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Daily blurbs from the Guru
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6/30 - The American League continued to pour it on during the final week of interleague play, going 53-31 for the week, and finishing at 149-102, with one postponed game remaining to be played. In the process, Tampa Bay moved into first place in the A.L. East with the best overall record in the majors. Who knew?
Today is a rare Monday when 28 of the 30 MLB teams are scheduled. That’s 10 more teams than are scheduled on a typical Monday, the lightest schedule day of the week over the course of the season. Only Philly and Atlanta are sitting out today.
GuruGolf managers knew what they were doing last week. Kenny Perry not only won the Buick Open, but he was also the best scoring golfer of the week by a wide margin. Often, the tournament winner isn’t the “most valuable” golfer, defined not only by the number of birdies and eagles, but also by the difficulty of the holes on which those scores were attained. But Perry led the field in all counts this weekend. Kudos to Knights3 with the top best ball score of -56. Two teams shared the worst ball honors with +34, including Knights2, managed by the same person. Now that’s a dominating weekend in GuruGolf!
6/27 - The list of unscathed starters got shortened by one last night, as Edinson Volquez was undeniably scathed. Near the end of May, I listed the eleven starters who had gone all year without a negative TSNP start. There are still four survivors - Lincecum, Dempster, Halladay, and Johan Santana. Several in that group have had close calls in the meantime, but none have yet tasted red numbers.
The Yankees had the worst of all types of rainouts last night, taking a 3-1 lead into the third inning with Mussina on the mound before the rains came. It’s not so much that they lost a possible win, but they also wasted Mussina – and now have a rare day-night two-stadium doubleheader today.
6/26 - Four players homered twice last night - Carl Crawford, Rick Ankiel, David Wright, and Jay Payton. Payton was probably the most unlikely of the group, although he entered the game with a career OPS of 1194 vs Ted Lilly, including a HR and a triple. Now he’s got a Lilly OPS of 1529. The sample size is only 19 AB, but I’ll bet that Payton is someone that Lilly would rather not have to face again. By the way, Payton has a career OPS of 1231 (in 13 AB) vs. today’s starter, Jason Marquis. Information is power! Use it wisely!
Kenny Perry once again tops the popularity list for GuruGolf, but this week he appears on almost 64% of active rosters, up about 50% from last week. Furyk is a distant second, on just under 40%. Almost a quarter of all teams have both of them, while just over 20% have neither.
6/25 - In salary cap games, there would probably have been no reason to own or start Bronson Arroyo yesterday. But if you had him on a roto team – and at Sportsline.com, he’ still on more than 60% of all teams – you could very well have started him. And if you did… yikes!
Speaking of low scores, the Buick Open tees off tomorrow morning. Scoring may be similar to last week. Last year’s cut was at -3, and the best GuruGolf score was -53. Both of those results are very similar to last week’s. So get your lineups set and let the birdies start accumulating.
6/24 - Can you believe the baseball season is almost half over? We’ll cross that milestone on Saturday. If you’re waiting to see how your roto season goes before making any trades or adjustments, get busy. We’re fast approaching the point of diminishing returns.
If the playoffs were started based on today’s standings, the A.L. would send the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, and Rays. If Tampa Bay had not exorcised its name, those teams would represent two sock colors plus Angels and Devils. In the N.L., the teams are the Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Cardinals. Change the “ph” to an “f” in the Philadelphia team, and you have four animals – albeit with only 10 legs in total. Where else do you get insightful analysis like this?!
6/23 - Once again, the American League is taking it to the National League. With one week of interleague play remaining, AL Teams are 96-71. Only three of the 14 AL teams have losing records in interleague play – Cleveland, Seattle, and Toronto. Only four NL teams have winning records –Atlanta, Cincy, Colorado, and the Mets. The overall results are similar to those of last year and also 2005. In 2006, the AL was 56 games over .500. To find any semblance of parity, you have to go all the way back to 2004, when the AL still took the title, but their record was only 127-125.
Baseball has a light slate today, with only five games on the schedule, and three of those are in weather jeopardy. If you are picking up players solely based on today’s scarce calendar, check the skies before making an irreversible move.
GuruGolf teams scored quite well this weekend, with three teams tying for the top bestball score of -55. Worst ball scoring was more problematic, with Frick taking the honors with a +40.
