The Daily Grind: Sticking To Baseball

I decided to run a $20 entry in the Hooters Kickoff on FantasyDraft due to a large overlay ($24.96 expected value). After ranking 38,570 out of 40,072, I think I’ll stick to baseball. I even used SaberSim and had my patrons vet my lineup. Eesh.


  1. TDG Invitational
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. Dombo

1.The Daily Grind Invitational

RaleighFingers walked away with the win on a strangely low-scoring Friday contest. Jorge Lopez, Eugenio Suarez, Tim Anderson accounted for 72.1 of 130.1 points. Second place Brewday just missed the gold with 129.95 points. Third place managed just 118.25 points – a total which is usually out of the money. Fourth place was a meager 109.1 points. Weird slate. Congrats and Leaderboard.

We have an eight-game slate tonight on FantasyDraft.

2. Weather Reports


3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse

There are quite a few quality pitchers in this slate. Shane Bieber ($22,800) is the most expensive, although he’s not the best man available. Bieber is absolutely a quality choice opposite the Angels, especially if Mike Trout sits another day for his injured toe.

It’s just that Bieber doesn’t hold a candle to Jacob deGrom ($21,600). The Diamondbacks are a below average offense. While they possess one of the lower team strikeout rates, the current iteration of the lineup is far from strikeout proof. deGrom almost always throws seven innings with more than a punch out per frame. Merrill Kelly ($11,700) is one of the top stack targets, but he’s also priced so cheaply that he can be used.

James Paxton ($21,200) is visiting Eduardo Rodriguez ($18,500) in perhaps the most frustrating game of the day. Both of these pitchers are capable of dominating (or flopping) on any given day. They’re poised to take on top offenses. There’s ruinous potential here – either in the form of a gems or disasterpieces. Of course, bland outcomes are the likeliest. My early morning instinct is to avoid this one entirely. We’ll see if my contrarian tendencies lead to a later change of heart.

Aaron Nola ($20,400) is usually a nice selection, even at his bandboxy home park. I really don’t want to mess around with the Braves offense. I’m less concerned with the Phillies offense than I am with Mike Foltynewicz’s ($14,800) general unpredictability. Just when you think he’s an easy stack target, he’ll fire off 20 points out of the bargain bin. In many ways, this game has the same slate-altering taste as the Yankees-Red Sox contest.

I like picking on the Padres against right-handed pitchers. They’ve tried to improve things by getting Josh Naylor into the lineup more often, but it’s had very little effect. This is an excellent chance for snag six or seven perfectly fine innings from Kyle Hendricks ($17,200). He still seems a tad pricey. Cal Quantrill ($12,900) is fringe playable, although I prefer to ponder Cubbie sluggies.

Zack Greinke ($15,900) is bizarro-cheap versus the Athletics. Yes, they’re a challenging opponent, but not to this extent. This is a very safe play with some serious upside. The Astros offense is a highly tuned machine against fly ball pitchers. I’m avoiding Mike Fiers ($15,100) like the prairie dog plague.

Jordan Lyles has the much-coveted Marlins matchup. He’ll run you an affordable $15,800. At this price point, I’d rather roster Greinke’s upside. That doesn’t mean Lyles should be ignored. Perhap you use ’em both and sling together a potent lineup. Dugger ($10,800) is quite cheap but also rather bad. The Brewers offense is quietly mediocre.

Patrick Sandoval ($14,600) would look better if he could be trusted to throw five innings. Alas, he cannot.

FantasyDraft is back to hiding Madison Bumgarner ($17,800). The Pirates offense is limp against left-handed pitching, and they’ll have to contend with Oracle Park (not like their home venue is remarkably different). The Trevor Williams ($13,000) side of the equation if both usable and stackable.

Favorite Plays: deGrom, Bumgarner, Greinke, Lyles

Stack Targets: Merrill Kelly, Cal Quantrill, Sandoval, Williams, Dugger

4. SaberSim Says…

deGrom, Nola, Bieber, Bumbum, and Greinke are the top pitchers. Aside from Bieber, this list could have been taken from any of the last three seasons. Values include Dugger, deGrom, Greinke, Nola, and Quantrill. I told’ja about deGrom.

SaberSim has its own ideas about the Yankees-Red Sox game. Namely that Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Xander Bogaerts are the top five hitters. Yikes. Yasiel Puig, Anthony Bemboom, Betts, Torres, and Luke Voit are the top values.

(pre-publishing update: the Sim has yet to incorporate most of the hitters into its analysis. In fact, only Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, and Angels are represented. I’m leaving the above anyway for the lulz).


I have my own thoughts about the Dombrowski firing.

Eugenio Suarez is making a late charge for the home run crown. He’s hammered 15 dingers over his last 122 plate appearances.

He’s back…

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Boy, has Lyle’s season been tale of 3 stretches
– 1st 8 starts: 4-1 with a 1.97 ERA (3.35 FIP, 4.17 xFIP) and 47 K in 45.2 IP with a .252 BABIP and 87.3 LOB%
– Next 9 starts: 1-6 with a 9.57 ERA (6.60 FIP, 4.67 xFIP) and 43 K in 36.2 IP with a .400 BABIP and 55.9% LOB (Note: this stretch includes 3 weeks on the IL with hamstring tightness during the middle of it)
– Last 7 starts (all after the trade): 2.56 ERA (4.56 FIP, 5.06 xFIP) and 34 K in 38.2 IP with a .212 BABIP and 85.9% LOB

So, very much fueled by some BABIP and strand rate luck combined with giving up a ton more HR in that middle stretch (12 in 36.2 IP). I don’t see anything obvious like a change in pitch mix or velo except that he did use his slider a bit less during that bad stretch and has bumped it back up since joining the Brewers.

One thing he has shown is an ability to beat up lesser opponents. Using b-ref’s splits page:
– vs .500+ opponents: .877 OPS and 5.35 ERA (Lg avg: .788 and 4.86)
– vs under .500 opponents: .602 OPS and 2.89 ERA (Lg avg: .727 and 4.14)

HIs BB and K rates are not terribly different against each, the better teams just hit him much, much harder.