The Daily Grind: An Invitation To You by Brad Johnson July 3, 2018 Can’t stop the bot. PS, I’ll be chatting at noon today. Justin Mason will take my usual 4pm slot. AGENDA TDG Invitational Weather Reports Pitchers to Use and Abuse SaberSim Says… Kempback 1. The Daily Grind Invitational The Invitational returns for a pleasantly sized 12 game contest on FantasyDraft. Normal parameters – $2, 52 entries, max two per person. Leaderboard. If you have not signed up for FantasyDraft, please use this referral link for tracking purposes. If I understand properly, by using the referral, you will receive a 10 percent return on any rakes you pay. 2. Weather Reports Storms threaten two of the best venues for this evening – Citizens’ Bank Park and Yankee Stadium. In both cases, it looks like the rain should eventually push through – if it arrives at all. Both are interleague contests involving potential postseason clubs, thus there is incentive to play these games. 3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse Main Slate: Clayton Kershaw returns with a DFS target on his back. For $23,000, you have the chance to roster what will likely to a highly restricted outing. Los Angeles will want to ease their ace back into game action give his recent health woes. In 11 starts this season, he’s provided just one Kershawian performance. Expect some rust against the Pirates. That leaves Zack Greinke as the supposed “ace” of the slate. He’s better viewed as a consistent performer than somebody who will carry your roster. I have nothing wrong with his $21,500 price tag, although he’ll have a challenging battle versus Jack Flaherty ($19,600) and the Cardinals. Arizona activated A.J. Pollock last night – a huge boost to their previously middling lineup. Kudos to the Phillies and Zach Eflin for building a legitimate rotation asset out of an apparent eighth starter. Of all the emergent pitchers this season, Eflin may be the most surprising. That said, I’m not paying $19,400 to roster him; even against the lowly Orioles. The win bonus is well within reach though as the Phillies move into the easy phase of their schedule. Shane Bieber ($18,800) appears to have claimed a rotation job in Cleveland. The club is mighty fortunate the AL Central has become a wasteland. Speaking of, the Royals are terrible. Bieber’s mix of command, swinging strikes, and ground balls is likely to carve them to pieces. However, I do have some lingering concerns any time we’re dealing with a non-elite pitching prospect and a hefty price tag. Danny Duffy ($12,200) is a cheap alternative. Sean Newcomb ($17,600) and Domingo German ($16,000) would be attractive to me if they weren’t pitching at Yankee Stadium. The cheap home runs scare me (see section 5), especially when I have alternatives. Zack Wheeler ($16,100) has been one of the highlights of a busted Mets season. Despite more hype in past seasons, he’s in career-best form. Seven of his last eight performances have lasted at least seven innings, several of which scored over 20 points. He’s visiting the Blue Jays in DH-land. Andrew Heaney ($15,800) mixes gems and duds. Consider his last nine starts – two games over 35 points, four between 18 and 26 points, and three between negative five and one points. Quality of opponent is seemingly uncorrelated with outcome. The Mariners trounced Heaney in early June. They get a rematch. Not that Austin Bibens-Dirkx is outright good, but he is decidedly not terrible. For a contest low $8,400, you’re unlikely to get better expected value – even opposite the Astros. Beware, all the EV in the world won’t help you if several mid-tier pitchers twirl 25 point outings. Stack Targets: Ivan Nova, Marco Estrada, Alex Cobb, Antonio Senzatela, Lucas Giolito, Chris Stratton The ballparks skew homer happy tonight – Coors, Cincy, Philly, and New York. 4. SaberSim Says… Kershaw, Greinke, Anthony DeSclafani, Ryan Yarbrough, and Eflin are the top rated pitchers tonight. The Sim projects seven frames for Kershaw which is… ambitious. Similarly, ADS and Yarbie seem over-projected on the innings front. I guess I like them both in a bland sort of way. Values include Cobb, Yarbrough, Chris Bassitt, ADS, and Trevor Richards. I like the Richards tip more than Yarbie. Mike Trout, Charlie Blackmon, Brandon Belt, Joey Votto, and Nolan Arenado lead the charts tonight. Values include Chris Davis (ick), Tim Beckham (ick), Nick Williams, Alen Hanson, and Scott Schebler. 5. Kempback In a throwback to my childhood, Matt Kemp is basically the best hitter in the league right now. Wut? The Braves traded Kemp to make room for this guy. I guess it worked. Gotta love Yankee Stadium. Jesus Aguilar is FAST. Or not.