6/20 - Interleague play continues for another week and a half. Aside from the obvious complications presented when AL teams play in NL parks (and a regular starting hitter has to sit), this period also suffers from a shortage of historical information regarding batter-vs.-pitcher matchups. For some fantasy games, I like to consider that information when making daily lineup decisions, and except in rare situations, matchup data just isn’t deep enough to be credible. One could argue whether it’s ever deep enough to be truly credible – but when teams are facing an opposing pitcher for the first or second time, there’s no argument.
The greens are soft and the weather is benign at the Travelers Championship. As a result, scores are really low. As of this moment, 110 golfers are below par, and the cut line seems to be headed toward the vicinity of 3-5 strokes under par. Last year, the cut for this tournament was +1. Two and three years ago, it was even par. So the scoring is considerably better than it has been in recent years. Having said that, the best team score in GuruGolf yesterday was only -16, so no team challenged a “perfect” round of all birdies or better. In fact, we haven’t had one of those rounds yet this season.
6/19 - Baseball is a game of streaks, and many hitters can string together a week or two of superstar-type numbers – but most revert to the mean sooner or later. When you evaluate hitting results over a longer period – say, a month – you expect to find more of the studs, and less of the pretenders. Over the past 30 days, the top fantasy hitter – using either the TSN or RotoHog point system – has been ARod, which comes as no surprise, although he’s gone about it more quietly this year than last. But the second best hitter over that span has been J.D. Drew, and most of that damage has been done since the first of June, when he’s posted an OPS of 1.566, with 8 homers, 20 runs, and 17 ribbies. Yesterday, he was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Drew was once the hot prospect in baseball, but at age 32, you’ve got to figure that he’s a little old to blossom. So he’ll probably return to earth soon. But if you’ve got him on your team – salary cap or roto – you’ve got to feel like you’re playing with house money at this point.
On to golf, and the Travelers Championship. Often, the most popular golfer for GuruGolf is a holdover from the prior week. But not this time, as Kenny Perry is the most widely held golfer, on more than 40% of all foursomes, more than 10% ahead of Vijay Singh’s ownership. Perry’s made it known that his #1 goal is to make the Ryder Cup team this year, and with Tiger now out of the running, his chances are improving, although he’s not yet in the top 25 in Ryder Cup points. He could, of course, make the team as a caption’s choice, even if his point standing doesn’t automatically qualify him.
6/18 - The Celtics played the role of Tiger Woods last night. A healthy Tiger Woods, that is. This was what Tiger was supposed to do to Rocco. A total beatdown. And the city of Boston ends up just one Super Bowl shy of a triple crown.
The Travelers Championship tees off early tomorrow morning in Connecticut. Get your GuruGolf rosters set. This tournament starts the next contest, the “Open Faced Sandwich” contest, which spans the four events between the U.S. and British Opens.
6/17 - There are times when “working” at home has its benefits. Being able to watch all of the opening games of the NCAA basketball tournament comes to mind. And although 18 hole playoffs often fail to live up to the hype, yesterday’s head-to-head between Tiger and Rocco was certainly another one, wholly compelling from beginning to end. Rocco couldn’t quite pull it off, but he probably cemented his celebrity status in the game for some time – perhaps even into his eventual Champions Tour career, which is only five years away. This may have been a signature moment for Tiger, but the only thing Rocco didn’t get this weekend was the trophy and the winner’s check.
Curiously, Rocco lost the playoff, but clearly came out of the weekend as a winner. Several hours later and several miles to the north, Willie Randolph won a game but lost his job. The timing of his firing is curious, as the Mets had been playing reasonably well – they would have won six of their last eight if Billy Wagner had been able to avoid blowing two save opportunities. Makes you wonder whether the team is as dysfunctional in the front office as it has been on the field. Or perhaps it removes all doubt.
6/16 - Tiger Woods and the Boston Celtics seemed to be playing from a similar playbook this weekend. Start out in a big hole, dig your way back into contention, and then finish in a frenzy. Tiger seems to have mastered the ending a little better than the Celtics, who failed to capitalize in the fourth quarter last night, although their rendition on Thursday was to perfection. And now we get to see the next acts. Everyone seems to expect Tiger and the Celtics to win – but youneverknow. If Tiger double bogeys the first hole and the Celtics go down by 20 in the first quarter, then everything will apparently be going according to plan.
