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Daily blurbs from the Guru
If this is your first visit to this site, you should first stop by my home page to find out what this site is all about. And please support this site's advertisers. They make free sites like this one possible.

Go forward to more recent blurbs.

6/30 - The hitting shoes were on this weekend. No fewer than 10 hitters produced more than 100 TSNP from Friday-Sunday, including three from the Red Sox. Surprisingly, with Boston involved in three slugfests, Nomar Garciaparra wasn't one of them. More surprisingly, in just two games, Gabe Kapler was. The Sox called him up on Saturday, and he responded by going 7-9, with 2 doubles, a triple, and 2 home runs. Nice start.

For the second time in a week, the top TSN price loser had the last laugh. Earlier in the week, Carlos Delgado punished his unbelievers. Yesterday, Eric Byrnes did so in dramatic fashion, hitting for the cycle. Sometimes, patience is rewarded. Meanwhile, the apparent recipient of many of those Byrnes slots, Melvin Mora, responded with a weekend of -7, -10, and a DNP. Those who made that swap on Friday will have to be content with a favorable $610K price swing (TSN Ultimate). Is that a fair exchange for a 108 TSNP loss? Probably a push, at best. I know I'd have preferred the points. The bird in the hand, so to speak.

6/27 - A few days ago, after Kevin Brown followed up a decisive price pummeling with a decisive on-field pummeling, I mused that sometimes the masses anticipate correctly.

On the flip side, consider Carlos Delgado. He dropped $260K (TSN Ultimate) from Saturday through Tuesday. And in the last four days, he's accumulated 150 TSNP, making him the top hitter over that span. Clearly, there are times when you are well compensated to buck the trend.

When checking the stats this morning, I expected to find Delgado at the top of the list for the past 4 days. But I was surprised by the name of his closest competitor. With 144 TSNP in 4 days, that honor belongs to Damian Rolls. I give... who is Damian Rolls? Until he went deep twice off of Clemens, I'd never heard of him at all. In any event, if you're a Rolls believer, his price is attractive, regardless of the game you're playing.

It will be interesting to see how Dontrelle Willis is treated over the next few days. He's certainly done nothing to prompt a selloff. But he's also found his way onto more than 70% of all active rosters in the Ultimate game, and that puts him in a precarious supply/demand position. His next start is against Atlanta, which may be a deterrent for some managers. I'm holding for the moment, but paying close attention.

6/26 - Using total TSNP as the yardstick, 3 of the top 6 pitchers are now Dodgers. Eric Gagne ranks first. With seven shutout innings last night, Hideo Nomo now ranks third, only 5 TSNP back. And Kevin Brown is at #6. Looks like you can do well in pitching this year with an arsenal of Dodgers and Dodger opponents.

Tonight, Pedro faces the Tigers. This one looks like a no-brainer, which is always worrisome, as those games often have a way of backfiring. It's always possible that the Tiger bats awaken, but that seems unlikely. So if this one turns into a disappointment, it will probably be due to an injury, or perhaps to a reasonably well pitched game that the bullpen blows - which would certainly fit Pedro's pattern for this season.

6/25 - Apparently, Jason Schmidt vs. the Dodgers is the right formula. In consecutive starts, Schmidt totaled 334 TSNP with 2 complete games. A nice boost if you had him.

In case you hadn't noticed, I now have TSN Midseason prices loaded in both the sortable stats and the Assimilator. There is a separate game choice for this in both programs. If you plan to play the Basic Season 2 game, the prices are the same as in the Ultimate Midseason game, so I do not have a separate choice set up for that. When the first season ends (at the All Star break), I'll simply migrate to Season 2 prices. In the meantime, you'll have to make do with the Ultimate Midseason analysis.

6/24 - Even the top relievers falter occasionally. Eric Gagne lost last night's game. John Smoltz and Billy Wagner each blew one last week.

There aren't any frontline closers that have avoided at least one negative outing this year. There are, however, still a few starters that have stayed in positive numbers. The best of the bunch is Brandon Webb, who has averaged 74 TSNP over 10 starts. His worst start was a +36 TSNP at Minnesota. He also had one relief appearance resulting in +15. Roy Oswalt has avoided red numbers in 12 starts (although he came close with a +5 in April). Kip Wells has been positive in all 13 of his starts, although 3 were in the teens. The only other unscathed starter with at least 500 total TSNP is Jeremi Gonzalez, whose worst of 8 starts was +31 in Houston. Not exactly a who's who of starting excellence. Mark Prior just missed the cut with a -1 in late May.

