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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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Go forward to more recent blurbs.

6/29 - Cheap pitchers continued to dominate. The most expensive of yesterday's top five starters was Sidney Ponson, whose 168 SWP came with a SW pricetag of on $1.1m. But judging from yesterday's price gains, hardly anyone owned any of them, including Ponson.

With a doubleheader, Phillies dominated the hitting, providing the top performer at four different positions, including the overall top dog, Bobby Abreu, who homered in each game for 74 SWP and 87 SvP.

Price gravity has really taken its toll in this year's SW game. I looked at the top YTD price losers, and almost all of them are attributable to gravity. The #1 loser is Rick Helling, although he got a boost from a $590K selloff following his opening day start. There are a host of players who have dropped from $2.2-2.3m, and it appears that the maximum YTD loss solely due to gravity is currently around $2.25m. At a daily decline of $30k, there is still the potential to lose another $2.82m, but I don't see any gravity-sustainable players who still have that much available to lose. Perhaps this season's ultimate loser will be Kris Benson, whose current price of $2480 gives him the potential to drop another $1,980K, which should last until September 1st. Derek Lowe has the potential to drop even more, although you'd think that at some point his declining price might attract some buys - but not necessarily. He could conceivably hit $520K on the last day of the season (although there may not be a price change processed on that day, unless there's the possibility of a regular season playoff game).

Does this have any meaningful implications? Probably not, other than for the LRV (low roster value) game, where gravity options will be more and more sparse as the season wears on.

6/28 - Curt Schilling had a rather remarkable game. He surrendered four home runs against Houston, but still managed a complete game victory, and chalked up 105 SWP and 167 SvP. It's rare to see a pitcher give up 4 long balls and still break 100 SWP. I guess that's the value of going 9 innings.

Schilling's outing wasn't the point leader, though. Two $500K pitchers bettered his mark. Jesus Sanchez and Jason Schmidt each had SWP totals in the 130s.

It wasn't long ago that Houston was experiencing a team-wide hitting slump. In my 6/14 blurb, I noted that starter pitchers had recently been averaging 92.5 SWP/G against them. What a difference two weeks makes! In the past seven days, starters against Houston have racked up a total of -57 SWP, and that includes Schilling's +105 from last night. But in spite of the four dingers hit by the 'Stros last night, neither of the day's top hitters had "stars upon thars". Tino Martinez (84 SWP) and Mark Kotsay (82 SWP) took the hitting honors. Only seven other players topped 50 SWP, so the hitting points were apparently spread around.

6/27 - There were a few masterful pitching performances last night. But the biggest story may have been the one by the "master" that wasn't.

Brad Penny had Pedro-like stuff and Pedro-like points, with 179 SWP and 184 SvP. John Burkett was also very sharp, but his point total was hurt by his lack of run support, as he left a 1-1 game for a pinch hitter. Chris Carpenter and Jon Lieber also has strong outings.

But Pedro failed to make it through the 5th inning against Tampa Bay, and may be headed for a stint on the DL. He did manage to avoid a negative outing, thanks to a grand slam by Trot Nixon. But those who elected to stay away from Pedro probably had a nice differentiation bonus last night, especially if Penny was the alternative.

Paul LoDuca blew away all hitters with 89 SWP, on a 4-5 night which included a HR, 2 doubles, 3 runs, and 6 ribbies. Those managers who bailed on him a week ago are probably kicking themselves right now. Ten other hitters were in the SWP 50s and 60s, although not many of the traditional studs were included in that group.

In fact, lately it has been the mid-priced players that have produced the big hitting points. If you look at the top 25 hitters for the past seven days, their average SW price is only $4.3 million, with only five of them valued above $6m. I suspect it was a week when value-challenged teams did relatively well, and wealthy teams lagged. Sometimes having a high franchise value is a bit of a curse - although over time, the cream should still rise to the top. (It will, won't it?)

6/26 - Six pitchers topped 100 SWP, but none were above 115.

Meanwhile, after a month of light-aired futility, Todd Walker finally showed something with an 80 SWP game. From June 1-24, Todd amassed a grand total of 73 SWP, so yesterday more than doubled his month's output. Of course, there aren't many teams around that still own him, so while it may not be too little, it's certainly too late.

