The Daily Grind: The One About A Certain Two-Way Player

Baseball has a knack for unpredictability. The Dodgers 14-3 drubbing of the Padres was the opposite of unpredictable. What’s the word for that… It was very tempting to target other games for your big scores. If you did, there’s a good chance you missed the money. Don’t worry, you have a couple hundred more chances to get it right.


  1. Two-way Star
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. Fade Fade Fade
  5. SaberSim Says… (will be included in future episodes)
  6. TDG Invitational

1. Two-way Star

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the two-way player. In an era of ever increasing specialization, players like Christian Bethancourt remind us of what the sport was meant to be. Here’s Bethancourt in his MLB debut on the mound.

First pitch to the backstop, leg sliced open. Ok, jitters. Here’s the next pitch (which, for inexplicable reasons I’m not allowed to embed). An inning later, another pitch from Bethancourt…

As much as I’d like to see him succeed, there’s a reason pitchers spend many years in the minor leagues. Bethancourt’s command was nonexistent. His breaking stuff didn’t go anywhere near the strike zone. His fastball does have good velocity (95 mph) and life, but he’s unlikely to grow beyond a mop up role without more minor league seasoning.

2. Weather Reports

The Cubs-Cardinals game may be beset by thunderbolts and the usual accompaniment of rain. Fortunately, the rest of the league should be dry. None of the games are expected to be below 50 degrees.

3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse

We have eight games to juggle tonight including some very hitter and pitcher friendly venues.

Main Slate: Rain may keep Jake Arrieta from providing full value. Be wary of dropping the big dollars. Johnny Cueto is a tempting plan B, but he has to survive Chase Field. Not only does the ball carry in Arizona, it also flies through the infield. The Giants broadcasters couldn’t stop talking about it on Sunday. Arizona does offer up their share of strikeouts.

I’ve never been keen about paying for Kenta Maeda in DFS. While he often puts together solid outings, he almost never pitches beyond the sixth inning. I want a chance for big upside from my expensive pitchers. I can chase Maeda’s mid-tier ceiling with a riskier hurler while getting more out of my lineup. Volatility is not a bad thing in GPPs. Lance McCullers is similar to Maeda – expect good, short outings.

Carlos Carrasco is weirdly cheap on DraftKings at $8,800. For that reason, every lineup will use him. I may bite the bullet and share with others too. Carrasco will be handled carefully after an injury scare this spring. His talent exceeds that of Maeda and McCullers.

Among the cheaper options, I’m most interested by Sean Manaea. He’s the guy who’s likeliest to match Maeda for over $2,000 less. Manaea is opposed by Matt Shoemaker whereas Maeda should earn an easy win opposite Clayton Richard.

Others of interest include Jake Odorizzi, Zach Davies, and Tyler Anderson. I wouldn’t use the latter two at Miller Park versus each other.

Stack Targets: Richard, Martin Perez, CC Sabathia, Hisashi Iwakuma

4. Fade Fade Fade

Stars: Reports on Iwakuma suggest he may be broken in some way, hence my inclination to stack Astros. However, his reputation as a reliable righty should keep some owners away from Houston. At catcher, Evan Gattis and Brian McCann will split the vote, giving you two choices with low ownership rates.

Like the Astros catchers, Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana should split the vote for Indians first baseman. Unlike Houston, a Cleveland stack should prove very popular opposite Perez.

I’m not under the impression that Rougned Odor’s performance is at all related to the quality of the opposing pitcher. Carrasco has a mediocre fastball. If he makes an early count mistake, it could go over the wall. While I think Odor will be unpopular, hitting two home runs yesterday could ruin my analysis.

This year, shortstop should be a superb position to target star-quality fades. The top of the pool is deep, which means somebody among Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, and Jonathan Villar will be underowned. I’d bet on Villar. Or maybe the real winner is Jean Segura. He continued to slug this spring.

Bargains: The Dodgers have said they’ll play Yasmani Grandal against lefties this year, and he did hit two home runs yesterday. However, past usage of Grandal would dictate a cheap Austin Barnes start tonight versus Richard.

With lefty Tyler Anderson on the bump, Jesus Aguilar may make his first start of the season. He was one of the top players in the Cactus League. It’s quite possible he’s made the ever-popular adjustments for more home runs. And with Miller Park to help him… whew boy. I’m handicapping the upside as comparable to Tommy Joseph – at least until we have actual data.

Ryan Schimpf homered off Clayton Kershaw yesterday. It was on a high fastball. Maeda generally works low in the strike zone, but that’s also Schimpf’s nitro zone.

Matt Joyce is a top-of-the-order bat with a bargain basement price. Adjacent to him on the price list is Rickie Weeks. He mashed southpaws last season.

5. SaberSim Says…

… to wait until I have access.

6. The Daily Grind Invitational

The first leaderboard of the season features my name at the top. That’s a reassuring start to the season. Don’t worry folks, you’ll have plenty more chances to take my money. Grandal’s double-donger propelled me to victory. I’m convinced Grandal has earned me more DFS gold pieces than any other player. To that end, I’m tracking individual player earnings this season. I’m keeping it real simple – for example Stephen Drew gets credited for my success yesterday despite his goose egg.

You can access today’s invitational via the adjacent link. We’ll do another 20-team, $2 contest on DraftKings. If you’re having trouble entering, try incognito mode. Alternatively, share your username with me and I’ll manually invite you. If I don’t respond, it’s because the contest is full.

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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LAD were horrible vs LHP last season. Clayton Richard ain’t great, but he’s still a lefty. I might wait to see if LA proves they’re better able to handle southpaws this year.