Welcome to the unofficial second half of the fantasy baseball season. If you’re reading this, I tip my dirty turban in your general direction, because that means despite half your roster being on the DL you’re still in the hunt for all the cash, bragging rights, glory and glory holes that is a fake baseball championship. If you’re reading this because you thought this was a Ben Wa ball site, let me be the first to apologize and welcome you to the Razzball Lounge. I’m sure we have some of those balls around here somewhere. Tehol? This is the place we almost award winning fantasy scribes come to pour over the numbers a little and pour out the scotch a lot more. Bellying up to the bar in his Montreal Expos Gary Carter throwback we find resident Razzball Radio on the TV host Nick C-A-P-O-Z-Z-I. “I’ll trade a Razzball 32 in 32 in 32 ticket for one more Labatts and two of those Slim Jims.” Over at the juke box is the Razzball editor-in-kimchee Jay(Wrong) dropping quarters and lip syncing to Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” for the seventh time. “Hey guys, I drafted Joaquin Benoit in the third round. Who’s the expert now?” *bottle smashes above head* Duct taped to the bar stool is rookie writer Ralph Lifshitz. Feel free to draw this on his face with a Sharpie. “Hazing is a crime ya know!” Silence, rook! Staggering out of the ladies room with his latest conquest is the one and only Tehol Beddict. “Why the long faces gang? I’ve been in last place since April.” And won’t you join your-humble-yet-not-quite-sober Guru here at the pool table. *adjusts turban, closes eye, banks cue ball off three rails, sinks eight ball, lights smoke, sets beard on fire* Shut off that damned boy band crap and put on some Motorhead. It’s time to play the game. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
Jam or Cram: Joaquin Benoit, RP, San Diego Padres
2014 Stats: 39.2 IP, 3 W, 1 S, 46 K, 2.04 ERA, 0.86 WHIP.
Availability: 65% Yahoo, 64% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $12. Want SAGNOF? You have to pay.
The Gist: With Huston Street packing his bags and headed up I-5 to Anaheim, Benoit is all but assured the closing gig in you-stay-classy San Diego. In his first appearance as the Padres closer Friday night, Benoit gave up the go ahead run. Way to grab the opportunity by the Benoits.
Key Stats: Benoit had 24 saves with the Tigers last season.
Jam it or Cram it: Benoit has been great this season and there’s no doubt he can close games. However, the trade winds continue to blow through San Diego and Benoit’s stint as a stopper could be short if he ends up in a contender’s ‘pen. No matter, we need the SAGNOF now. JAM.
Jam or Cram: Arismendy Alcantara, SS, Chicago Cubs
2014 Stats: 26 AB, 7 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB, .346 AV.
Availability: 85% Yahoo, 69% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $7.
The Gist: Alright, the sample size is shorter than his name, but Alcantara has been a *puts pinky to mouth* terror since being called up before the break going 9/26 providing some pop and showing off his SAGNOF skills. Right now the kid has SS eligibility (and 2B on Yahoo) and could add centerfield by the time the season ends – me likey.
Key Stats: In 335 at-bats at Triple-A Iowa he hit .307 with 10 homers, 41 RBI and 21 steals. Javier who?
Jam it or Cram it: Hello, Darwin Barney, we’d like to introduce you to Mr. Wally Pipp. You two have a talk with Junior Lake while we try to figure out a way to get this kid’s name to fit on this jersey and into our fantasy lineups. JAM.
Jam or Cram: Conor Gillaspie, 3B, Chicago White Sox
2014 Stats: 261 AB, 36 R, 4 HR, 35 RBI, 0 SB, .322 AV.
Availability: 84% Yahoo, 83% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $5.
The Gist: Over the last two weeks, “Dizzy” Gillaspie leads all third basemen with four home runs and a 1.531 OPS. While the pop isn’t quite legit, Gillaspie does have 23 doubles (more than Adrian Beltre, Todd Frazier and Josh Donaldson) and an OBP of .373 (better than David Wright, Anthony Rendon and Evan Longoria).
Key Stats: Among third basemen with at least 250 plate appearances, Not-John Conor ranks fourth in batting average and wRC+.
Jam it or Cram it: Gillaspie may be a bit of a Platoony Tune as he struggles against lefties, but he’s a legit hitter and should maintain a .300 average. On the year, Gillaspie is putting up better numbers than higher owned players like Carlos Santana, Martin Prado and Xander Bogaerts. Why no love? Come here Conor and let me hold you. We’re going JAM kwazy.
Jam or Cram: Kevin Kiermaier, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
2014 Stats: 162 AB, 21 R, 8 HR, 24 RBI, 2 SB, .315 AV.
Availability: 90% Yahoo, 75% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $3.
The Gist: With Wil Myers on the disgraceful list, Kiermaier – who was known more for his glove than his bat in the minors – has gotten the call and he’s been producing. While the sample size is small, it’s hard not to notice a .272 Isolated Slugging Percentage and a 160 wRC+ which is better than Nelson Cruz, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Bautista. Now I know my turban is not too tight, there is no way ol’ Kev is in that class of slugger. However, Kiermaier has been showing off some from out of nowhere pop. His 20.5% HR/FB rate is top 15 among hitters with at least 170 plate appearances.
Key Stats: In 433 minor league games, Kiermaier hit just 15 homers. He has more than half that in less than 50 MLB games. Bizarro World alert.
Jam it or Cram it: With home runs at a premium, Kiermaier is worth a look if he continues his hot schmotatoing. I heard him mentioned as a Rookie of the Year candidate and nearly choked on my tikka masala. But how believable is this power surge? He’s already topped his career high in homers, Wil Myers is coming back and Joe Maddon’s just let a box of rattlers loose in the clubhouse. Someone’s going to get snake bit. CRAM.
Chris Johnson, 3B, ATL: Has seven hits in his last 13 AB’s with three homers. If he hits three more over his next 30 games I’ll deep fry this turban and eat it with a side of sour cream. CRAM.
Austin Jackson, OF, DET: The matchup early in the week at Chase Field is JAM worthy, later in the week at Anaheim it’s a whole lotta CRAM.
Travis d’Arnaud, C, NYN: Hitting .625 this week. Yay! It’s been two games. Boo! CRAM.