As we approach the midpoint of the season, I took a look at the relative SW point averages for hitters vs. pitchers. Thus far, four hitters have averaged above 20 SWP/EG, and another 23 are in the 16-19 range. This is a dramatic contrast to the pitching situation, where nobody has averaged better than 20 SWP/G, and only three are in the 19s: Pedro, Randy, and Curt. Admittedly, Pedro might have exceeded 20 SWP/EG without his recent downtime. But then, following these three guys, no one is averaging in the 17-18 SWP/EG range, and only three are in the 16s: Maddux, Park, and Rivera. And since Maddux and Park both pitched last night, their averages will drift under 16 in the next few days. The 50th ranked pitcher is around 10 SWP/EG, while the top 100 hitters are all above 11 SWP/EG.

Implications? Assuming the season continues to play out this way, then you probably want to have as many starts from the top 3 pitchers as possible, using rotation strategies to conserve cash as needed. But after taking care of those three, it probably makes the most sense to place your priority on getting the best hitters. Clearly, there are some bargain hitters, so this doesn't necessarily mean you need to spend big bucks on all of your hitter slots. More than half of the hitters averaging 16 SWP/EG or better cost under $5.5m SWD. And at this point in the season, you can probably afford to shell out $7-8m for a few hitters. Then, once you have your desired hitters, fill in your roster with some cheaper pitchers. There are quite a few pitchers with averages in the low teens that are priced under $2m. The key is to identify those that can keep up the production. There are certainly plenty to choose from.

While you may not be able to immediately shift your fullseason roster in this direction, you may at least want to keep this in mind when drafting your midseason roster.

This dichotomy between pitching and hitting points raises some other issues, but I think I'll save that discussion for another blurb.

6/25 - Today's afternoon game has already started, and I'm just now getting to today's blurb. I was sidetracked with several unrelated, unplanned issues this morning that took me away from the "office" for several hours. I just barely had enough time to make some necessary moves for my own teams.

The weekend's top pitcher honors were shared by two, and one was a reliever!. Adam Eaton and Billy Koch each produced 136 SWP over the past 3 days. Eaton fashioned a complete game 3-hitter over L.A., while Koch earned 3 straight saves, surrendering only one hit in the three games.

No hitters were able to beat that pitching mark, although Chipper Jones missed by the narrowest of margins as he continued to take batting practice against the Mets. He gets another four shots at them this coming weekend. May be worth a pickup, if you don't already have him.

SW Midseason baseball prices are now available in the sortable stats and the Assimilator. You've got a little over 2 weeks to get your rosters in order. If you're looking for a division to join, or if you'd like to try one of the alternative versions of the game, check out the message forum.

Finally, if you want to be included in this season's Swirve baseball RotoGuru rankings, get your team ID submitted by the end of the week. As previously announced, I'm closing the rankings to additional teams at the end of June. See the instructions at the bottom of the rankings for details.

6/22 - Only one pitcher broke the 3-digit SWP barrier, and he almost doubled up the competition. The other Wells on the White Sox almost worked a complete game, garnering 153 SWP and 159 SvP. For the past month, Kip has averaged a little over 70 SWP per start, which ranks him 18th among all pitchers. (David, on [or should I say "with"] the other hand, has averaged only 14 SWP/start over the same period. Even Bob Wells has more SWP during that time!)

Those who hung in with Lance Berkman during his recent slump got a nice reward yesterday, as he led all hitters with 78 SWP and 79 SvP on the strength of 2 homers and a double. Ruben Sierra and Michael Tucker also enjoyed double dinger games.

Today, after undue procrastination, I'm pleased to announce the 2000-01 basketball enshrines in the RotoGuru Hall of Fame:

  • Rob Anderson (SW Hoops)
  • Michael Dean (SW Battle Hoops)
  • Bill Fleming (Swirve Basketball)
  • Rich Paganelli (Swirve Basketball)
  • Nathan Rochette (SW Hoops - Midseason)
  • Alfred Rodriguez (Market Madness Contest)
  • Alex Vajda (Market Madness Contest)
Congratulations to all of these Gurupies for their stellar fantasy exploits. Special accolades go out to Rich Paganelli, who secured his 5th HOF listing.

Now that basketball can finally be mothballed for a few months, SW has just launched its Midseason Baseball game. Registrations are now being accepted, although the game doesn't start until after the All Star game. Prices are completely independent of the other SW games, and I'll be adding them to the sortable stats and Assimilator in the next few days. Stay tuned.

