With a quarter season of jamming and cramming behind us, it may be time to start taking some serious inventory. No, not a fearless moral inventory, that’s 12-step talk and I ain’t no quitter – just ask my liver. I’m talking about taking an honest look at where your team is good and where it absolutely sucks donkey dongs*. We have enough data behind us now that we know Matt Kemp is actually Milton Bradley in disguise, Billy Butler needs a mansiere (It’s called The Bro!), Jedd Gyorko is more myth than man (and mercifully on the DL), Troy Tulowitzki is really good at baseball, and Nelson Cruz can hit a ball a long way with or without his juice. Now I’m not saying to go and blow up your team and drop Dustin Pedroia because he has just two more homers than the late Johnny Pesky this year. What your humble-but-nonetheless-handsome Guru is pulling on your coat about here is that it’s time to drop the dead weight wasting away on your bench for some fresh meat that could save your fantasy season. I’ve played this fake game long enough to know that we have about two weeks to go until disgruntled owners completely abandon their teams for fantasy Cricket which cuts down on our trade options, but increases our chances of moving up the leader board. It was around this time last year that I bailed on Josh Rutledge and Jason Heyward for Jean Segura and Dominic Brown. I eventually traded them off for Ian Desmond and Hunter Pence. That worked, and all the cash and glory (and glory holes) were mine. Let’s scour the waiver wire for players owned 50% or less in most leagues and see if we can discover some riches for our bankrupt roster. It’s time to jam it or cram it.
*Donkey dongs is a technical sabermetric term taught at Mathew Berry’s Fantasy Baseball College for the Criminally Insane.
Jam or Cram: Josh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins.
2014 Stats: 50 AB, 12 R, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 0 SB, .320 AV.
Availability: 68% Yahoo, 38% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $8.
The Gist: Need a replacement for Carlos Gonzalez? Didn’t your Razzicians tell you not to draft CarGlass? Turn your lonely eyes toward Willingham. The Ham’s wrist injury looks to be cured and he’s has been rocking since coming off the DL with four home runs and 11 RBI. Wrists can be a tricky thing for a power bat, but he looks healthy and has been producing. Over the last week, Willingham’s hitting .364 with two homers, six runs and seven RBI.
Key Stats: Willingham has a .286 ISO — top 15 among all hitters with at least 60 plate appearances.
Jam it or Cram it: As long as Willingham is healthy (and it looks like he his) he needs to be on any power starved team. Tired of waiting around for Bryce Harper, Mark Trumbo and Shane Victorino? Willingham is just two years removed from a 35 homer, 110 RBI season. You won’t have many chances to pick up a player that has the potential to hit 15-18 homers and 50 RBI the rest of the way. JAM the Ham.
Jam or Cram: Corey Dickerson, OF, Colorado Rockies.
2014 Stats: 100 AB, 18 R, 7 HR, 17 RBI, 3 SB, .330 AV.
Availability: 77% Yahoo, 73% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1.
The Gist: So long CarGlass, you lasted longer than we thought. Is Tulo next? I dunno, I’m a guru not a fortune teller, but the door is open for Corey Dickerson. C-Dick (that’s what I call him without his permission) has been a Platoony Tuner this season and now gets a chance to show his stuff. C-Dick is 6/22 (.276) with a two homers and four RBI over the last week.
Key Stats: In 594 career at-bats between Double- and Triple-A, Dickerson put up 24 homers, 18 triples, 38 doubles and 13 stolen bases.
Jam it or Cram it: C-Dick will be tested this week as he faces three lefties and some tough arms in Atlanta and San Francisco. C-Dick is a rent-a-player until CarGlass gets back and is a must start versus righties at Coors. If you have a need or the roster room it’s a JAM.
Jam or Cram: Marcus Stroman, SP, Toronto Blue Jays.
2014 Stats: 12.1 IP, 2 W,10 K, 7.30 ERA, 1.54 WHIP.
Availability: 76% Yahoo, 95% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $1.
The Gist: Stroman showed dominance and command at Triple A with 45 Ks and just nine walks in 35 innings. Friday night, in just his second career start, Stros did give up seven hits, but managed to hold the Cardinals to just one run over six innings in a 3-1 win. Strohman does have quite the repertoire of pitches including a fastball that hits the mid-90s, a nasty slider and a nice little cut fastball.
Key Stats: Strohman was suspended 50 games last year after testing positive for methylhexaneamine. What the hell is that and where can I get some? Whaddya mean the Razzball random drug tests start next week?
Jam it or Cram it: I’m not one to push all-in on a rookie arm – especially one pitching in the American League – double especially one pitching in the AL East. Stroman kind of reminds me of a young Flash Gordon – plus fastball, good command, low walk rate – and, while Stephen King could write a book about some girl that loves him one day I guess, he’s just a streamer for me. I imagine there’s going to be a pitch limit on a 5’9”, 23-year-old rookie. However, I do like the matchup against the Twins this week. I’m going JAM kwazy today!
Jam or Cram: Cody Allen, RP, Cleveland Indians.
2014 Stats: 25 IP, 2 W, 5 S, 31 K, 2.81 ERA, 1.25 WHIP.
Availability: 59% Yahoo, 36% ESPN.
FAAB $$$ Value: $6.
The Gist: Damn you, SAGNOF! Gods. Why have you forsaken me? Saves and steals will seal my fate this season. On my five RCL teams this year, I have two in first, the rest stuck in the middle and saves are my biggest problem. Drafting John Axford didn’t work for me and it didn’t work for the Indians either as they’ve booted him to the curb for Cody “Don’t Call Me Banks” Allen. Allen seems to have entered Terry Francona’s circle of trust as he picked up four saves last week and has struck out 31 batters in 25 innings.
Key Stats: Had 88 strikeouts in 70 innings last year.
Jam it or Cram it: Francoma announced yesterday that the goal is for Axford to get the job back eventually, but we SAGNOF! seekers cannot be choosers. If Allen is available he needs to be owned now. Just let me get him first. The JAM-apolooza continues.
Gregory Polanco, OF, PIT: I will continue to say JAM until those Yins in Pit come to their senses and call him up.
Kyle Blanks, 1B/OF, OAK: At 6’6”, 250 pounds I wouldn’t mind him on my team – my fantasy football team. CRAM.
Johnny Manziel, QB/SS, SD: Johnny Football was drafted by the Padres with the 837th pick Saturday. He can’t be worse than Gyorko, amiright? JAM.