The moral? If you want to own the top pitchers, you've got to accept the occasional flop.

6/23 - Vernon Wells has certainly been en fuego. His last four games (TSNP) are 64, 44, 44, 40. He was the only hitter to exceed 100 TSNP for the weekend, and yesterday's 3-digit TSN price gain indicates that he hasn't escaped notice.

But there's at least one hot hitter who has barely appeared on the radar. The top producer over the past 15 days is... Corey Koskie, during which time he's averaged almost 24 TSNP/EG. He just barely climbed out of gravity this past weekend, so apparently a few managers have recently discovered him - but not many.

Meanwhile, those who decided to stick out their chins and hold Kevin Brown through his week of price pummeling got unceremoniously rewarded with a negative performance on the field as well. Just bad luck? Or do you suppose the masses sometimes know what they're doing?

6/20 - Seven more pitchers found triple digits yesterday, but most of these names were more obscure than those who succeeded the day before. While Jason Schmidt (177 TSNP) certainly found himself on more than a few rosters, I doubt if Tommy Phelps (132) or even Ramon Ortiz (127) had much sponsorship. Meanwhile, some of the more popular candidates, like Mark Mulder (74), Jamie Moyer (74), and Mark Prior (42) all had only moderate success. In particular, the latter two pitched well, but each took losses when Ortiz and and Paul Wilson pitched better.

Interleague play resumes tonight, with most of the games in NL parks. That puts most full-time DHs back on the bench. Consider that when setting your weekend rosters.

6/19 - 'Twas a night for pitching dominance. Nine starters reached 3-digit TSNP scores, and the list includes some fairly popular names, including Kerry Wood (167), Roger Clemens (136), Esteban Loaiza (125), Freddy Garcia (125), and Roy Halladay (100). Just don't tell Glendon Rusch that it was a pitcher's night. His -122 TSNP wasn't the worst of the season (Shawn Chacon had -137 just two weeks ago), but 6 hits, 5 walks, and 8 runs in just one IP is still pretty impressive.

Speaking of Rusch, his entire season is shaking out as rather remarkable. He now ranks dead last in total TSNP with -274, and 11 of his 15 starts have resulted in negative TSNPs. The anomaly so far was a +145 TSNP start at Pittsburgh in his second start of the season. There have been instances in the past few year's when he's been an attractive pitcher to own. But I guess that's not likely to happen this year.

If it seems like it's easier to build roster value in this year's Ultimate game (vs. last year), you're probably right. As of mid-June, the wealthiest teams in the Gurupie Standings (June 15th) have already topped $80 million, and the median franchise value is over $70 mil. Compare that to last year's standings as of July 1st, when there were only 2 teams over $77 million, and when the median FV was in the $68 million range. Thus far, it's not clear that the extra value is going to be particularly useful, although if the top three pitchers ever get it going at once, the value might come in handy. Over the past 30 days, though, the best collection of hitters (with 20/20 hindsight) costs only $52.6m, and the top 5 pitchers only $22.2m. Even if you replace cheapies Dontrelle Willis and Jae Weong Seo (yes, he ranks #5 in total pitching points over the past 30 days!) with more household names, it's still simple to field a top producing lineup for $80m or less.

6/18 - Ordinarily, a pitching result of 81 TSNP is at least satisfactory. And while that's what Kevin Brown produced last night, I suspect it was a disappointment to most of his owners - especially those who endured almost $400K in TSN Ultimate price losses by holding Brown after his prior start. It broke a string of 6 consecutive 3-digit outings. And when Brown exited with a strained groin, I suspect that even those teams that were going to hold him through thick and thin may rethink their tenacity.

Time to catch up on some RotoGuru Hall of Fame inductions. Here is the list of new enshrinees for football and basketball:

  • Peter Gundrum - Football Pickoff and Market Madness (excl. basket units)
  • Roy Jones - Swirve football
  • Dave Hall - TSN Ultimate Hoops
  • Terry Faber - Market Madness
Congrats to all of these inductees on their excellent results!

6/17 - If you scan down the list of the team scores in your TSN division this morning, it's pretty easy to see which teams had Dontrelle Willis, and which did not. A result of 181 TSNP tends to stand out, especially on a night with limited action. For those of you who have been staying away, be aware that his next start will be against Tampa Bay. He'll probably reach his ownership peak for that one.