6/21 - RotoGuru stats were a bit delayed this morning due to a combination of database anomalies, internet connection glitches, and canine indiscretions. As a consequence, I'm ill prepared for this morning's blurb. I barely know what happened in last night's games.

Three pitchers topped 100 SWP, but none by very much. The top SWP gun was Al Leiter with 115, while Greg Maddux took the Swirve honors with 135 SvP. I did notice that there were 21 hit batters last night, which is unusually high - perhaps even the most so far this season. Five of them were in the Baltimore-Toronto game, where three Birds "on the hands" were evidently worth 2 "in the Bush". (Check the boxscore and maybe you'll get it.)

Hitting was dominated by Sammy Sosa, with 83 SWP and 92 SvP. For the year, Sosa doesn't yet rank in the top 4 outfielders in total SWP, but after last night, he's only 3 behind Cliff Floyd for the #4 spot. There are a lot of outfielders who have done well in June, and Sosa just hasn't seemed to stand out yet. But he may start finding his way onto more and more rosters, especially as inflating roster values make it feasible for more and more teams to stock their outfield with multiple studs.

6/20 - It was a rather unlikely trio of starters that reached 3-digit SWP results last night. Tim Wakefield's almost-no-hitter led all hurlers with 154 SWP and 168 SvP. Steve Sparks had the only complete game of the night for 130 SWP vs. the Yankees. (Good night for knuckleheads!) And Roy Oswalt had 119 SWP in Enron.

Meanwhile, bats were booming, as seven hitters exceeded 60 SWP, and another 8 were in the 50s. Leading the way was Ellis Burks with 103 SWP, whose 3 homers were still not quite enough for the Tribe. The top SvP hitter was Luis Gonzalez, with 103 SvP but only 93 SWP. And that was in Dodger Stadium. Later this week he gets to hit in Coors Field. (Now watch him falter in the light air!)

Just for kicks, I took a look at the highest possible producing SW hitting roster for the past 7 days. Here it is:
C: Pudge (but only 2 SWP ahead of Johnny Estrada!)
1B: David Segui
2B: Biggio (just 2 SWP better than Eric Young)
3B: Nevin
SS: Ricky Gutierrez
OF: L. Gonzalez, B. Williams, M. Ordonez, S. Sosa

Aside from the outfield, I'll bet that potential roster has very few matches with your actual one. That collection of hitters would have produced 1669 SWP over the past 7 days. Unfortunately, that doesn't compare very favorably with what my actual hitting roster has done. How about yours?

I also looked at the comparable roster for the past 15 days (bold font indicates a different player):
C: Pudge
1B: Helton
2B: Alomar
3B: Nevin
SS: Rollins
OF: L. Gonzalez, B. Williams, M. Ordonez, Floyd

Not as many differences as I expected. Of course, what I really need to know is who the top hitters will be in the next 15 days. Unfortunately, I'm running out of time for that exercise today. I'll get back to you in a couple of weeks.

6/19 - Darryl Kile was the top pitcher last night with 118 SWP. That brings his total over the last 4 starts up to 116 SWP. I guess all he needed was to face the Cubs in St. Louis, where the Cubbies have now lost 12 straight.

Speaking of losing streaks, the Mariners are now on one again. For the first time in more than a month, they've lost back-to-back games. And this equals their longest losing skid of the season. Lots of pressure on Paul Abbott tonight! Just think - if the A's can sweep this 4-game series, they'll trail the M's by a only a scant 16 games!

The big stick was wielded by Alphonso Soriano, with 73 SWP and 81 SvP. He's also averaged slightly more than 25 SWP/G over the past week. Time to drop Pujols once again? You could free up more than $3m SWD.

Or should I say TSND? SW is evidently going to take on the name of The Sporting News, and has already converted SWP and SWD to TSNP and TSND. That's going to take awhile to flow naturally for many of us, including me. It's also unfortunate that the abbreviation has an extra letter, as I can't just make a direct substitution in most of my reports without messing up the column heading alignment. I think I put that update pretty deep on the "to do" list.

6/18 - While you hate to see athletes choke when the game is on the line, it was interesting to see the top 3 golfers all putt the same way I do. A humbling sport, to say the least. (And let's not get into the discussion about whether golf is really a sport, or whether golfers are really athletes...)

I went to bed after the 7th inning of the NY/NY game, and evidently missed all of the excitement. After several consecutive nights of being awake in the middle of the night (dog had diarrhea - don't ask!), I just couldn't stay awake past 11pm. I would have relished the comeback, however.

