those price swings make it expensive to differentiate.

The weekend hitting stories occurred on Friday and Saturday. Bret Boone was the big kahuna, with 3 homers on Friday leading to 114 SWP and 121 EBP. However, I doubt if many of you were able to enjoy that performance. Saturday had two 100+ hitting games, with Barry Larkin slightly outpointing Bobby Higginson. Larkin doesn't appear to be very widely owned, but Higginson has been hot for several weeks, and his price has been gradually rising during that time.

The season is cruising right along, with only two weeks to go before the All Star break. If you haven't voted yet, there's still time. You can vote up to 25 times online at

6/23 - Pitchers generally had the upper hand again last night. Cal Eldred had the masterpiece, a complete game shutout over the Tribe. Glendon Rusch and Ramon Martinez also did well among cheapies. Martinez probably wishes he could always face the Yankees. In his last two Yankee starts, he's totaled 235 SWP. For his four intervening starts, he totaled 60 SWP.

Only five hitters topped the 50 SWP mark, led by Shawon Dunston, with 2 homers and 6 RBIs. The other 50+ nights were for Edgar Martinez, Tony Batista, Lance Berkman, and Jose Vidro.

Hitter trade day again. This week, there is no shortage of ideas, which might cause the gains (and losses) to be more dispersed than many of us would like. I mentioned a few of the opportunities in yesterday's final paragraph. In addition, the Giants are heading to Enron Park and Coor's Field this week, which makes some of their hitters particularly attractive. Meanwhile, Manny Ramirez suffered a setback, which gives Russ Branyan a reprieve. Fernando Tatis might be activated this weekend, adding another option at the quality end of third basemen. Ben Grieve and Terrence Long have been key contributors to Oakland's recent surge. And I'm seeing evidence of a good deal of Sheffield envy at the message forum.

By next Thursday, the best moves will probably be obvious. But right now, it's awfully tough to choose.

6/22 - The bats were working last night. Three grand slams, a cycle, and six guys with 2 homers. Yep, it must've been a Wednesday.

Kelvim Escobar had the token complete game of the night, a 4-hitter against Detroit for his first career shutout. Just a day after I gave the Tigers some hitting props, they were shutout out for the 9th time of the season.

The southbound end of the pitching column has some interesting names. Yesterday's top SW$ gainer, James Baldwin, came up negative, failing to survive five innings. Mike Mussina snapped a string of successful outings with -60 SWP against the red hot A's. After teasing us with two successive 3-digit outings, Tony Armas, Jr. has put up -110 SWP combined in his last 2 starts. John "off his" Rocker showed that if the 7-train is anywhere near the plate, he probably won't be able to find it. And Esteban Yan threw his 7th negative outing, with this being is first venture in to negative 3-digit territory. Just think... on April 7th, his SW price actually gained $560K in one day!

Fourteen hitters scored 50 SWP or more, and I won't bother to list them. All but one were either first basemen or outfielders, Chavez being the only exception.

The next week may see some familiar names rising from the ashes. Aramis Ramirez has played well in his first three games after being recalled from AAA. Mark Quinn was recalled yesterday, and started last night. Erubiel Durazo seems likely to be activated this weekend. And the Cubs are hoping to activate Ricky Gutierrez this weekend. If you need some cheap options (and who doesn't?), some of these guys may fit the bill.

6/21 - Remember when one seemingly viable pitching strategy was to get anyone pitching against the Tigers? Detroit has put up double digit runs 3 times in the last 9 games, including 18 last night (8 of them homers!) Opposing starter Chris Carpenter managed -130 SWP. Yikes!

You'd think that with all that Tiger power, Detroit hitters would dominate yesterday's top producers. But only Tony Clark led his position (although he led all hitting positions as well). The abundance of good hitters is all the more surprising because it turned out to be a very Monday-like night, with the average game sporting 218 hitting SWP vs. 157 pitching SWP, for a gap of only 51. By the way, those totals do include the top pitcher of the night, rookie Brian Tollberg, even though he isn't currently eligible in SW.