6/16 - In the TSN game, 22 players tallied more than 100 TSNP over the weekend. Only four were hitters: Jay Gibbons (131), Mike Lowell (121), Jeromy Burnitz (116), and Eric Byrnes (103). Of the four, Byrnes was the most consistent, with no single game under 20 TSNP.

If you're looking for someone who is en fuego, look no further than Eric Gagne, who has saved 5 of the Dodger's last six games, taking over the lead in total TSNP for the full year. He and Smoltz now rank #1 and #2. If you've been avoiding them, is it now time to buy, or time to sell?

6/13 - It's widely recognized that Detroit and Los Angeles are two of the weaker hitting teams in MLB this year. If you are looking for an attractive opponent for a starting pitcher, those two teams generally sort to the top of the list. But do you know which team is at the other extreme - the team which has been the most inhospitable to opposing starters? Not Seattle, Boston, the Yankees, St. Louis, or Atlanta, who rank 2-6. The answer is: Toronto, against whom opposing starters have managed an average of less than 15 TSNP per game. And they've been even more dominant lately, with averages of -1, -11, and -46 in the last 30, 15, and 7 days respectively. The next two starters to face the Jays are Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. It will be interesting to see how they fare.

It looks like my concern about the potential price decline of Kevin Brown (in yesterday's blurb) may have been overdone. While Brown certainly has reached his peak in price, his slight gain yesterday suggests that he should hold up reasonably well for his next start. I still think he'll lose some value before then - especially on Monday - but it looks like the masses are content to ride this stallion without rotating - which attests not only to Brown's stellar consistency, but to the lack of many other compelling pitching matchups. Dependability has been a rare commodity this season.

[Subsequent note: A -$50 loss today puts Brown on the edge of a difficult weekend. If this induces more teams to sell, it could get ugly. Regardless, the price changes get worse from here. The question is only how much and how fast. Perhaps yesterday's concerns were on target after all.]

6/12 - Joe Torre's starting to sound like Steinbrenner, isn't he?

Among widely owned pitchers, Kevin Brown performed pretty much as expected, notching 112 TSNP in 7+ IP in Detroit. Rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis did reasonably well, faltering a bit in the 7th inning, but still picking up 72 TSNP in a win at Milwaukee.

For Brown, it was his sixth consecutive 3-digit outing, and 8th out of his last nine. For Willis, it stopped his streak of 3 triple-digit starts.

But in spite of his stellar consistency, Brown may be in for some rough price action in the TSN Ultimate game. His ownership is so high, most teams still have pitching trades available, and his next start isn't until next Tuesday (6 days). The price fundamentals are simply stacked against him - hardly any potential buyers, and plenty of potential - albeit temporary - sellers. And if his price starts to skid, it could touch off a full-fledged "market correction". Maybe I'm being a bit of a Chicken Little here, but if you are trying to preserve roster value, you might want to find some other pitcher to own for at least the next 5 days.

Willis, meanwhile, will probably continue his steep ascent. His price is low, there are still plenty of potential buyers, and his next two starts are against the Mets and Tampa Bay. This looks like a Gil Meche repeat. It may even turn out that you can bank a boatload of money by swinging back and forth between Meche and Willis on a cycle of 3-4 starts. Until one or the other totally implodes, at least.

6/11 - There were a number of high profile pitchers going last night. Some did OK, and some not as well. Five starters did exceed 100 TSNP, but if you actually had any of the five, congrats on your clairvoyance: Jason Jennings, Mark Redman, Shawn Estes, Jon Garland, and John Lackey. On the other end of the spectrum, Kris Benson had a -106 TSNP implosion in Toronto.

Did you notice that a few days ago, John Smoltz took over the #1 ranking in total TSNP among pitchers? I can't ever recall a reliever leading in total points. Of course, he's probably helped by the injuries to the 3-headed monster. And Kevin Brown will probably overtake him with tonight's start in Detroit. But the 3rd ranked pitcher is also a reliever - Eric Gagne. Both Smoltz and Gagne have been gradually accumulating TSN Ultimate ownership, but neither is anywhere near peaking out in that regard, with Smoltz on about 30% of active rosters, and Gagne approaching 25%. Compare those figures to Kevin Brown at 60+%, and Gil Meche at more than 50% (at least for the moment).

6/10 - A big night for hockey. A light night for baseball. A non-night for hoops.

I guess the big winners this spring are the concessionaires and parking attendants at Continental Airlines arena, who managed to get steady work throughout both the NHL and NBA playoffs.