Yesterday's big news was J.D. Drew's broken hand. Watch the price freefall start today. In addition to one of my SW teams, I also owned Drew on my Progressive Sports Challenge team. In that regard, it was very considerate of Drew to time his injury to coincide with the new weekly roster freeze!

Over the weekend, 14 pitchers achieved 3-digit SWP totals. The top game was from John Burkett, with 159 SWP against the Red Sox on Saturday. That was a nice rebound from his previous negative outing. The other pitcher to reach 150 SWP was Todd Ritchie, whose complete game shutout yesterday finished the weekend sweep of the Pirates over the Indians. Who'd have thunk it?

The weekend also saw 9 hitters achieve 3-digit SWP scores, although there were no monstrous bust-out performances like the previous few weekends. The top two hitters, with 123 SWP each, were Jon Olerud (who hit for the cycle on Saturday) and Sammy Sosa. Over the past week, however, the top two hitters were Magglio Ordonez and Bernie Williams, each averaging better than 33 SWP/G. Look for both of them to get some of the flip side of Drew trades.

Finally, I added the names of the starting pitchers for each game in the detail listings of opposing starters vs. teams. This should help you assess the quality of the starting pitching that produced the series of numbers. Enjoy.

6/15 - We'll have to see whether 84 SWP from Lance Berkman is enough to derail his SW price decline. Hard to say. For the first 13 days of June, he had a grand total of only 53 SWP. And with new hitter trades becoming available at noon yesterday, some managers may have pulled the trigger in advance of this outburst. Either way, I'm sure they're glad they got the points last night. Those who sold prior to yesterday are probably kicking themselves this morning.

Phil Nevin also cranked a couple of dingers yesterday en route to 72 SWP. Eight other hitters were in the SWP 50s or 60s. So a lot of hitter points were there to be had if you had the right hitters.

Randy Johnson was the top pitcher with seven innings of shutout ball against the Cubs, good for 123 SWP and 145 SvP. He also fanned 11 batters, which moved him past Fergie Jenkins into the #10 spot on the career strikeout list. Next up - Phil Niekro, who is 143 Ks ahead. Randy could still get there before the end of the season. In fact, if this year is like any of the last three, he'll catch Niekro sometime in September.

Three other pitchers achieved triple digit SWP totals, but it's highly unlikely you had any of them. Two pitched in Colorado, and the third was Tampa Bay's Ryan Rupe. ...Uh-huh, I thought so.

6/14 - Houston has really been slumping. For the second day in a row they faced the top pitcher, this time a 134 SWP complete game by Eric Milton. In the past week, starters against the 'Stros have averaged 92.5 SWP/G. That's second only to Montreal's 7-day opposing starter average of 99.2 SWP/G, and at least 50% worse than any other major league team. More on this in a moment.

Mark Buehrle continued to reward his owners with his 4th consecutive 3-digit game. I almost picked him up yesterday (actually, I did add him on my Swirve teams, where more active pitcher management is necessary). I'm always been leery of hot rookie phenoms, however. They can put on a nice string of starts, but then suddenly implode. After 3 straight triple-digit games, I feared that it was about time for the suckers to some in. But not so - at least not yet. Meanwhile, those who have owned him have gotten a magnificent return.

Two hitters had 73 SWPs last night. Frank Menechino continued his hot hitting, as he's averaged over 21 SWP/G in the past 15 days. The other was Ruben Sierra, who quietly snuck into the Rangers starting lineup in the beginning of June, and has averaged over 22 SWP/G since then. I guess he's not quite ready for the scrap heap.

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm continuing to develop stats on opposing starting pitchers by team. I now have this data available as a separate reporting option in the sortable stats, so you can now see how various teams have fared over the past 7, 15, and 30 days, as well as YTD. You can also drill down to see the game-by-game details for any team. Consider Houston, for example. Not only is their past week pretty horrendous, but aside from a brief stretch from May 30-June 3, they've been extremely docile for opposing starters. So I guess this weekend will provide an interesting test. If they can't produce against the Rangers' staff, that'll be pretty pathetic. The trio of projected Texas starters - Rick Helling, Doug Davis, and Darren Oliver - have an aggregate average of just under 12 SWP/start. Sounds like the "movable force against the resistable object".

6/13 - Doesn't it seem like the classic pitching matchups often fail to deliver as expected?