I worked up the best possible SWP-producing roster over the past 15 days. I was curious to see how much it cost. It's pretty expensive, with only one player under $5 million (Higginson), and only 2 more under $6m (Chan Ho Park and Ray Durham). The total roster is currently worth $114m, so it's quite a bit beyond the means of even the wealthiest teams (which are now approaching the upper $80's). There are only 3 hitters in the top 50 (over the past 15 days) with prices below $3 million (Terrence Long, Derrek Lee, and Jose Guillen). Here's the top producing roster:
Pitchers: Randy, Pedro, Park, Kevin Brown, Kris Benson
Catcher: Piazza
1B: Jason Giambi
2B: Ray Durham
3B: Chipper Jones
SS: Alex Rodriguez
OF: Albert Belle, Magglio Ordonez, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Higginson

Are these the guys you need to own to succeed? Not necessarily. Looking at the worldwide top 100 rosters yesterday, Piazza was only on 10 of these teams, Sheffield was on 4, Giambi was on just one, Durham and Chipper none, and Magglio was on no more than 4. Even the most common of these hitters, Belle and ARod, were on just over half of the top 100. So, there's plenty of room for quality differentiation among hitters.

Tallying pitchers is trickier, especially for Randy and Pedro. But cheapies like Kile, Ankiel, and Kim are much more prevalent than slightly more expensive options like Benson and Park. These cheaper guys are the types of players that you have needed to succeed - guys with relatively cheap price tags who have produced exceptionally well on a price-adjusted basis. Added to this list are hitters like Hammonds, Meluskey, Long and (more recently) Branyan. Some of these players (like Branyan) may be more opportunistic, short term plays, but these are the types of opportunities that the most successful managers have learned to exploit. And if you make use of my sortable stats, and at least occasionally follow my message forum, none of these players should be particularly hard for Gurupies to find.

6/20 - It started out like a typical Monday "pitcher's night". Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh were all leading through 7 innings, but none had scored more than 2 runs. None of the other games in progress was setting up as a blowout. And Randy Johnson was still to come.

But then the tide turned. The Yankees pounded Boston for 16 runs in the final two innings. Philadelphia scored 4 in the 8th to ruin a string start by Maddux. The White Sox started scoring against Cleveland. Baltimore and Oakland started a game that would produce 25 runs in 10 innings. Tampa scored 10 against Seattle. And Randy Johnson had some problems with dizziness, and although he pitched well relative to mere mortals, he failed to reach triple digits for the second time this season. When the night was over, hitting points outpaced pitching points by an average of 90 SWP per game - a very ordinary result for any day but a Monday.

Cheapies again dominated the pitching board, headed by Jamey Wright with 165 SWP & 159 EBP. On the hitting side, Yankees dominated at most positions, with Posada, Brosius, Jeter, and Shane Spencer all leading their respective positions.

The NBA season is done - just in time for summer to begin - so I can put the Hoops stats in mothballs for a few months. Now it's time to begin tooling up for midseason baseball prices. And can football be far away?

6/19 - Baseball apparently took its cue from Tiger Woods, and made routs the order of the day. Tiger's 15-stroke victory blends right in with baseball scores of 17-4. 19-2, and 21-3.

Across the board, it seemed to be a day when the traditional studs took a back seat and let others drive. Toronto's Frank Castillo was the top pitcher of the day, and with his second consecutive 3-digit outing, he now moves into the crowded arena of cheapies with potential. On the hitting side, Mike Lansing hit for the cycle, and took the pressure off himself by completing the feat in the 4th inning!

I made a change in the baseball Assimilator over the weekend. Previously, all players who had ever been active this year were included. Although only 750 players can be active at any particular time (30 teams with 25 players each), by including previously active players as well, the overall player coverage had climbed over 1000, and the performance of the program was bogging down. So, the only inactive players I'm now including are those with at least 100 SWP for the year. That brings the total down to the low 800's, which should bring about a noticeable improvement in download and execution speed. However, if you need access to an uncovered player (and some of you may be playing with a set of rules that necessitates a wider universe), then add a second zero to the URL: - and you'll probably find the player you were missing. If there are others that you'd like me to include in the expanded version, send me an email. Incidentally, your stored rosters will be accessible to both versions of the Assimilator.