GuruGolf teams fared reasonably well this weekend, at least insofar as golfers making the cut. More than 80% of teams with four actives had at least three make the cut. Kudos to two-time champion Long Island Bytes, who posted the top bestball score of -40 with an amazingly consistent -10/-10/-10/-10. Worstball honors were shared by two teams with a +60, although the prize goes to lockhart3 (the 2004 GuruGolf champion) on the basis of the tiebreaker (better price gain for the tournament.)
6/13 - Even the ABC announcers – Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson – were jokingly conceding the game to the Lakers early in the second quarter.
I even channel surfed away from the game for awhile, but did manage to check back occasionally just in case. Glad I did. It would have been a logical night to go to bed early. But the Celtics defense was stifling, allowing the Lakers fewer points in the second half than they had scored in the first quarter. And when Boston turned the corner and took their first lead with about 4 minutes to go, the Lakers were done. After the first quarter, the game looked like a total beatdown. And surprisingly, it was.
By the way, I really like Jeff Van Gundy as an announcer. Candid, self-deprecating, and funny. Breen and Jackson both play it pretty straight, but Van Gundy makes it entertaining.
6/12 - The U.S. Open has teed off, and the Tiger & Phil show has already taken center stage. Tiger double bogeyed his first hole, but has already gotten one of those strokes back, so – game on.
Only eight GuruGolf teams took a chance on Tiger – which is quite a gamble, given his lofty price and the limiting impact that has on the affordability of rest of the foursome. Justin Leonard is the popular favorite, although he’s only on about 30% of active rosters, so there’s plenty of differentiation.
Things have been going pretty well for the Cubs so far this year, so yesterday’s broken hand by Alfonso Soriano is perhaps the first nasty turn of events, as he’s estimated to miss six weeks. Last month’s pickup of Jim Edmonds may turn out to be providential, especially if he can regain form. Aside from a brief flurry around the turn of the month, he really hasn’t done much – but he’ll get every chance to play everyday now, rather than platooning with Reed Johnson.
6/11 - Yesterday, I pointed out that Comerica Park was giving up the most runs this season. Last night, Jose Contreras demonstrated why I should sometimes read – or heed - my own blurbs. Oh well, I only had him on a couple of teams. But that was still two too many.
The U.S. Open tees off at 7am on the west coast tomorrow morning, which means that GuruGolf rosters will lock at 10am EDT. From a GuruGolf perspective, this is an expensive field, with 64 golfers priced above $1000, and only 30 golfers cheaper than $800. If you’ve been building roster value steadily over the past 18 weeks, you should be able to trot out a pretty decent looking foursome. But if you’re value challenged - as many of my teams are this year – you’ll have to do some extensive foraging in that list of cheaper players. Good luck. As is the case with each major tournament, prizes will be awarded to the teams with the top bestball and worstball scorecards for this event.
6/10 - I was listening to the Cleveland-Detroit baseball game last night, and heard the Detroit announcers say something that surprised me. Do you know which ballpark has been the most pitcher-unfriendly this year? It’s Detroit’s Comerica Park, which is giving up not only the most runs of any park this season, but also the most home runs. It wasn’t so long ago that stadium was dubbed “Comerica National Park” because of its spacious dimensions. The left field fence was moved in somewhat in 2003, but it’s still never been a hitters’ paradise. As recently as 2006, it was still below the median in both runs and HRs. Last year saw a modest uptick, although it still ranked in the second quartile. So maybe the first few months of this year are just a statistical aberration. Time will tell.
6/9 - It’s mid-June, the heart of baseball season – but the biggest stories this weekend came from other sports. On Saturday, Big Brown not only failed to win the Triple Crown, but failed to contend. And then on Sunday night, the Celtics powered to a 24 point lead with 7:54 remaining in the 4th quarter, but then had to hang on for dear life as the Lakers almost pulled off the miracle comeback.
After a ridiculous number of pre-tourney withdrawals, GuruGolf managers ended up with reasonably good cut results. Of the teams that started with four active golfers, almost 80% had at least 3 golfers survive the cut. Two teams posted the top best ball score of -44, while a +56 from TD2 claimed the worst ball honors by one stroke.