Yesterday's supposed clash of the titans was Schilling vs. Wood. In the past 30 days, the two of them had combined for 7 games of 100 SWP or better. Yesterday, they didn't reach that total combined - although neither pitched terribly. But while everyone was watching that game, Brad Radke pitched the gem of the night, a complete game 4-hit shutout over Houston, good for 166 SWP and 194 SvP.

Although Coors Field saw 19 runs scored, the top two hitters came from elsewhere. The biggest stick was wielded by Robin Ventura in Baltimore, with 2 HR, 3 R, and 4 RBIs converting into 76 SWP and 84 SvP. Ventura has very quietly been averaging better than 18 SWP/G for the past month, and no third baseman has more SWP over that period. In fact, I was surprised to discover that his 30-day total of 498 is more than 100 SWP better than either Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols, or Scott Rolen. Only Troy Glaus has had a comparable month at the hot corner.

Speaking of hitters who have quietly gotten hot, yesterday's second best output came from Brian Giles. Over the past 30 days, Giles ranks 5th in total SWP among outfielders, and he has the second best SWP/G over the past 15 days (behind Rondell White). Finally, during the past week, no hitter at any position has more total SWP. Yet Giles is still fully mired in SW price gravity, which suggests that hardly anyone has noticed. Part of that is due to the fact that he started so slowly that his full year stats are not yet noteworthy. Part is undoubtedly due to the fact that he plays on a weak team in a small market. But I doubt if he'll stay unnoticed for much longer, especially at this pace.

I've been doing some research on average starting pitcher performances by opposing team. Although the work is not yet completed, I thought I'd share a few early tidbits. So far, the best teams to face are Pittsburgh and Montreal. Pitchers who start against those two lineups have averaged around 55 SWP per start, which is way ahead of every other team - including Tampa Bay, which ranks third at 47 SWP/G. At the other extreme are Cleveland and Seattle, who have held opposing starters to an average of 5 and 6 SWP/G, respectively. That's quite a sizable spread! Across all teams, the average start this year has produced 33 SWP. I hope to have more analysis to provide later this week, and I also plan to add this type of analysis into the sortable stats. Stay tuned...

Finally, here's the rest of the Homer story which I started in yesterday's blurb.

6/12 - It was a good day to avoid pitchers.

A lot of SW managers apparently went after John Burkett and Luke Prokopec, though, as their prices went up by a combined $300K. Burkett was coming off of three consecutive strong outings, and was probably due for some mean reversion. Prokopec was following 2 negative starts, and he's still young enough that we don't even know what the applicable mean should be. Suffice it to say that both of them came up with games that could be described as,... well,... mean. Don't expect either to appear on the list of today's price gainers.

Darren Oliver was the only pitcher to exceed 25 SWP, and I wouldn't normally bother to mention him, except that this may be the only time all year he'll top the pitching list. After Texas won 12-7, Rafael Palmeiro commented, "we'll have our days where it really doesn't matter who's pitching against us." He could just as easily have said "we'll have our days where it really doesn't matter who's pitching for us."

With the paucity of pitching, there must have been some hitting. Palmeiro was the big gun with 63 SWP and 64 SvP, thanks to two long balls. Based on his price change it looks like a few teams opted to pick him up for this game. Until yesterday, he had been steadily dropping due to gravity. But yesterday he had his first price gain of the year, +$10K. With that output, maybe those owners will hold him for a few more games.

Two players had 56 SWP. Mike Young hit his first career home run, and also had his first career double-digit SWP game (although for some reason, the wire services failed to notice that latter breakthrough.) And Shannon Stewart also had 56 SWP.

Heard on the Braves-Jays telecast last night: Homer Bush is only the fourth player named "Homer" to have a major league homer. He's also the only Homer to have done it in the last 67 years. The previous Homer2 was by Homer Peel in 1934. And since Peel played for the NY Giants, I guess Bush has an even longer exclusivity on the American League Homer2 history! I didn't hear them mention the other two Homers, so I can't tell whether he's the all-time Homer2 king. Anyone know who the other two are? Inquiring minds want to know.

6/11 - A lot of eyes were watching Coors Field for the hitting sparks, but Luis Gonzalez found the air in Kansas City to be sufficiently rarified, as he lead all hitters this weekend with 159 SWP and 170 SvP. Second best was Pudge Rodriguez, who matched Gonzalez' home run total (4), but managed "only" 129 SWP and 145 SvP. Also notable was Albert Pujols, who homered in each game at Coors Field, providing a nice 111 SWP reward for those who stuck with him through his recent half-$million SW price decline.