It's Monday again, and if the trend holds, it should be a good day for pitchers. I guess that especially bodes well for Randy Johnson. There are only 8 games on tonight's docket, but they feature a lot of commonly held pitchers, including Randy, Pavano, Colon, Maddux, Spencer, Mulder, Wolf, Rose... and while Mondays certainly haven't been kind to every pitcher, Monday averages have strongly favored pitching over hitting. (Of course, now that I've mentioned it in advance, the jinx is probably on.)

6/16 - Yesterday's schedule was pretty light, but if you had Kevin Brown, Kris Benson, Steve Trachsel, or Albert Belle, you undoubtedly scored well. The three pitchers each tossed complete game victories, and Belle had 2 homers and 6 ribbies, including his second grand slam in as many nights. With three new hitting trades doled out yesterday, his recent outburst bodes well for his SW price over the next few days.

Have you noticed the that now appears on your SW roster page to denote injured players? If you have a healthy team, you might not have seen it. But it seems to be waking up some managers, as evidenced by the recent resurgence in sales of injured players like Erubiel Durazo and Ricky Gutierrez. Neither of those injuries are very recent, so it looks like there are a fair number of managers who still trade, but don't pay much attention - unless someone directly flaunts the info in their faces. The cross isn't reserved only for players on the disabled list, either. Barry Bonds earned one yesterday, and it seems to have had an immediate impact on his price. Tough break for Bonds owners who would prefer to ride this one out - as it sounds like a fairly minor groin strain. Of course, with Bonds' history, you never know. Like Hammonds, he's one of those injury prone guys that you take a big risk with unless you have a contingency trade in reserve.

By the way, will somebody please slow down the White Sox? I guess the silver lining is that at least they no longer have Albert Belle. Cleveland fans would find it very nauseating to be looking up at Albert in the standings.

6/15 - A quick glance at yesterday's points suggests that pitchers did pretty well, bucking the trend of Wednesdays being good hitter days. But although 8 pitchers were in triple digits, hitters did prevail overall, with the average game producing 244 hitting SWP and only 113 pitching SWP, a gap of 131.

A lot of fantasy teams had big point days. The trio of Pedro, Randy, and Dempster combined for 390 SWP (426 EBP), and many teams had all three of them. (I did notice several teams that had just swapped from Dempster into Randy, however. That turned out to be a real sister kisser!) If you had those three, and also some good cheapies like Albie Lopez, Garrett Stephenson, or Brian Cooper, you probably racked up a huge total. Other productive alternatives included Tim Hudson and Greg Maddux, so there were a variety of combinations that worked out very well. Hopefully, you laid off of Jim Brower, who got hammered for -105 SWP and -51 EBP. I suspect most SW teams were Brower-free, but I did see him on some highly placed Echelon teams yesterday (not mine, though!).

So where did all the hitting come from? Actually, no one had a true "bust out" game. The top hitter was Jason Giambi with 73 & 77, but a total of 15 hitters were over the 50 point mark, so the hitting points were well distributed.

For many of the teams that scrambled to get the 2-headed monster for yesterday, now begins the transition back to Randro. Although both Pedro and Randy will probably sustain price hits today, I'd expect Pedro will be more heavily sold, since his next start is likely to come after Randy's next one. If you do plan to revert to Randro, make sure you still have a pitching trade in the hopper, because you'll need it to get back into Pedro next Tuesday - before the new trades are allocated - unless, of course, Boston has more weather problems. And the BoSox have certainly attracted more than their fair share of raindrops this year.

6/14 - Happy Flag Day!

The stars have aligned, and Pedro and Randy start on the same day. After today, Randro should once again be possible, as Randy should start again next Monday, while Pedro will probably not work until Tuesday.

Chan Ho Park topped all pitchers yesterday with a complete game over Arizona. Gil Meche was the only other pitcher with SWP in triple digits, allowing only one hit in a rain-shortened 5 inning stint.

Detroit put up 16 runs against Toronto, and as expected, there are a number of Tigers near the hitting lead at their positions. The top producer was Bobby Higginson, who went 4-for-4 with 2 dingers and 7 RBIs.