Tonight, the AL parks get the heavy action. American League DHs can resume playing again, and NL teams have a chance to get some extra ABs for their hitters. Among starting pitchers, Gil Meche has an important outing tonight. Sampling indicates that he is on a little more than half of all active TSN Ultimate rosters, and anything short of a superb performance could touch off a "market correction." Be alert.

6/9 - Now that we're a week into June, what are some of the biggest surprises of the season? Here's my short list, but I'm probably missing some obvious ones as well:

  1. Positives
    • Estaban Loaiza: 9 wins, 2.06 ERA, 1.02 WHIP
    • Javy Lopez has 18 home runs
    • Rafael Furcal is tied for the MLB lead in total hits (83)
    • Atlanta and Seattle are both 42-19 (.689)
  2. Negatives
    • Sammy Sosa - only 6 home runs
    • Shawn Green - ditto
    • Pat Burrell - .199 batting average
    • Paul Konerko - 3 HR, .194 BA
Of course, this list also excludes disappointments associated with injuries, like the 3-headed pitching monster. But injuries are always a bit of a wild card.

In games like TSN, it's easier to avoid the problems associated with disappointing players, since you can simply avoid those guys. In traditional roto leagues, if you have someone like Sosa, Green, Burrell, or Konerko, it's difficult to recover. They usually aren't going to attract anything interesting in a trade. And dropping them is not an option. Often your best option is simply to hope that these guys revert to the mean sometime soon. But they can certainly torch your pennant hopes.

What do you think? Who should be added to (either of) the lists? I'll start a thread at the forum for your thoughts.

Thanks to Gurupie Skidazl for uncovering today's quote.

6/6 - I'm sure there are exceptions, but it seems like this has been a good week for widely owned pitchers and widely ignored hitters. Pitchers like Kevin Brown, Gil Meche, Woody Williams, and Jason Schmidt have all done well enough to earn another start, and to make pitcher differentiation a difficult winning strategy this week. Meanwhile, the bashers include the likes of Jeff Davanon, Morgan Ensberg, and Ty Wigginton, the latter who made up for two consecutive rainouts with a 100 TSNP twin bill yesterday.

Actually, my assessment is not totally accurate. Some popular hitters have had a good week, like Pujols and Bret Boone. But it's generally been a week when hitter differentiation offered a lot more opportunities.

6/5 - Prior to the start of the season, there seemed to be some doubt about whether Puerto Rico's Hiram Bithorn Stadium would be noticeably hitter friendly. So far, it certainly appears to be homer friendly. In 12 games - an admittedly small sample - this stadium has seen an average of a little over 4 HRs per game (49 in 12 games). Compare this to an overall average of about 2 HR/G in all National League games this year. Of course, 15 of these 49 HRs have come in the last 2 games. But small sample or not, this looks like a risky place to activate a starting pitcher on your fantasy roster.

Meanwhile, the Chicago teams appear to be the recent opponents of choice. Over the past 15 days, the Cubs and White Sox rank #1 and #2 in TSNP for opposing starters, who have averaged 74 and 70 TSNP/G, respectively. No wonder Sammy tried to cork one.

6/4 - All three heads of the 3-headed monster are now on the DL. The top five pitchers in YTD TSNP now average less than $6m apiece (TSN Ultimate): Morris, Brown, Loaiza, Smoltz, and Gagne.

I just worked up the best possible TSN Ultimate team using YTD points as the benchmark. In addition to the five pitchers listed above, the lineup includes Posada, Delgado, Soriano, Furcal (not ARod!), Lowell, Sheffield, Pujols, Everett, and Bret Boone. That lineup costs only $78,830 today, which is almost affordable for the wealthiest teams.

6/3 - Road trips can be great, and my recent journey to Stockholm was superb. But there are always inconveniences when traveling, and from a fantasy sports perspective, it's almost impossible to play your "A-game" when you're 6 hours out of phase, your internet access is limited, and your preferred statistical sources are incomplete. So it is nice to be back in the captain's chair at RotoGuru World Headquarters.

I believe that all RotoGuru stats are now up to date - the sortable stats, player pages, yesterday's points, and the Assimilator. Please let me know if you see something that still looks out of phase. I spent the better part of Monday getting everything back into synch, and I think I've got everything rarin' to go once again. Now I've just got to figure out what it all means.

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2003: May . . . April . . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2002: December. . . November. . . October. . . September. . . August. . . July. . . June. . . May. . . April. . . March . . . February . . . January

Click here for prior daily blurbs, by month:

2001: December . . . . . November . . . . . October . . . . . September . . . . . August . . . . . July . . . . . June . . . . . 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

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 Guru<>.

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