My fantasy roster is like Rick and his Walking Dead gang, just waiting around to be fattened up for the slaughter in that train car. Doesn’t Daryl have a hidden crossbow? Feel free to kill off Beth though. Currently my team has lost Cole Hamels and David Robertson. Not too bad, but couple that with the injuries to Adrian Beltre, Andrew McCutchen and Yasiel Puig, and my team is on the verge of doing a Hershel. I feel like we should cue up that cheesy music they play at the Oscars when they pay tribute to those stars that died over the past year. Last week, the fantasy world lost Josh Hamilton (smattering of applause), Matt Moore (gasps) and Avisail Garcia (men openly weeping). Just bury them with all the other guys still on the DL – Clayton Kershaw (at least he’s throwing again), Matt Latos (skipping rehab start this week, uh-oh) and Jose Reyes (was born on the disabled list). Add Troy Tulowitzki (quad), Adrian Beltre (quad), Koji Uehara (shoulder quad), and Joe Nathan (dead arm quad) to the walking wounded list as well (guys hurtin’ but not DL’d) and we have a World War Z-sized fantasy apocalypse. Injuries are expected every year, but does it seem like there are more this season? Can I blame instant replay? Harold Reynolds? Someone or something is responsible. Quick, get Bartolo Colon to throw some stem cells in the Gatorade. I hear that helps. *note to self: Pitch embryonic energy drink to Gatorade, make millions, get killed by pro-life crusaders.* It’s time to bring in the fantasy reinforcements. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can cure what’s ailing our battered and broken roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
Jam or Cram: Adam LaRoche, 1B, Washington Nationals
Stats Last Week: 4 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .400 AV.
Availability: 59% Yahoo, 50% ESPN
2014 $$$ Value: $3
The Gist: LaRoche is currently residing in hot-schmotato territory – which is absolute lovely this time of year. He’s hitting .344 with 8 runs, 2 homers and 9 RBI in 32 AB’s. Last year was a disaster as he hit just .237 with 20 homers, but two seasons ago he was a beast with 33 home runs, 100 RBI and a .270 average.
Key Stats: LaRoche’s fly rate is 41.3%. The league average is around 35%. Even if he hits a slump there still should be homers.
Jam it or Cram it: Let’s play the old game, “One of these things is not like the others.” We have Prince Fielder, Joey Votta, Miguel Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. The one player that is not quite like the others? LaRoche. He was the only one of that group in the top-3 first baseman last week. It looks like he’s back in 2012 form. JAM
Jam or Cram: Jason Kubel, OF,
Stats Last Week: 3 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0 SB, .462 AV.
Availability: 91% Yahoo, 95% ESPN
2014 $$$ Value: $1
The Gist: Jason Kubel is still playing professional baseball? Where? Greenland? Nope, close. He’s in Minnesota. I wasn’t sure until I saw him pop up in Grey’s “Buy” column Friday. The cover boy for Hot Schmotato Illustrated this week is Jason Kubel. Isn’t he sexy frolicking in the surf? Kool Bull as we call him around the Razzball lounge is on fire – he was 12/26 and had more RBI (6) than Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen and Jay Bruce combined this week.
Key Stats: Hit .220 last year. Hit 30 homers two years ago.
Jam it or Cram it: It’s a Platoony Tune alert as Kubel will see most of his action against righties. If you play in a deep league with big rosters it’s cool to jam him with another Platoony Tune special like Jonny Gomes and reap the rewards. What are the chances this hot streak continues? About the same as me being named the new A’s closer – hey, it could happen! CRAM
Jam or Cram: Rajai Davis, OF, Detroit Tigers
Stats Last Week: 3 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 5 SB, .357 AV.
Availability: 78% Yahoo, 93% ESPN
The Gist: Here’s your SAGNOF! Special, Razzballers. Most of us spend the entire season scraping for saves and steals. So why is Rajai unowned in so many leagues? Dunno. The guy’s hitting at the top of a good lineup, has a steal in four straight games and if he can just hit .270ish he could grab you 60+ bases.
Key Stat: Davis grabbed 45 bags last year in just 360 plate appearances.
Jam it or Cram it: At-bats could be a problem with Andy Dirks set to return in May and Brad “I’m No Leyland” Ausmus sometimes starting Rajai against righties, but sitting him against lefties. Huh? Someone show Brad how the Playtoony Tunes thing works please. Still, there’s no reason we can’t grab some SAGNOF! in the early going. JAM
Jam or Cram: Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Stats Last Week: 3 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB, .286 AV.
Availability: 93% Yahoo, 95% ESPN
FAAB $$$: $1
The Gist: I’m wearing my Rob Deer throwback for inspiration as I write this blurb. I’m also pantless and eating a Hot Pocket. *takes bite, suffers third degree burn on roof of mouth, visits ER* Did you lose Beltre? Teixeira? Need power? Ready to panic? Want a Hot Pocket? So many questions as we look to Reynolds to give our battered and broken roster a boost.
Key Stat: Has 1288 strikeout in 995 games. So there’s that.
Jam it or Cram it: Feel free to JAM and ride Reynolds hot streak if you have room, but we all know this won’t last and he’ll have 432 strikeouts before the season is over – and that’s just against righties. CRAM
Jam or Cram:Nate Eovaldi, SP, Miami Marlins
Stats Last Week: 0 W, 3.86 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 8 K
Availability: 69% Yahoo, 87% ESPN
The Gist: I’m a believer in the Eovaldi. Check out our Razzballin’ pal JB’s excellent pitcher profile from last week here. I jumped on the 100 mph hurler early and it’s been paying off as he Eovaldi has wrecked up 14 K’s and a WHIP of 1.00 in his first two starts.
Key Stat: Despite the 95+ fastball, Eovaldi’s SwStr% last year was a blah 7.7% (the league average was 9.3%).
Jam it or Cram it: For Eovaldi to develop further he really needs an effective third pitch. He’s primarily that fastball/slider type with an occasional curve that fools no one – especially lefties. However, there’s a lot to like here. As of this writing Eovaldi is about to face the Phillies. If he throws a perfect game it’s a JAM. If he gives up 13 runs in two innings it’s still a JAM.
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B, Chicago Cubs: It’s been a hot start for Emilio, but he’s only playing five games this week. Tough to generate the SAGNOF! CRAM
Dioner Navarro, C, Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays backstop is hitting .333 over the last week and if you stream catchers he gets tasty matchups this week against the Twins and Indians. JAM
Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Minnesota Twins: The Splendid Plouffer is slashing .375/.479/.475/ on the year and widely available. If you’re a Beltre owner grab him now, the 30% ownership will be going up. JAM
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