*Channeling my inner Hank Williams Jr.* Are you ready for some baseball? *Fireworks, confetti cannon, ‘splosions, dingo attacks* Perhaps only us baseball junkies and fantasy geeks are excited about opening day Down Under. Is there fantasy cricket? Asking for a friend. Sky needs, like, four more fantasy sports to write about and I’m imagining Nick and his Razzball Radio rolling tanker going all Road Warrior across the outback. I’m more excited than a Lipitor snorting Vin Scully, cuddling with a koala he thinks is actually Yasiel Puig. Slather my hot dog in Vegemite, turn up the Men at Work and blow my didgeridoo, baseball is back. With the RCL’s in full swing and the season firing up in Australia, I’m balls deep in 20 teams – RCL’s, H2H leagues, dynasty leagues, auctions leagues, AL-only, NL-only, a pitcher league and an All-Timey fantasy draft that ought to prove interesting – I drafted Shoeless Joe in the round 13, that’s value! If you have yet to draft or are already making moves let’s dig out the ol’ jammer crammer machine© and get to work on the schmotatoes in the outfield. Since we use ESPN for the Razzballin’ leagues, let’s use their rankings and go digging for some jams and crams outside the top-100 players. No use in bickering whether to jam Mike Trout or cram Billy Hamilton – although I would. We are looking for mid-late round upside filled value here. It’s time to jam it or cram it. Hey Nick, I’ll drive that tanker.
2013 Stats: 65 R, 27 HR, 83 RBI, 8 SB, .272 AV.
2014 ESPN Ranking: #105
2014 $$$ Value: $15
The Gist: Brown is a polarizing player – some love him and draft him early, some hate him and let Tehol have him. While Brown was Hank Aaron last May – hitting 12 homers – he was more Aaron Carter the rest of the year hitting just another 12 in four months and only four after the All-Star break. The K rate is alright for a power bat at 18%, but the 7.9% walk rate is blah at best.
Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 68 R, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 7 SB, .274 AV.
Jam it or Cram it: While Brown is coming into his magical age 26 season and raised his career batting average by about 30 points last year, he’s still a fifth outfielder on my team whose only strength is right field power. Of Brown’s 27 homers they were mainly to right field and barely cleared 350 feet – only five hitters had a lower home run distance than Brown’s 386 feet. With an ADP of around the 8th round I’d grab a better-rounded player like Alex Gordon or wait for someone like Will Venable later. CRAM
2013 Stats: 66 R, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 28 SB, .260 AV.
2014 ESPN Ranking: #150
2014 $$$ Value: $10
The Gist: *Insert fantasy baseball clichés here* Upside! Cheap! SAGNOF! Cuban! Don’t get me wrong, you’re not getting the next Puig…yet. However, Martin is free from the Platoony Tune shackles and despite hitting ninth there will be opportunities to run and score. Ideally he hits his way into the two-hole eventually in front of Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre.
Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 75 R, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 32 SB, .266 AV.
Jam it or Cram it: The knock on Martin is that he can’t hit lefties – .226 BA. However, the sample is relatively small – just 144 PA last year. He’ll get the opportunity to sink or swim this year. Martin is currently being drafted 3-4 rounds later than similar players with no upside and injury risk like Shane Victorino, Coco Crisp and Desmond Jennings in ESPN leagues. If you loaded up on power bats early and need that speedy run scoring upsidey fifth outfielder late in your draft grab Martin and hold him close. Viva Leonys! JAM
2013 Stats: 31 R, 7 HR, 15 RBI, 8 SB, .229 AV.
2014 ESPN Ranking: #154
2014 $$$ Value: $13
The Gist: Granderson was the Schleprock of the Yankees a year ago – everything he touched turned to crapola. The Grandy Man broke his forearm last spring, missed two months, tried to comeback, broke his finger then stepped on A-Rod’s syringe and got MRSA. It was time for a change of scenery. Unfortunately, he didn’t travel far enough. Granderson jumped on the subway and left the homer friendly House Across the Street From the House That Ruth Built in the Bronx for Mr. Met’s Kiddie Field in Queens. The move affects the only thing Granderson has going for him – his power. Grandy is pull crazy and moving from the short porch at Yankee Stadium to the Snake River Canyon hurts any value he had.
Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 73 R, 23 HR, 68 RBI, 13 SB, .232 AV.
Jam it or Cram it: Remember that time Granderson had back-to-back 100 runs, 40 homer, 100 RBI seasons? Good times. If your fantasy draft is taking place in 2011 it’s a jam. If you’re currently living in the present it’s a Mr. Met head sized CRAM.
2013 Stats: 27 R, 11 HR, 27 RBI, 3 SB, .279 AV.
2014 ESPN Ranking: #189
2014 $$$ Value: $5
The Gist: Khristopher Adrian “I’m no Donkey” Davis may have won me my league last year. After losing Ryan Braun I snagged Davis and he went off in August hitting .319 with 6 homers and 15 RBI to help put me in the money. I was so thankful I mailed him a portrait I made of him out of macaroni and glitter. You’re welcome, Khris.
Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 66 R, 23 HR, 71 RBI, 7 SB, .261 AV.
Jam it or Cram it: The Guru’s sleeper alarm is going off. There’s a lot to like here. Yeah, yeah, the sample size is small, but let’s have fun with numbers. Where’s my abacus? K-Davis has power (28.9% HR/FB rate), a solid BABIP (.293) a tasty OBP (.356) and his ISO (.316) ranked second in the league behind only the other Chris Davis. If he can cut down on the strikeouts and steal 10+ bases, he’ll be the poor man’s Hunter Pence. Another great thing about owning this Davis is the opportunity late in the year to trade him to your confused 12-year-old nephew for Paul Goldschmidt. Live and learn, kid. JAM
2013 Stats: 31 R, 7 HR, 31 RBI, 3 SB, .283 AV.
2014 ESPN Ranking: #264
2014 $$$ Value: $2
The Gist: The 6-foot-4, 250 pound Minny Miggy is a late round gamble that could come up big batting fifth and possibly second for the White Sox in his first full season. There be a potential 20/20 here my Razzballin’ friends. The knock on Garcia is his free swinging approach. In three minor league seasons his walk rate was only 4.2% and his strike out rate was a lousy 21.3%, but don’t let it shy you away from the potential.
Dirty Turban 2014 Projection: 63 R, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 10 SB, .278 AV.
Jam it or Cram it: Don’t go overspending for Alfonso Soriano or Josh Reddick when this little guy is just waiting for you – he’s owned in less than 40% of YAHOO! Leagues. Garcia may not be ready to live up to the nickname just yet, but there’s a lot to like and a lot to like-like in dynasty leagues. JAM
Josh Reddick, Oakland A’s: Great 2012, terrible 2013, great beard, terrible ballpark. CRAM
Follow The Guru and his dirty turban on Twitter @TheGuruGS for fantasy ballin’ wisdom and scotch-fueled selfies.