I forgot to mention yesterday that the "Monday pitching effect" persisted this week (see 6/6 blurb for details). Monday's SWP totals:

Pitch  Hit  Gap
  144  197   53
If the daily pattern holds, the hitters should dominate today. With both Randy and Pedro pitching, that may be difficult. Or it may just bode poorly for every other pitcher.

6/13 - The best laid plans of mice and men. And Gurupies...

Rain washed out the Boston-Yankee game last night, and as a consequence, Pedro Martinez will now not start until Wednesday - the same day that Randy Johnson is scheduled to pitch. The longer term implication is that the two super-studs will probably not have their starts aligned after that - barring other weather-related rescheduling. So if you're a dedicated Randro shuffler, you may just want to tough it out and skip one of them on Wednesday.

Of course, it could always rain again today...

We've reached that part of the SW baseball season when producing consistent value gains is becoming more difficult. In general, the best gains are produced by the cheaper players. But as managers get more studs on their rosters, the need (and desire) for cheapies lessens, and it becomes harder to justify swapping in and out of the cheap "flavor of the day" in search of gains, especially if you don't think the hot player has any likelihood of staying hot for long. The latest fad seems to be moving from Lance Berkman to Jay Payton. If you made that shift about 5 days ago, then congratulations are in order, as you've done well in points and value. But with Houston heading to Coor's Field this week, and the Mets having a relatively spotty schedule, I couldn't bring myself to make that shift. And I'm not about to do it now, after much of the horse is already out of the barn. But for the time being, it's not a particularly comfortable decision.

My guess is that a lot of you are having the same challenges. A lot of managers at the message forum are lamenting their weak gains. And although I don't feel like my hitters or pitchers have been producing particularly well for the past few weeks, my ranking seems to be holding up pretty well, suggesting that many of the top teams are also struggling. So the best advice I can give is to keep plugging away. As I've said many times before, the season is a marathon, and there will always be lulls and hot streaks. If you're making good fundamental decisions, over time they'll probably work out fine. We all make plenty of moves that bomb. Hang in there, and when you do hit that hot streak, enjoy the ride.

6/12 - The rains washed out the rubber game of the subway series, and the New York City weather outlook for the next few days calls for more rain. If you're carefully mapping out Pedro's schedule, factor in a high degree of uncertainty.

Hopefully, you avoided David Cone and Mike Hampton last night. It really hurts when a pitcher appears to be throwing pretty well, and then rain not only washes out the potential points, but also chews up 5 more days in the schedule. I doubt if anyone would have been attracted to Cone at this point (and the way he's been pitching, a zero is a reasonably good showing!), but Hampton has been pitching well, and some teams probably picked him up. I thought about it for my Echelon team, but luckily decided against it.

Carlos Delgado has certainly been en fuego lately, with 122 SWP over the past weekend, and 53 SWP more than any other hitter during the past 7 days. Ranking 2nd for the past week was Cliff Floyd, who left yesterday's game with an apparent knee sprain, and will undergo an MRI today. And just 2 SWP behind him is Alex Rodriguez. It wasn't very long ago that the message forum had a number of "What's wrong with A-Rod?" posts. Answer: nothing.

I also looked at the top pitchers over the past 15 days. Pedro tops the list, even though he only started twice over that period. Five of the top ten have current prices under $4 million, however. The cheapest is Tony Armas, Jr., who's averaged a little over 100 SWP per start for his last three outings. Jason Isringhausen ranks third during the period, with 6 saves and a win providing roughly two-thirds of his points over that stretch.

Small World recently announced their mid-season baseball game. According to information posted at the SW message forum, it will be completely independent of the regular season game, including separate player prices. That game won't start until after the All-Star break, and there's no word yet about when it will be available for registration and drafting.

6/9 - Last night was the first time Pedro Martinez started a game while his SW price was under $11 million. He was almost $400K below his previous low water mark on a start date. Does that mean than fewer teams owned him than for any other start? Not necessarily. The idiosyncrasies of the repricing formula result in long term price trends that can get out of whack with ownership trends, with heavily rotated pitchers having one of the worst price biases - since on any day, sells are worth more than buys. But, coming off a skipped start, it is reasonable to assume that some managers took a wait and see approach, especially since Pedro was likely to be on a limited pitch count. As it turned out, he needed only 101 pitches to work through 27 batters in 8 innings (3 over the minimum), good for 190 SWP, which was his second best outing of the year. Expensive time for caution.

