How you doin?
How you doin?
Well, well, well. The 2020 Baseball season is here! Sort of. Yes, we have Spring Training in the lobby on DraftKings and have since Saturday for those of you who were out enjoying your weekends and actually living a good life. But now you are back at it on Monday with afternoon baseball on every single day and you are wondering to yourself — What exactly is the purpose of life if you do not spend crowns on MLB Spring Training Contests over there at … DraftKings dot com — and I am here to not only encourage you to do that, but I actually think it’s okay to spend real American Dollars on Spring Training Baseball my friends.
Yep. I’m doing a slight 180 from last year when I was mocking anyone who did a Spring Training article, although I should go ahead and drop the sad (but maybe good?) news for you right now. I am NOT doing an analysis/picks article every single day for Spring Training. In fact, I don’t think I am going to do any articles of the such…. Well, certainly not for another week or so until we start to see things. But this is merely a simple tips sheet on how you should approach Spring Training if you actually want to make some money and not be pissed off before the real games begin.
Starting sometime later this week I’ll be rolling out my 2020 Season Preview articles much like I did last year that will conclude with the annual Dongers Club Manifesto podcast, so be on the look out for that in the coming weeks.
But for now, let’s talk about these Spring Training Slates
THINGS TO KNOW
So far it looks like DraftKings is keeping with the system of having slates that include just four games on them and so far we have seen mostly Grapefruit League games but I am sure we will start to get some Cactus League action in there as well. If you are a Baseball noob, Grapefruit is the Florida based teams and Cactus is Arizona based teams. I mean, it’s pretty fricken obvious given that the two Spring Training locations are Arizona and Florida and I don’t seem to recall any cactus tree’s in Florida but in case you needed that little 411, now you are smarter and have officially learned something today and can go home from work. Congrats….
The actual teams who are on the slates usually depends upon if the teams are playing Split Squads or not, as DK will avoid such situations thankfully. But for the most part we’re getting some repeat teams on the schedules and that’s kinda nice.
These are best/first found on Twitter and I have a list called Dongers Club DFS that you can pull up (@steve_renner) and use which I haven’t fully refreshed for 2020 but it has beat reporters from every team and most are good about posting the teams lineup 3-4 hours ahead of the start time.
That said, DraftKings has been very good about listing the probable starting pitcher and the actual lineups within their app/site. So really in most cases you don’t even need to be scouring twitter to find out the starting lineup if going in an hour before lock or so and most games are starting at the lock time so no late swap really to deal with. If you do some digging you can find who the expected relief pitchers are going to be and also any tidbits on how long hitters are going to stay in games from beat reporters. Some are better than others.
It’s is a bigger deal than you may think. Rain can be your biggest issue some days in Spring Training and thus if you care about your money you do need to check-in and monitor this. Given that we have lots of Florida information, don’t expect easy weather reports. Games will get called fairly regularly in Spring Training at the first sight of rain.
I did some research on some ballparks in Spring Training last year and found that yes there are some which are more hitter friendly than others. No, I don’t seem to have this list around right now but it is something I will check into and try to pull back up for you. I wouldn’t read too much into it though.
GENERAL DFS THOUGHTS
Just like regular season MLB DFS, your success will be in the contests that have fewer people in them. But not necessarily for the same reasons.
I don’t care about some jabroni who is going to come into the game in the 5th inning and get two or three at bat’s and put up 27 DraftKings points. That’s a 100% guessing game and that’s something to be reserved for some loser kid to waste their life mass entering and playing a bunch of shit using what they think is math and then feel they’re sharper than the rest of us and will combine two words into a DFS tout site and proclaim they are the greatest of all the lands because they had a lineup that had a 3 man stack of Marlins hitters that won’t even make the Opening Day roster. F that.
phew…. the run on sentences that ramble about DFS are in mid-season form!
I don’t plan on spending more than 10 minutes putting together a Spring Training Lineup. Considering the lack of $ out there for it and the limited playing time for the players there’s no reason to spend more than 10 minutes on it (besides this stupid article I’m doing now). So all I care about are the guys who are STARTING. Plus, as we get deeper into Spring Training the starting pitchers are going to go deeper, so finding who the second or third reliever may not be as beneficial unless it’s someone we really know and trust to go two or three innings (more on this below).
So I am only taking the starting lineup guys, then I want to play a contest where other folks likely won’t throw away random BS lineups with non starting players.
So find a contest with < 100 ppl or even < 500. If you wanna throw one into the $10/$11 bigger contest every day then go right ahead, just don’t plan on that being your money maker during Spring Training.
When you only have four games on a slate and you have limited at bat’s there’s zero reason to not be doing a three man stack from two teams at minimum in your lineups. The correlation matters a ton because you’ve got limited at bats to make up for not having both hitters when a team gets a couple hits in a row and gets the Run/RBI correlation. In the regular season with extra at bats we can make that up elsewhere but with usually two times through the order it just doesn’t make sense to avoid that.
This doesn’t mean always going 1-4 in the batting order though. The bottom of the order has a high upside of seeing more bullpen arms at times and this is where researching which backup pitchers are coming in can help.
I lean heavily on pitchers facing a really bad lineup (non regulars), but also would not run to take a pitcher who looked fantastic in his prior outing as we get deeper. Pitchers are gonna be tweaking with shit during Spring Training, so take one who has motivation to go out there and pitch well.
RULES OF SPRING TRAINING DFS
- Play the smaller contests.
- Play starting hitters only, don’t screw around with trying to be cute. This correlates heavily with Rule #1
- Play starting pitchers only
- DraftKings will post the lineups fairly well in advance of lock, it doesn’t require a ton of research.
- Monitor weather for rain. Games are likely to PPD quickly.
- Stack 3 batters who bat consecutively or 3 out of 4 in an order. Correlation matters more with limited AB.
- Slight bump to the younger players who have speed. More SB in Spring Training against weaker catchers, pitchers with bad pick off moves and warm temps (no hammy concerns)
- Pick your own teams/guys. It’s usually just four game slates. Just have fun.