On the pitching side, the studliest results came from cheapies. The top outing was from A.J. Burnett on Saturday, as he dusted Toronto for 149 SWP and 181 SvP. The only other weekend games to exceed 120 SWP happened in Tampa, as Ryan Rupe threw a 131 SWP game against the Mets on Friday, and then Kevin Appier returned the favor on Sunday with 127 SWP. Randy Johnson was close behind with a 118 SWP effort in KC. Pedro, however, was outdueled on Saturday by Omar Daal, and there are lingering concerns about a possible arm problem for Pedro. This is a situation you'll want to follow closely in advance of his next scheduled start (on Friday in Atlanta).

There are only two games scheduled for today, so you have plenty of time to start looking ahead. Tomorrow's matchup between Schilling and Wood should be quite interesting. Looking further down the road, both Schilling and Randy will have starts in Colorado late next week (June 21-24). I was thinking of holding Pedro through that cycle, although we'll have to wait and see whether his physical ailment persists. Either way, next week might be a good time to conserve some trades to reorganize the rest of your pitching roster.

6/8 - Backwards day. 22 runs scored in the BOB. 17 runs scored in Pac Bell. Only 3 runs scored in Coors Field. What's up with that?

Roger Clemens looked like the Clemens of old, striking out 10 Orioles in 8 innings while piling up 155 SWP. The other two pitchers to break 100 SWP were Mark Buehrle, with his fourth consecutive solid outing (is he the real deal, or due for an implosion?), and Shane Reynolds, who flirted with a no-hitter through five innings at Coors.

The top hitter was Felipe Crespo, who got one more homer than his brother, en route to a 63 SWP day. Overall, it wasn't a very prodigious day for hitters, with only 4 others cracking 50 SWP.

After one week of games in Coors Field, the Rockies aren't exactly lighting it up. There is only one Colorado hitter in the top 25 for the past week, and that's Larry Walker at #6. The top hitter over the past 7 days is a second baseman - and no, it's not Bret Boone. Boone may be getting the fanfare, but Roberto Alomar knocked out 244 SWP in 7 games, an average of almost 35 SWP/G.

6/7 - If you look at the pitcher rankings sorted by total SWP this morning, you'll note that Pedro has been dislodged. With a 149 SWP complete game last night, Curt Schilling has taken over the top spot, nosing out Pedro by 6 SWP. Granted, Pedro's average per game is still a bit higher, and Pedro will probably regain the lead on Saturday, but it does point out what a superb season Schilling is putting together so far. He's the only pitcher other than Pedro to be averaging more than 100 SWP per start (102.6), and he has yet to produce a negative outing. Of course, now that I've jinxed him, he's due.

I just did a quick scan to see what other pitchers have avoided red numbers so far. If I restrict the eligibility to those who have at least 10 starts, then there are four pitchers who have a positive result every time: Pedro, Schilling, Chan Ho Park, and Roger Clemens. (Clemens narrowly made the cut, as he did have a zero on 4/19 at Toronto.) Fifteen other starters (with at least 10 starts) have had just one negative outing.

Schilling wasn't the top SWP producer yesterday, however. John Burkett had 151 SWP over Montreal. Here's an interesting trivia question: which Atlanta starter has the most SWP to date? Since I asked, you know it must be Burkett. He's currently 16 SWP ahead of Maddux. Burkett is also one of those who has only one negative outing this year, and that came way back on April 7th. (He more recently has a zero, though, on May 20th.)

A rather unusual cast of characters led yesterday's hit parade. Tops was Mike Sweeney, with 89 SWP and 93 SvP. Three others topped 50 SWP: Mike Bordick (68), Ben Petrick (63), and Mike Lowell (55). Anyone have all four of them? How about one?

6/6 - It was an interesting night for walkers - but not the Colorado kind.

Rick Reed was the top pitcher (142 SWP, 179 SvP), with a complete game 4-hit shutout over Philly. While he obviously pitched very well, he did manage to walk 3 batters. That's noteworthy only because for his first ten games this season, he only walked 2 batters in total. But he's now issued 5 walks in his last 2 games. Of course, with this kind of result, maybe he should be walking more.

On the hitting side, Manny Ramirez was intentionally walked four times (in an 18 inning game). One of his free passes came with first base already occupied. I guess it worked, because the next hitter struck out 3 times and popped out the other time. And he was 2-4 in his other 4 at bats, including a home run.