Today it's Randy's turn. He's been priced above $13m for every start since May 10th, so his long term price trend has been resistant to whatever has been dragging Pedro down. His peak price has been a little over $13.5m, and while it is unlikely that he'll get there today, he won't be far away.

So what about tomorrow? Randy will drop. But will Pedro start rising already? I'm not going to venture a guess. I've been wrong about the relative sizes of their recent price moves, and I think it's wise for me to just let you make your own calls on this one.

6/8 - So it's looking like Pedro today, and Randy tomorrow. Not an optimal spacing for Randro shuffling, and it will probably produce a collision on 6/19 - at least according to the long-range Randro forecast. I must confess that I found yesterday's SW price changes for both Pedro and Randy to be much smaller than I expected. Does that mean that Pedro's normal pre-start gain will occur today? Or are a lot of managers adopting a wait-and-see approach before committing the bucks?

Yesterday was a Wednesday, and according to form, the hitters had the upper hand. Yesterday's average game sported total hitting SWPs of 255 vs. total pitching SWPs of 106, a gap of 149. Jason Giambi was evidently the most interested in getting his SW price up, with a monster day of 117 SWP. He had respectable competition at 1B, however, as Carlos Delgado and Darin Erstad were both north of the 80 SWP mark.

Which means that pitchers didn't fare as well. Darryl Kile seemed to be immune to the Wednesday bug, and would have scored an extra 15-20 SWP if a groundball or two had behaved better in the ninth inning. But five starters ended up with -70 SWP or worse, including Kevin Millwood, who has a grand total of 25 SWP in his last 7 starts combined. That's even worse than Jose Lima, who has 35 in his last 7 starts!.

Jeff D'Amico alert! The Milwaukee version went on the DL yesterday, leaving only the KC version on the active list.

Finally, thanks to Gurupie Blake Marnell for suggesting today's quote. If Rocker really wants to be a stock broker, maybe he should get a job on Wall Street, where he can commute to work on the subway each day.

6/7 - The latest word on Pedro and Randy is that Pedro will start against Cleveland on Thursday, and Randy will start either Friday or Saturday, depending on how he feels in today's workout off the mound. I'd guess that Pedro will see his SW price recovery start today. Randy is tougher to figure, although I'd guess that he'll get hit harder (in price, that is) than he has the past few days. Some teams probably picked him up last Wednesday, expecting a 2-start week, and then had no trades remaining to bail... until today.

Looking ahead, if Randy does get back on a 5-day cycle starting Friday or Saturday, he'll avoid a start in Colorado next week, saving us the difficulty of figuring out how to deal with that. But, if he starts on Friday, then there's a good likelihood that he and Pedro will collide on Monday, June 19th. Randro shufflers will have to make a choice: miss one or the other, or else find some extra cash to upgrade to the two-headed-monster. Projecting forward from that point, their next starts would be a day apart, but would collide again on June 30th. Of course, weather, injuries, or extra rest could invalidate these projected start dates. But those who fail to plan...

Kevin Tapani was the undisputed pitching stud of the day, with 165 SWP and 186 EBP. Chuck Finley was in the running until the ninth inning, when he allowed 2 earned runs and lost his bid for a shutout. And in a 17-12 slugfest in Cincinnati, Ron Villone got saddled with a dreaded negative 3-digit SWP score.

Frank Thomas was the top hitter, generating 76 SWP and 86 EBP, with 4 runs scored and 4 RBIs. His second run was also his 1000th career run scored.

Baltimore and the Mets were rained out, and will be rescheduled for tomorrow. This is noteworthy because earlier this season, Tampa and Baltimore had a game rescheduled to that date. In fact, ESPN still lists Tampa at Baltimore on its scoreboard page for June 8th. But it appears that the Tampa game had been re-rescheduled to a doubleheader in August. I've adjusted my schedule grid to reflect this, but if you are working off a previously printed version, this explains the disconnect.

