Stars at Oilers, G50, 09-10

This is Jeff Fassero. He helped me win a roto-baseball league championship (and build my deck with the winnings) by being something very valuable: predictable.

If you’ve never played roto ball it goes like this: each team gets $260 and must fill a complete roster with that money. Most of us blow our brains out on the money players like Pujols and then are left spending $2 and $3 for starting pitching at the end. It’s a horrible feeling, believe me, to be nearing the end of the auction needing three starters and having $10 left.

Fassero’s attraction is that he was a fast starter. Wins is a vital category in rotoball, and a quick 5 wins by June 1 makes a $3 starter boner material (pardon, female readers) and a very attractive trade chip. Two times in my time in the dreaded ERL (a more rabid bunch of misfits you will not find, they once inspired me to cut down the three in my front yard) I drafted Fassero for $4, traded him after 5 or 6 wins in exchange for a closer, and finished in the money at the end of the year.

Why did this happen? Well, major leaguers tend to be somewhat predictable year-to-year. For instance, Roy Halladay is extremely likely to have a stunning W-L record in his new town because he really is that good. If he starts 1-4 in his new town, trade for him (unless he’s injured) for pity sakes. Previous (healthy) performance is like a magnet to the median and Fassero always lost more than he won after I dealt him. He remains a favorite to this day (plus he pissed off Cubs fans which is an added bonus) because Fassero was Fassero.

The Oilers have had some weird splits this season. Some guys are at game 50 and still can’t get off the mat (Souray, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, Horcoff, Grebs, Gilbert) and others are ripping the league a new one despite not having the past to back it up. I wondered last night if the last 10 games had given us a glimpse of someone breaking out of their slump and doing a backwards Fassero. Let’s have a look: the last 10 games the Oilers have played, December 30th through the other night.

  1. Patrick O’Sullivan 10gp, 4-4-8 -3
  2. Sam Gagner 10gp, 2-5-7 Even
  3. Denis Grebeshkov 10gp, 2-4-6 -1
  4. Lubomir Visnovsky 7gp, 1-3-4 -1
  5. Dustin Penner 10gp, 2-1-3 -7
  6. Shawn Horcoff 9gp, 1-2-3 -1
  7. Robert Nilsson 10gp, 1-2-3 -6
  8. Ryan Potulny 10gp, 1-2-3 -7
  9. Gilbert Brule 4gp, 2-0-2 Even
  10. Jean-Francois Jacques 8gp, 1-1-2 +1
  11. Andrew Cogliano 10gp, 1-1-2 -6
  12. Sheldon Souray 10gp, 1-1-2 -8
  13. Tom Gilbert 10gp, 0-2-2 -5
  14. Fernando Pisani 6gp, 1-0-1 Even
  15. Marc Pouliot 2gp, 0-1-1 +1
  16. Zack Stortini 10gp, 0-1-1 -3
  17. Ryan Stone 7gp, 0-1-1 -2
  18. Jason Strudwick 7gp, 0-0-0 -1
  19. Ladislav Smid 10gp, 0-0-0 -6
  20. Steve Staios 8gp, 0-0-0 -6
  21. Ethan Moreau 10gp, 0-0-0 -7

So we can see that O’Sullivan and Grebeshkov have found the range and that Gilbert, Souray and Cogliano are a steaming pile of dirt right through game 50. If you were asking me to name 4 players who have the best chance of posting good numbers in the next 10 games, I’d lay odds that Gagner, Horcoff, Souray and Cogliano will have a nice stretch ahead. Dustin Penner is due for a hot streak too and Tom Gilbert needs a shot of confidence but the ability is certainly there.

I’ve mentioned it before but injury is a big part of all of this math.

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