This was also the final week in the “Spring to the Open Contest, spanning the eight tournaments between the Masters and the U.S. Open. Congratulations to best ball winner Nuclear Golfers, who managed to lose only 3 golfers to the cut in those eight events. On the worst ball side, the title goes to Pellie, with a fiercely contested one stroke win over two teams, and several others right behind them. Prize winners will be contacted via email to coordinate the awarding of the coveted RotoGuru logo golf balls.
6/6 - One strategy that was prevalent in RotoHog last season (and may be this year as well, although with increased transactions fees, probably not as much) was to pick up closers for doubleheader teams, hoping to benefit from the increased probability of save opportunities. But yesterday, those who added Ryan Franklin and Jon Rauch got double jeopardy. Franklin did notch a save in the opener, but took loss in the nightcap after Rauch had blown a save opportunity as well, and they each ended the day with negative points. In the case of my team, I only picked up Rauch – but it was still a blessing in disguise, as I benched B.J. Ryan, who took a bigger hit than Rauch. And that’s about as good as it gets for my closer performances this year, as I’ve incurred negative closer points for 25% of my relief appearances this season. That’s about double my rate of implosion from last season.
6/5 - Following up on Tuesday’s blurb, Jay Bruce has gone only 1-7 in his last two games, and now faces three straight lefties, including Cole Hamels today. Although that puts him one hit ahead of the legendary Chris C. Jones, it also puts him squarely back on an earthbound trajectory.
The NBA Finals start tonight, and although it’s been a little under a week since the Conference Championships were ended, it’s still felt a bit like the interminable pre-Super Bowl hype period. This series is scheduled for only Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, so we’ll get another 2-day layoff after tonight. If the Celtics don’t win the home opener, that will be a long 3-day wait in Beantown.
Kenny Perry is once again the popular favorite in GuruGolf, this week on almost half of all teams. No other golfer has similar popularity.
6/4 - If you set your GuruGolf foursome earlier in the week, you’d better recheck it. Twenty-six golfers have withdrawn from this week’s event since the field was initially announced last weekend. As of this morning, well over half of all GuruGolf rosters still include at least one inactive golfer. And I can see that several teams with a provisional golfer set up already have two or more inactive regular golfers.
By the way, this is the final week in the Spring to the Open GuruGolf contest, and no team has a secure lead in either the best or worst ball formats.
It was a good night for cheap pitchers. Nine pitchers had more than 70 TSNP last night, and the most expensive was Joe Saunders in the $3 million TSND range. Five of the nine were priced under $1 million TSND, and eight of the nine had single-digit RotoHog prices.
6/3 - Before getting too carried away with the long-term outlook for Jay Bruce - who went 2-3 with another HR last night – the Elias Sports Bureau notes that the last player to have 15 hits in his first 25 major league at bats was Chris C. Jones, also of the Cincinnati Reds, in 1991. Now, who remembers Chris C. Jones? I looked him up, and he did play in 9 major league seasons, with a career batting average of .252, an OPS of .707, and a total of 30 HRs and 131 RBIs in 548 games on eight different teams (not bad for nine seasons.)
By the way, Jones went hitless in his next 14 at bats.
6/2 - Many hitters occasionally go on a hot streak, putting up an OPS of 1.690 with 10 runs and 6 RBIs over a 6-game span. But not many do that in their first six games in the major leagues. And that’s what Jay Bruce has done so far. Cincy has gone 5-1 over that span, and that’s probably not just a coincidence. That one loss was the only hitless and runless game of Bruce’s career.
The Memorial Tournament was pretty brutal on the scorecards this weekend, as evidenced by the cut line of +6 after two rounds. Kudos to Groene Ster?, posting the top GuruGolf score of -52. Two teams shared the worst ball honors with a +69, and 27 teams posted worst ball scores of +60 or higher, which sounds like a major tournament week. (In fact, only 8 teams managed a +50 or higher in this year’s Masters, and none reached the +60s.)
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed to
RotoGuru is produced by Dave Hall (a.k.a. the Guru), an avid fantasy sports player. He is neither employed by nor compensated by any of the fantasy sports games discussed within this site, and all opinions expressed are solely his own. Questions or comments are welcome, and should be emailed toGuru<firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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