Gurupie Kevin Landis came up with the best explanation of the daily variation in pitching vs. hitting points, discussed in yesterday's blurb. "The pitchers are pitching well on Monday, knowing that SW Pitcher trades come out on Tuesday. Likewise, hitters perform better on Wednesday, the day before hitter trades come out. It's just like being in the final year of your contract!"

6/6 - Pitchers had the upper hand last night. It was only the fourth time this season that total pitching SWP exceeded total hitting SWP (2830 vs. 2664), and the first time it has happened on a day when all 30 teams have been in action.

Here's a statistical oddity: all four of the days when pitching points prevailed were Mondays. Over the entire season so far, the average game has produced 126 pitching SWP, and 231 hitting SWP (for both teams combined). That's a hitting advantage of more than 100 SWP. But on Mondays, the average game generates 158 pitching SWP, and 197 hitting SWP, an advantage of only 39 SWP. Saturday is the next best day for pitchers, with hitters enjoying a 91 SWP advantage. The best hitting day is Wednesday, when hitting SWP average 262 and pitchers average only 124, a gap of 138 SWP. Is there a reason for this pattern? Mondays are almost always the first game of a series, which means at least one of the teams has just traveled. Perhaps pitchers travel better than hitters? Or, perhaps it's just a coincidence.

Note also that even though Wednesday is the best absolute day for hitters, pitchers don't seem to show much variation from the surrounding days. I guess there must be more extra base hits and unearned runs on Wednesdays, since those categories produce points for hitters without an offsetting deduction for pitchers.

For those interested in the gory details, here's the daily chart:

     Total  --Avg SWP/game--
Day  Games  Pitch  Hit   Gap
Mon    92    158   197    39
Sat   133    135   226    91
Tue   127    127   230   102
Thu    89    128   231   103
Fri   134    117   238   121
Sun   132    120   246   126
Wed   133    124   262   138
The top pitcher of the day was Ryan Glynn, who outdueled Kevin Brown, 2-0. It was Glynn's first game of the year, and at a minimum SW price, he warrants watching. If he gets another start in 5 games, it will be a Coor's Field appearance, so it's probably premature to pick him up.

Can anyone explain Randy Johnson's SW Price pattern? After a 3-day selloff, he's only dropped $10K in the past two days combined. Has his trading just dried up, or were the laggard sales being offset by buys from bottom fishers and/or those who just didn't get the word? According to RotoNews, his next start could be as early as Friday, which is only one day after Pedro's next scheduled start. If so, that would probably dampen his Randro-related gains.

6/5 - First, it was announced that Randy Johnson will skip his next start. Then, within 24 hours, the Red Sox announce that Pedro will skip his, too. And the best laid plans of fantasy managers everywhere are immediately thrown into turmoil.

Those who reacted to Pedro's news by immediately swapping for Greg Maddux got a rude surprise on Saturday. So much for going with studs in order to avoid the negative outings. Kevin Brown pitches tonight, and he'll get some Pedro action. But from the looks of yesterday's SW price changes, Pedro trades were being spread around.

Me? I just decided to suck it up and hold Pedro. I knew he'd take a price beating, but as long as he's ready for his next start on Thursday, the net damage should be minimal, and it will be nice to have the extra trades available. As of tomorrow afternoon, my best SW team will have 8 pitching trades. Jealous?

I ran an analysis on the top 100 SW teams last evening. Of these 100 teams, 38 still owned Pedro Martinez, and 8 owned Randy Johnson. Five teams owned them both, with four of those teams stuck without any pitcher trades. Darryl Kile is the most heavily owned pitcher, on 74 rosters, while teammate Rick Ankiel was next, on 54 rosters.

On the hitting side, Lance Berkman took the top spot, appearing on 96 rosters, while Mike Lamb was on 85. Other hitters on at least half of these teams were Meluskey (76), Hidalgo (74), Hammonds (68), and Helton (57).

I also worked out the historical point breakdown for these teams, hitting vs. pitching. The average team has earned 46% of its total SWP from pitchers, and 54% from hitters. The pitcher portion ranges from a low of 25% (team GERMS) to a high of 56% for the top ranked James' Gang. Four teams have less than 40% of their points from pitching, and 12 teams have more than 50%.

