September 10, 2023 by Cory Dell
On a jam-packed content day, the Monthly Awards Program almost felt like an afterthought. While reliving the nostalgic days of yesteryear brings plenty of new cards and fuzzy feelings, we also get to celebrate the current-day superstardom of Julio Rodriguez. The five-tool standout takes home Player of the Month honors and is joined by many more cards you can add to your Set 4 collections.
No major changes are present to the Monthly Awards grind this month. We’ve appeared to fully settle into the quicker, more efficient and fun grind and I’m here for it. That means players only need to accrue 100 program stars in order to complete the program and unlock Julio Rodriguez and all the other August Monthly Awards cards.
Yet again, collecting rewards from the current Event will net you program stars in the August Monthly Awards Program. There’s always something to grind in Diamond Dynasty, it’s just a question of the reward matching the work. By racking up wins in the Event and earning the reward cards along the way, you can also knock off progress in this program. Collect the following cards to earn progress:
This is a somewhat easy path to 40 program stars just from putting time into the event. Obviously, depending on skill level and patience/interest in online play – some players might not attempt this path. As always, having options is a great thing in Diamond Dynasty and it’s awesome that online players have a chance to eliminate a fair amount of offline grind to earn an offline reward. Additionally, if you have the Stubs to spend and are so inclined, you’ll be able to purchase these cards from the marketplace and collect them for progress as well.
Please note: The collection will only pay out program stars until September 15 when the Great Race of ’98 Event concludes.
A big component to the Monthly Awards grind is completing the Topps Now Moments throughout the month. If you’ve done so, you’ll be able to collect the seven 97 and 99 overall Topps Now cards for an easy 10 program stars. I always recommend this as the first thing you do in these programs as you’ll not only earn the two program Captains but you’ll also earn a couple of the other Monthly Awards cards too. All of this before a single game is played to earn progress. Even if you’re not caught up, I recommend catching up as it’s well worth the time and you’ll get additional rewards as well.
You know you’re getting a couple fistfuls of Moments with this program every month. August has a total of twenty-two Moments worth a total of 44 program stars. None of these should be too difficult so it’ll be a relatively scant amount of time to grind these out. You’ll unlock several more of the Monthly Awards cards from the program to use in your stat and PXP grind so it’s a good idea to get these knocked out early too. If you’re grinding the Event, you can probably skip most if not all of these Moments or do the Moments and skip the previously mentioned grind.
Another integral part of this program each month is the stat and PXP grind. An offline grinders dream (or nightmare) has you grinding with the various cards within the program, including the Captains (Madison Bumgarner and Gary Sanchez). The stat missions for August are as follows:
The stat missions alone can pay out a potential 21 program stars.
Not to be outdone, the PXP missions are as follows:
You’ll net a total of 35 program stars from the PXP missions.
The player-choice is still here to complete the program however you see fit. I’m strapped for time so I find it easier to do these offline to eliminate any online shenanigans that might prolong the time needed to play. No matter what you choose, the program won’t be overly difficult and will most likely take just a couple hours to finish and you’ll have yourself a nice boost of Set 4 cards for your binder and J-Rod to add to your squad.
I always like highlighting a couple of the other cards in the program. They might not be 99 overalls, but they’re interesting cards or cards that you should consider slotting into your lineup regardless of overall rating.
Julio Rodriguez’s partner in crime, Teoscar Hernandez has an absolute demon level swing. Strip off the overall rating, cover up the attributes and this card will still hit absolute nukes. We know that the outfield is perpetually crowded and more so than ever before. Hell, the fact that J-Rod is the Player of the Month on top of the fact that Cody Bellinger had the honors last month alone could take up two of your three spots. Still, this card will be an absolute beast for anyone using it. The attributes are fair for a 98 overall. 105 CON L, 125 CON R, 97 POW L and 109 POW R. Teoscar also has solid Fielding and good Speed at a stock 85. I feel like we’ve seen plenty of 99 overall cards look worse than this. I won’t start him, but I’ll definitely have a blast using him during the offline grind and he’ll be an absolute joy to use in random Events as well.
The other card I want to highlight should be for obvious enough reasons. No, not the fact that I’m a Braves fan. Simply the fact that bullpens are in rough shape at the beginning of Season 4 due to rotation and any high-level reliever will most likely be a firm upgrade over at least one spot in your bullpen. Iglesias is actually pretty nasty on an attribute level. He features 125 H/9, 111 K/9, 92 BB/9 and 125 Clutch. The pitch-mix is highlighted by a primary Circle-Change with 97 Control and 86 Break, a 4-Seamer that sits 96 MPH, a Sinker that sits at 95 MPH with 90 Control and 87 Break and a Slider at 85 MPH with 84 Control and 99 Break. The velocity is there though he’s obviously not an Outlier pitcher. The Circle-Change has enough of a speed differential to keep hitters off-balance, though the depth on the pitch might be a bit less than desirable. The Sinker is good enough that you should be able to control it fairly well and the Slider will be a bit more consistent, but the 99 Break will pair extremely well with the Circle-Change and Sinker.
This is a solid enough RP on its own, but given the lack of options right now it’s definitely one of the best cards in this program.
The man of the month, J-Rod is juiced and you’ll get plenty of squeeze from this card. Bare minimum I’m usually looking for at least 100+ in the major categories when talking about potential elite cards. J-Rod has this and the max Contact against both sides is absolutely killer. Julio mashes lefties a bit better than righties but will obviously hold his own against any pitcher thrown at you. Yes, he has 125 Clutch too and while we still debate the ultimate value of that attribute, I think we’re all in agreement that it’s important this year. I look at it in the same vein as regular Contact, whether that’s right or wrong. Regardless, our boy has it in spades.
Remember the whole five-tool thing? Diamond shielded Fielding with a 93 rating, 99 Arm Strength with 82 Accuracy and 91 Reaction to go along with 99 Speed and Stealing. Elite Contact, elite Power, elite glove, elite arm and elite Speed. All wrapped up in a free card that you can earn with a couple hours of grinding.
J-Rod is a top-5 CF right now and rates out just a smidge under the Retro All-Star Game Byron Buxton from Ranked. There’s a decent drop-off between Rodriguez at #5 and Incognito Curtis Granderson at #6, so that’s a firm top-5 ranking for August’s Lightning Guy. Another major boon for this card is the fact that J-Rod gets Dead Red and Breaking Ball Hitter Quirks. We’ve seen plenty of well built cards with juicy attributes not get Quirks. Not only does Julio get the attributes, he packs the Quirks for good measure.
That’s it for the August Player of the Month Program. Are you excited for Julio Rodriguez? Any sleepers among the other cards in the program? How will you go about grinding for J-Rod? Let us know in the comments below!
Cory is a freelance writer that currently features for Operation Sports and ShowZone and has dabbled in streaming from time to time. Cory has been a diehard Atlanta Braves fan since birth and has tortured neighbors and family alike with avid guitar playing for the last twenty years.
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