Once again, the top hitter was a listed second baseman, but this time it was not Bret Boone. Pokey Reese (who actually played shortstop) managed 64 SW points, most coming from a homer and two stolen bases. Carlos Delgado was only 2 SWP behind Reese, and also topped Reese by 1 Swirve point to lead all hitters in that scoring format. Six other hitters were in the SWP 50s. None were named Walker, however.

At 3B, Albert Pujols managed 19 SWP, which is better than most of the third basemen he was swapped for yesterday. Yesterday's only price gainer at 3B with more SWP was Robin Ventura, with 48. Still, I don't think a 19 SWP night for Pujols is sufficient to stop the price bleeding, notwithstanding the fact that he heads to Coors Field later this week. If you are determined to hold him through Sunday, you may need a cast iron stomach.

6/5 - One of the toughest decisions is often knowing when to hold vs. when to fold.

This is a particularly perplexing problem today for SW managers (including me) who recently moved into Todd Walker for the extended Colorado home schedule. After just a few days, Bret Boone is providing a lot of second thoughts. In the last 4 days he's produced 195 SWP. He would have been a great pickup last week. But how about today? Those points are already gone, and Walker is still in Denver. Making the swap now could turn out to be a classic blunder of mistiming. On the other hand, if Boone continues to produce like this, you can hardly afford not to have him. And I realize that Boone isn't just heating it up all of a sudden. After all, he's currently leading the majors in RBIs for the entire year.

For the record, I'm holding Walker for now, and it's not because I need to conserve trades (I have 9 hitter trades in the bank). My general inclination is to stick with players as long as they are healthy and producing. (For instance, I still have Moises Alou!) But it's not a particularly comfortable decision at this point. And perhaps the bigger question is whether Walker is actually "producing".

It's not often that the top pitcher is a reliever, but that happened yesterday, as Ryan Franklin took the honors with 5-2/3 innings of one-hit relief, good for 129 SWP. That barely nosed out the 127 SWP effort from Shawn Estes, although Estes did top Franklin's Swirve total by 11.

I made a minor enhancement to the individual player pages yesterday, adding a link to the ESPN boxscore for each game. If you want to see the details of a player's game, just click on the linked opponent for that day.

6/4 - The top two weekend pitching outings came from two former Dodgers. On Friday, Ismael Valdes threw a 141 SWP complete game against slumping Kansas City. Yesterday, Pedro Astacio duplicated that SWP total with a complete game in Coors Field. Altogether, there were 13 pitching games of 100 SWP or better over the weekend, including four from pitchers with SW prices below $1 million.

The top weekend hitter was Vladimir Guerrero, with 180 total SWP in three games. His weekend stats: 9-12, 5 runs, 9 RBI, 4 doubles, 3 HR. After a slow start, Guerrero has been quietly heating up, and ranks as the #4 outfielder in total SWP over the past 30 days, behind only Bonds, Drew, and Suzuki.

Larry Walker was second best weekend warrior with 147 SWP. And so far, the Klesko vs. Helton sweepstakes is being won by Jim Thome, who banged out 107 SWP in Yankee Stadium over the weekend.

If your team SWP total and/or ranking looks wrong this morning, it probably is. Based on a message forum diagnosis, it appears that sometime yesterday afternoon, all teams lost their points from April 24. There is still no notice at the SW site about this (as of 10:20 am), but I imagine they'll figure it out eventually. Bizarre.

6/1 - Jason Giambi is making the case that the choice at 1B needn't be between Helton and Klesko. His 79 SWP yesterday gave him 246 in the past week, which is way ahead of all other hitters, let alone first basemen. Interestingly, the second highest hitting total in the past week belongs to Bobby Abreu. He's certainly gone about it quietly, as I hadn't even noticed (until I checked on Giambi), nor have I seen him mentioned at the message forum. And his price trend reflects nothing but gravity. I wonder how long that will last.

The top pitching came from the AL west, with the only 3-digit SWP scores coming from Tim Hudson and Aaron Sele. Hudson had a very solid May, averaging 91 SWP per start, which ranks 5th among all pitchers during the month. However, because of some April problems, his YTD totals rank him only 31st overall. Worth keeping in mind, with a SW price at only $5m.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2001: May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

2000: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March . . . . . February . . . . . January

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

1998: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . May . . . . . April . . . . . March

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