I also looked at proportionate spending on pitchers vs. hitters, although given the current Randro situation, this is probably an unusual snapshot. On average, these teams had 38% of their roster value invested in pitching (ignoring cash balances). These range from a low of 13% (who just dropped Pedro) to a high of 56%.

The moral? There's obviously more than one way to skin a cat.

6/2 - The most notable development yesterday did not occur on the field. Buck Showalter announced that Randy Johnson would skip his next start in order to rest a sore shoulder.

Letting the planning begin!

There probably aren't any teams in Smallworld or Echelon that aren't impacted by this. In Echelon, if you currently held RJ, you need to dump him as soon as his lockout period expires. If you planned to pick him up for Monday's start, then you'll have to scout around for an alternative.

In Smallworld, the implications are even greater, since pitching trades are more limited, and this will have a huge impact on trade management. Teams that have been doing the "Randro shuffle" will now have a chance to bank some pitching trades, if they wish. Teams that have been holding the "2-headed monster" will need to replace RJ, either with another stud, or with a cheaper pitcher, which will permit a hitting upgrade. Maddux may be the most immediate beneficiary for the 2HM teams, but since he and Pedro are both pitching on Saturday, the "Gardro shuffle" can't work for now. So I expect the most immediate impact to be a greater diffusion of pitcher trades, as many dedicated shufflers will take this opportunity to make long awaited adjustments to the rest of their pitching staffs.

Of course, assuming that Randy really does only miss one start, the adjustments will be short lived, and it will be business as usual again next week, I suppose. So it may be that the shufflers will benefit more, since they effectively get a couple of extra trades, while the 2HM-ers will probably need to burn a couple. I don't think holding Randy is a viable option for many, as his price is certain to take a serious tumble over the next few days.

Interleague play starts today, but it seems to me that a lot of the novelty value has cooled considerably, especially since the matchups are the same as the past several years. For fantasy team management, the key is to anticipate the likely lineup adjustments, particularly for AL teams in NL parks. But then, this should be old news by now, as that's what you should have been planning for over the past several weeks.

6/1 - Russell Branyan picked an interesting time to clout 2 homers. He was playing on national TV, his SW price is at the minimum, and the most widely held SW third baseman, Mike Lamb, appears to be slowing down, both in price gains and points. And new hitter trades come out this afternoon.

Does this sound like a recipe for a move at 3B? Perhaps, but consider this. Cleveland plays its next 6 games in St. Louis and Milwaukee. Because these are NL parks, the designated hitter will not be used. And while the Tribe has a lot of injury problems (which is why Branyan was called up in the first place), they can still field an outfield of Sexson, Lofton, and Justice, with Fryman at 3B and Thome at 1B. So it looks to me like Branyan may have trouble getting in his licks for the next week. I'm sure he'll play some. But, from a point generating perspective, this looks like a suboptimal time to pick him up.

So how will this affect his price? Who knows? I'm sure some managers will see him listed as the top hitter today (or will have seen him on TV), will notice his minimum price, and will pull the trigger without considering the schedule. But will enough managers make the move to compensate for the likelihood of limited playing time? Or, will the Tribe shuffle players from day-to-day to get Branyan a decent number of ABs? You're the GM, and you have to make the call. That's why they pay you the big bucks.

Randy Johnson had an uninspiring 115 SWP last night (a total that would be quite inspiring for most starters), but given his widespread ownership, that doesn't really matter much in the rankings. If you were one of those who went Randy-free, you probably feel pretty good about the relative outcome, although you still missed out on a triple-digit outing.

Lance Berkman has emerged as the next sure-fire price gainer, averaging 45 SWP/G in the five games he has started since the injury to Roger Cedeno. Obviously, that's not a pace that he (or anyone) can sustain. But with a price that's still below $1 million (until this afternoon, at least), he's already taken off, with consecutive gains the last four days of $20, $60, $140, & $190. It looks like all those managers who were saving a trade for Pat Burrell decided to pick up Berkman instead. So far, it appears to be the right move.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2000: May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

1999: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

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