I Can’t Remember Anything
Can’t Tell If this Is True or Dream
Deep down Inside I Feel to Scream
this Terrible Silence Stops Me
Now That the War Is Through with Me
I’m Waking up I Can Not See
That There’s Not Much Left of Me
Nothing Is Real but Pain Now
That’s Metallica singing their ode to darkness, landmines and your 2014 fantasy roster. While I’m a big fan of the San Fran thrashers (and make a quick appearance in their Binge and Purge video collection), I’m not a fan of the creeping death that is the 2014 fantasy baseball season that currently has 151 players on the disgraceful list. As we hit the halfway point of the season the fantasy battlefield is littered with disposable heroes *insert 151 players here*. The latest casualties include Masahiro Tanaka (elbow), Edwin Encarnacion (quad), C.J. Wilson (ankle), Yadier Molina (thumb) and Brandon Phillips (thumb). Oh, is there anyone else for whom the bell tolls? Yup. Hanley Ramirez is getting injections in his shoulder, Mat Latos tweaked his back twerking, George Springer is dealing with a cranky knee, David Price has the sniffles and Jordan Zimmermann accidentally zipped up his zimmy. FML. I’m not one to quit mid-season, but I’m at my frayed ends of sanity here and it may be time to take up fantasy cricket. Before we hit the All-Star break, we have to drag the broken, beat and scarred off the stage and fire up the jammer crammer machine© as we go through the never looking for those players that just might inject some life into a lineup that is ready to fade to black. Take my hand, it’ s off to never never land – it’s time to jam it or cram it.
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Jam or Cram: Steve Pearce, 1B/OF/DH
2014 Stats: 182 AB, 28 R, 11 HR, 31 RBI, 4 SB, .319 AV.
Availability: 55% Yahoo, 97% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $7. It’s a buck for every homer Pearce has hit over the last month.
The Gist: Need a replacement for E5? How about picking up the N0. 10 hitter over the last month? I keep waiting for the regression faeries to b*tch slap Pearce back into reality. He’s never played more than 60 games in a season, he’s never hit more than four homers in a season, his career high in RBI is 26 and his career average is .254. He’s already topped it all in 2014. What in the name of Brady Anderson is going on here? The Orioles loved him so much they released him back in April. Since coming back to the O’s he’s hit everything thrown near him leading the team in average, OBP, SLG and OPS.
Key Stats: In his first two minor league seasons in the Pirates system, Pearce had 80 doubles and 57 homers.
Jam it or Cram it: Ok, we have another situation where the ownership percentages don’t jive, and Pearce may be long gone in your league. But, if he’s still out there, grab him now. I’ll wait. *checks watch, writes email to Heidi Watney, police deliver restraining order* Oh, you’re back. When a 30-something “slugger” suddenly “finds it” little alarms go off in my turban – especially when the guy’s teammate is Nelson Cruz. Cust kayin’. However, I don’t care if he’s on the Jamba Juice, if he keeps producing he’s on my team. JAM.
Jam or Cram: Logan Forsythe, 2B/DH, Tampa Bay Rays
2014 Stats: 182 AB, 21 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 0 SB, .236 AV.
Availability: 85% Yahoo, 94% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1. Sure you can spend a dollar, but he’s likely sitting there for free.
The Gist: If you lost Brandon Phillips and his faulty thumb, Forsythe might be the right kind of Platoony Tune to pair with someone like Scooter Gennett. Logan’s on a run over the last two weeks going all Hot Schmotato with three homers, nine RBI and nine runs.
Key Stats: Logan’s never hit over .273 in his career.
Jam it or Cram it: Here’s the rub on Forsythe, he doesn’t play every day and the Rays just activated Yunel Escobar. Logan is worth a look if he’s on a hot streak, but unless Rays skipper Joe Maddon starts constructing rosters based on bad 70’s sci fi flicks he won’t get enough playing time to help you much. “Hey guys, we’re starting a Rollerball lineup tonight and James Caan is playing second.” CRAM.
Jam or Cram: Stephen Vogt, C/OF, Oakland A’s
2014 Stats: 98 AB, 11 R, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 1 SB, .367 AV.
Availability: 76% Yahoo, 84% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $5. It’s a buck for every time I’ve mispronounced his name.
The Gist: If you lost your Yadier Molina please know there is no “mystery” Molina brother walking through that door. Shemp Molina never took up the base and the balls and was last spotted driving a food truck cross country with John Leguizamo. Wait that’s the theme of the movie Chef, apologies, check it out. Yadier is a big loss to the Cards and a big blow to fantasy rosters. The only catcher currently floating around the wire that interests me is Vogt. Vogt has 12-game hit streak and over the last week he’s hit .524 with four homers and five RBI. Over the last two weeks, he’s hit .435. And on the season he’s at .376 with an OPS of .972.
Key Stats: Vogt crushes righties to the tune of a .410 average and a 1.053 OPS, but struggles against lefties – just .222.
Jam it or Cram it: Love the multi-position eligibility as maximizing at-bats has been my mission this year. If you need a backstop and are used to playing catcher roulette like me, Vogt is getting my *ahem* vote. JAM.
Jam or Cram: Mike Leake, SP, Cincinnati Reds
2014 Stats: 121 IP, 7 W, 95 K, 3.42 ERA, 1.20 ERA.
Availability: 50% Yahoo, 47% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $3. It’s a nickel for every starting pitcher who’s had Tommy John surgery this year.
The Gist: Sayonara Masahiro Tanaka, see you in 2015. Maybe. That leaves a huge hole in the Yankees rotation and, well, who cares about the Yanks, it leaves a crater on our fake teams. It’s the year of the UCL and the waiver cupboard is getting bare for starting pitchers. With that in mind, let’s take a serious look at Mike Leake. Yes, it’s come to this. But before you pee all over my pick, keep in mind Leake is currently ranked higher than these 90+ percent owned guys: Gio Gonzalez, James Shields, Hyun-jin Ryu and teammates Homer Bailey and Mat Latos. Leake’s K/9, BB/9,GB%, FIP and Xfip are all at career bests this season.
Key Stats: Leake’s strikeout to walk rate of 95/24 is the best of his career.
Jam it or Cram it: I spend an entire paragraph pumping up Leake and then he goes out and pees down his leg against Pittsburgh on Saturday. This potential jam has turned into a whole lotta CRAM.
Kolten Wong, 2B, CIN: Five homers and a .370ish average over the last week? This Wong seem wight to me. JAM.
Arismendy Alcantara, SS, CHI: ‘Mendy beat Baez and Bryant to the bigs by hitting .307 with 10 homers, 41 RBI and 21 steals at Triple-A. How many shortstops do the Cubbies need? What’s Ernie Banks doing these days? There’s some power/speed upsidey JAM going on here.
Jimmy Nelson, SP, MIL: Nelson had 114 strikeouts in 111 innings along with 1.46 ERA at Triple-A this year. That’s nice. He got pounded for six runs in four innings Saturday in his MLB debut. CRAM.
Grady Sizemore, OF, PHI: I like Grady in the 2008 Hot Tub Time Machine League. CRAM.