MLB Grind Down: Saturday, August 17th

The RotoGrinders MLB Grind Down will give you an in-depth analysis into the upcoming MLB schedule. This article will break down the numbers for every single game and give you analysis on which trends you can exploit. While matchups are a major factor in daily fantasy baseball, there are plenty of other factors to consider such as injuries, weather, and salaries.

The analysis should point you in the right direction, but it is still up to you to decipher the information and make your own selections. No sport has more variance than baseball. The best choice is not always the right choice but following the trends will win you money over time.

Note: As always, if you want to try a new DFS site, be sure to click through a RotoGrinders link and use our DraftKings promo code, FanDuel promo code, and FantasyDraft promo code to receive the best perks in the industry.

Stackability Rating System:

BLUE – One of the top stacks of the slate.
GREEN – A full stack is viable in GPPs.
YELLOW – Not the best stack, but hitters are in play.
ORANGE – Tread lightly, but potentially target a hitter or two.
RED – Fade this offense in all formats.

Cleveland at NY Yankees – 1:05 PM ET

Saturday brings a 2-game very early slate starting with the Indians visiting the Yankees in the Bronx. Zach Plesac has a low strikeout rate of 17.8% through 14 starts at the big league level. He showed better strikeout stuff at the lower levels, but it hasn’t been there yet in the majors. His walk rate over 9% isn’t great, and his 5.29 SIERA is over 2 runs higher than his 3.27 ERA. A trip to Yankee Stadium is a daunting task for most pitchers, especially in experienced ones that don’t miss many bats that may be due for some regression. On a 2-game slate you can always play any pitcher and hope he has a good game in GPPs, but it’s a pretty dreadful spot, all things considered.

Quick Breakdown: A road date with the Yankees is a suboptimal spot for Plesac.

James Paxton has had a weird season, but his underlying numbers are fine. He has a K-rate of 29.3% with a SIERA of 3.96. His 8.8% walk rate is higher than usual, and his 4.40 ERA is a result of a few bad starts. While his matchup with the Indians is a tough one, he’s also clearly the best pitcher from a talent perspective on the 2-game early slate by a huge margin. He’ll obviously be popular, but it’s tough to get around just playing him and trying to differentiate with your bats.

Quick Breakdown: The matchup stinks, but Paxton still looks like the best pitching option on this slate.

Batter Grind Down

The strikeout stuff has been there for Paxton against hitters of either handedness, but he has struggled quite a bit against righties in general. 20 of the 21 homers he’s allowed have been hit by RHBs, and he’ll be facing 8 of them this afternoon. Paxton also sees his ground ball rate dip and his walk rate rise against opposite-handed hitters. Cleveland makes for a pretty easy team to stack, as they’re dirt cheap in general around the industry. Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes are the top power targets, while Oscar Mercado and Carlos Santana have solid numbers against lefties this season, as well. This stack has plenty of upside, and deploying it is a fine way to get leverage against a popular Paxton in tournaments.

Elite PlaysYasiel Puig, Franmil Reyes, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez

Secondary PlaysCarlos Santana, Oscar Mercado, Kevin Plawecki (catcher punt)


The sample on Plesac is small, but he’s shown reverse-split tendencies in the majors so far. He has allowed a .328 wOBA to righties compared to a .280 mark to lefties. I don’t necessarily expect that trend to continue, but we can stack the Yankees on just about every slate, and this one is no exception. Today’s lineup looks mediocre on paper, but Didi Gregorius in particular stands out as an excellent midrange value at shortstop in all formats. Brett Gardner hitting leadoff is a nice value, too, while Gleyber Torres, D.J. LeMahieu are all perfectly fine options individually or as a part of your stack. Mike Tauchman and Cameron Maybin are passable, while Austin Romine and Thairo Estrada are both very inexpensive. The Yanks still have an implied team total north of 5 runs.

Elite PlaysDidi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, D.J. LeMahieu, Brett Gardner

Secondary PlaysGio Urshela, Mike Tauchman, Cameron Maybin


About the Author

  • Taylor Smith (tcsmith031)

  • Taylor Smith is a native Texan (required by all fellow Texans to report this at all times) and Southern California-based sports writer. He has been playing daily fantasy sports regularly since 2012, going back to the days of DraftStreet (RIP). He specializes in MLB and NBA while dabbling in a few other sports like a true degen when the other two are out of season. He has written about DFS in the past at Bang The Book, and you can find some of his previous work on SB Nation and FanRag Sports.


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